Randy Moss was born on February 13, 1977. After some early legal troubles, he attended Marshall University in 1996. That year he set records for a freshman with 78 catches for 1709 yards and 29 touchdowns. He followed it up with a fantastic sophomore season adding an additional 25-touchdown receptions. Moss is a freak of nature, running a 4.25 forty, and possessing a 6’4” frame with long arms, great leaping ability and soft hands. Going into the 1998 NFL Draft, Moss was desired for his playing ability, but was shunned because of his off the field problems. As a result, he fell too late in the first round and was selected with pick 21 overall by the Minnesota Vikings.
Randy Moss Rookie of the Year
Randy Moss quickly showed he belonged in the NFL. Not only did he belong, he was doing amazing things that few had done before.
October 5, 1998 against the Green Bay Packers in Lambeau Field, Randy Moss put on an aerial clinic. The Packers had won 29 straight games at home, but that was about to change. Moss had an unbelievable five catches for 190 yards including two touchdowns. He also had another 75-yard touchdown catch that was called back. The Minnesota Vikings won 37-24 over the Packers.
Moss finished his rookie season with some unbelievable statistics. He caught 69 balls for a whopping 1313 yards and a rookie record 17 touchdowns. He was everything the Vikings could have hoped for and more! Following one of his brilliant performances, offensive coordinator Brian Billick said, "The kid is something special." (1)
"I'm having a lot of fun," Moss said. "Like I said earlier today in my [cable television] interview about ripping this league up - I just want to do whatever I can to help us win, whether it's making touchdowns or throwing blocks. I want to do whatever I can to rip this league up." (2)
Randy Moss Goes Up and Gets the Ball
Since 1998, Randy Moss’ rookie season, he has made a habit of going up for the jump ball and coming down with a touchdown or a big catch for a first down. I cannot think of any players in recent times at least who have Moss’ ability. It isn’t all just about jumping ability; much of it is about timing.
Orlando Thomas, the Vikings' free safety said, "You can't prepare for him. He is fast, he is a big target, he can jump, he has great hands and then he has patience . . . amazing patience. He doesn't reach for the ball before it gets to him, and he doesn't give away with his eyes. He's so fast that the defender is always running with his back to the ball, and Randy doesn't give any hint when the ball is coming." (3)
Moss Is Great in 2003
During the 2003 NFL season, Randy Moss achieved something that few in the history of the NFL have. He finished the season averaging more than 100 yards per game and one touchdown per game. For the season, he hauled in 111 balls for 1632 yards and an amazing 17 touchdowns.
On September 28, 2003 against the San Francisco 49ers, Moss once again shined brightly. For the day Moss brought in eight balls for an astounding 172 yards and three touchdowns. The Minnesota Vikings prevailed 35-7. After the game, fellow great receiver, Terrell Owens said, "He's the best receiver in the game right now. ... Randy Moss is a great player. He's definitely the best." (4)
Randy Moss Traded to Oakland
Following an injury-riddled 2004 season with the Minnesota Vikings, Randy Moss was traded to the Oakland Raiders. Unfortunately for Moss, injuries and poor quarterback play for the Raiders limited his production. Many in the league were beginning to believe he was washed up. His best years were behind him.
Moss Finds New Life in New England
On April 29, 2007 Randy Moss was sent from the Raiders to the New England Patriots for a fourth round draft choice. Many observers viewed Moss as a selfish player, somebody who throws a fit when things to go his way. "I understand that an organization pays me a certain amount of dollars to make things happen, and when things don't happen, of course I get mad, of course I get angry. Hopefully, some things will work out and I'm looking forward to this opportunity to showcase my real talent. Let's put it this way," Moss said. "The Moss of old is back. We'll leave it at that."
"His hand-eye coordination, his catching skills, his speed, his ability to stretch the field, run after the catch, run intermediate routes - he has a good skill set," Belichick said. "He's a very smart guy, an experienced player, versatile, can play a number of different positions. He has the experience and intelligence to handle the different techniques and responsibilities that go with that. We'll see how all that plays out, but I think he has a lot to offer." (5)
Bill Belichick and Randy Moss were right. Nobody was happier than quarterback Tom Brady and the New England Patriots’ fans as Randy Moss once again ripped up the league. When Moss was asked about his past, he replied, "I'm past all that. By me showing up at minicamp, I think I put that all behind me. Everything's going good now. It's working out. I don't even want to dwell on any negatives from the past. What we're doing as a team, I think it speaks for itself. I don't need to be in the paper. I don't need to say anything. I think what we're doing out there says it all." (6)
Randy Moss with Tom Brady as his quarterback had a record setting season in 2007. He had a personal best four-touchdown game against the Buffalo Bills on November 18, 2007. His numbers on the day, 10 catches for 128 yards and the four scores. The four touchdowns were not only a personal best; they were also a Patriots’ record.
As awesome as that game was, his season was even better. He continued to rewrite not only the New England Patriots’ record books, but also the annals of the NFL. Before 2007, Stanley Morgan held the single season Patriots’ records for touchdown catches (12) and for receiving yards (1491). Randy Moss finished the 2007 season with 98 grabs for 1493 yards and 23 touchdowns. His 23 touchdown catches surpassed the record set by Jerry Rice with 22 in 1987 (Rice did this in only 12 games during a strike-shortened season). More important than the records though, was the team record, finishing the regular season undefeated with a 16-0 mark. Unfortunately for Moss and the Patriots, perfection eluded them when they lost in the Super Bowl.
Randy Moss’ 200 Yard Games
In the NFL, 100-yard receiving games are considered great games, but 200-yard games are thought of as special performances since they do not often happen. Over Randy Moss’ great career he has twice topped 200 yards receiving. Both happened during the 1999 NFL season.
November 14, 1999 the Vikings travelled to Soldier Field to take on the Chicago Bears. Randy Moss set two records on that day for his own career. He snatched 12 balls from the air and compiled 204 yards receiving to help the Vikings beat their division rival Chicago Bears 27-24.
During the 1999 Pro Bowl, Randy Moss put on a show before his peers. The Vikings great pulled in 9 catches for 212 yards and three touchdowns. “We had a lot of fun,'' said Moss, when selected the Most Valuable Player of the game. ”With Alstott rumbling through there, we did some good things. I'm not really into individual awards and things like that, but I guess I'll take them when they come.” (7)
The Great Career of Randy Moss
To this point, Randy Moss is having a great career. It appears he is headed for Canton, Ohio where he will be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame five years after he retires. He is truly an unbelievable talent that football fans should enjoy watching as long as he continues to play.
By A. Goodin, 20Yardline.com
Randy Moss Biography Sources
(1) Moss Continues to Amaze Foes and Teammates (1998, November 27) Star Tribune