In 1998 the National Football League was introduced to someone special. One of the greatest wide receivers ever to play in the NFL, Randy Moss brings a whole new dimension to the game of football. Randy Moss has had unbelievable statistics in the sports he has played, but he also has had a troubled reputation, which is starting to change.
Randy Moss was born on February 13,1977. He attended Dupont high school in Rand, West Virginia ("84 Randy Moss"). In high school he lettered three times in football and basketball and he lettered in baseball and track as well (1). In baseball, Randy attracted pro scouting which means major league teams would come to Randy's games and try and interest him in playing for their club. At Dupont, Randy was West Virginia's high school basketball player of the year and as a senior Moss was chosen as West Virginias high school football player of the year (1).
Moss was a teammate and is a childhood friend of Sacramento Kings guard Jason Williams's (4).
When Randy graduated Dupont he wanted to play division 1 football. He applied to Notre Dame, Florida, and Florida State, three of the top college programs in the nation (4). Randy ended up at Florida State, but he was a redshirt freshman, which means he was basically a practice squad player because under NCAA rules he was not eligible for games (1). So Randy transferred back home and attended Marshall University (1). Moss's college highlights must have made Florida State feel like fools for letting him leave. In his first season as a Thundering Herd Randy Moss was a first team All American and All Southern Conference team selection, not to mention he was the division 1 offensive player of the year (1). Randy was player of the week four times and he tied Jerry Rice's record of 28-touchdown receptions (1).
Then came Randys second season at Marshall where he once again was an All American and All Conference player of the year once again (2). In 1997 his 2,178 yards receiving was third in the nation (1). Moss owns virtually every school, conference, and NCAA season and game receiving records (1). Randy's 53 touchdown receptions broke Mike Barber's record for 26 for touchdowns at Marshall (1). Moss ranks third in Marshall's receptions leaders at 174 and second with 3,529 yards in two short seasons (1). When the Heismann voting was over Randy finished fourth behind Tennessee's Peyton Manning, Michigan's Charles Woodson, and Washington State's Ryan Leaf (1). Had Randy not forgone his senior season and stayed at Marshall he would have surpassed the records he doesn't own at Marshall.
Now the time came for Randy to forgo his senior year and enter the NFL Draft. Moss was expected to go in the top ten, but because of his troubled reputation teams expected him to be a player that underachieved with a bad attitude. Moss was passed over by more than half the teams in the league (AP 1). The Minnesota Vikings selected him in the first round with the 21st pick (1). The fact that the Vikings got him late in the first round had the team talking championships because of Moss's abilities. Randy was now ready for his first season in the NFL.
On the first day of practice Moss stood in at six feet four inches tall and weighed 198 pounds so he was skinnier than most NFL players (White 3). His 40-yard dash speed is 4.2 seconds and he has a 41-inch reach (3).
In his rookie season Randy set a team record as the first Viking to catch three touchdown passes in back to back games (84 Randy Moss). Moss was named wide receiver of the year by the NFL and was also selected to the NFL's All Pro team as a wideout on the NFC's team (1). In weeks 12 and 13 Randy was named player of the week putting up stellar numbers, so with all these awards Randy Moss was named the 1998 NFL Rookie of the Year (1).
At the start of the 1999 season Moss was hungry for more. The Vikings made the playoffs and Randy was awesome. He grabbed five touchdown passes in four post season games, the second most in team history (84 Randy Moss 2). He also caught a 58-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jeff George in the divisional playoff versus the St. Louis Rams, the third longest catch in team history (2). In that same game he had 188 receiving yards which is second in post season team history and his 127 versus the Dallas Cowboys is second best in yards receiving in a post season game (2). On November 14, 1998 against the Chicago Bears Moss had 12 catches for 204 yards which is second most for a Viking receiver (1). Fox Sports analyst and legendary NFL Coach John Madden selected Randy to his All Madden Team (1). Randy led the team for lead in receptions a game with six games (2). On January 9, 1999 Robert Smith and Randy Moss became the second most Vikings tandem to have a 100-yard rusher and a 100-yard receiver in team history (2). He led the Vikes in receiving yards seven games in 1999. Randy also returned a punt 64 yards for a touchdown versus the Kansas City Chiefs for the seventh punt returned in team history and last since David Palmer versus the New York Giants in 1996 (2). In his two seasons Randy has caught 29 touchdown passes in 35 games (1). Moss was also the first Viking since Ahmad Rashad in 1979 to lead the NFC in receiving yards (1). Cris Carter and Moss together set a team record with 2,654 receiving yards combined which is the fourth highest total in NFL history (1). Moss set a new Viking record for a single season record with 1,413 receiving yards surpassing Carter's mark of 1,371 set in 1995 (1). Randy was the Most Valuable Player of the 2000 Pro Bowl.
Randy has been known to "dog it" if the ball isn't coming his way. ESPN's Merrill Hoge broke down 60 plays on ESPN Monday Night Countdown and in 34 of them Moss gave zero or little effort running his routes and blocking (Mortensen 1). After Hoge's public criticism Moss had his best game of the season. It was believed that Hoge's criticism motivated Randy, but he denied it saying he doesn't need outside motivation (2). An unidentified Miami Dolphin linebacker said "Moss was overrated and not that good and never seen such a cocky player" (Youngblood 1).
With Randy doing so well he had an impact everywhere. For years Green Bay Packer items outsold Minnesota Vikings items 8 to 1 in the Mall of America gift shop in Minnesota. However with the arrival of Moss sales are up 4 to 1 in Vikings favor and Moss's 84 jersey is the hottest selling item all over the country (McCallum 1). Randy Moss is being compared to Michael Jordan on the impact he has brought to his sport. The toughest part for Randy is all the attention, which is something he has struggled with (AP 1). When Moss was asked if he can have similar impact on the NFL as Mike did on the NBA, the soft-spoken Moss responded by saying "football and basketball are two different sports, they are hard to compare."(1).
When the 2000-football season is over Moss hopes to become the first 10,000,000-football player (Mortensen 2). Carter has been a great veteran mentor for the young Moss who has been known for having a bad or somewhat troubled reputation (2). By age 20 Moss had been in trouble with the law three times. One of his convictions was for stomping a kid at his high school; the incident was believed to be over race. His second conviction, he tested positive for marijuana and finally he was charged with domestic battery on the mother of his two children (Hoffer 2). The battery charge was dropped and the woman's father said that his daughter and Moss were both at fault and he repeatedly expressed his support for Moss (2). One way he is trying to improve and help others is through a Twin Cities communities program at St. Joe's Children's Home called, "Randy's Purple Pioneers" which benefit homeless children (white 1).
Moss is effective even if he doesn't catch passes because teams cover him with more than one defender because he is so dangerous. Therefore it makes it easier for Robert Smith and the running game to open up because you have to respect the pass with guys like Carter and Moss (3). Randy has willingly run more slants and curls over the middle subjecting himself to more punishment to give quarterback Daunte Culpepper higher percentage passes to make (2). This explains the impact Moss has had on opposing defenses. "Next to Moss, Deion Sanders is old school, Barry Sanders is ancient and Jerry Rice is downright prehistoric." says Jack McCallum of ESPN (McCallum 1). Green Bay Packer wide receiver Antonio Freeman said, "the addition of Randy Moss has made the Minnesota Vikings the most dangerous team to play." (King 1). Packer quarterback Brett Favre told Moss the first time they met that Moss is a great player and that means a lot coming from a great quarterback like Favre (1).
Randy Moss has considered becoming a two-sport star. Moss wants to join Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson as others who are two sports stars in this recent era (AP 1). Moss has said he has wanted to play in the National Basketball Association (NBA) after the football season was over (2). The Vikings however have reason to worry about Moss playing basketball because Moss sprained his ankle in a pickup game two days before mini camp in 1998 (2). He sat out mini camp and the injury hampered Moss during his spectacular rookie season (2).
Finally, Randy has been known to be a "bad boy" and he has had a few incidents to show that, but he is working on improving that. One of the greatest wide receivers ever to play in the NFL Randy Moss has brought a whole new dimension to the game of football.