San Francisco 49ers’ wide receiver Randy Moss would have been better off guaranteeing a Super Bowl XLVII victory over the Baltimore Ravens. I say this because Moss’ latest assertion came during Super Bowl Media Day in New Orleans. On that day, Moss laid claim to being “the greatest receiver to ever play this game.”
I hope you’re not eating anything while reading that statement, because you’re likely to choke on something. I, on the other hand, had a look on my face that said “Did he really just say what I thought he just said?” Having confidence in your ability is one thing. Experiencing total delusion and delirium is something different altogether.
Make no mistake: Moss is one of the most prolific receivers in NFL history. He entered the NFL in 1998, recording one of the greatest rookie campaigns in league history with the Minnesota Vikings. Moss recorded 69 receptions for 1,313 yards and 17 touchdowns as a rookie. He was also a vital performer as a member of the 2007 New England Patriots’ 16-0 team, with 98 receptions for 1,493 yards and 23 touchdowns.
However, Moss’ career does not compare to the man that truly was the greatest wide receiver in NFL history: Hall of Famer Jerry Rice. Put aside Rice’s three Super Bowl titles, 13 Pro Bowl selections, Super Bowl XXII Most Valuable Player, as well as 1988 NFL Most Valuable Player accolades for a minute. Rice’s resume alone ends the Moss-Rice greatest wide receiver ever discussion.
What puts Rice over the top for me was his work ethic. While Moss is still a tremendous talent, he doesn’t always work at his craft. Moss famously (or infamously) opined “I play when I want to play” as a member of the Vikings. Rice prepared for each season as if he were going to get cut. He never took anything for granted. Rice wasn’t the fastest receiver in the league, but his work ethic was second to none.
Don’t get me wrong: Moss has secured a place among the best wide receivers in NFL history. But to place him at the top of the list ahead of Rice as wide receiver royalty is ridiculous.