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Randy Moss Was More Dominant Than Jerry Rice to Start His Career

So Jerry Rice has just come out with a book titled “Go Long! My Journey Beyond the Game and the Fame.”  As if we didn’t see him enough when he was on Dancing With the Stars, now he’s on every show in the world publicizing his book. Can’t blame the guy – who in a sane frame of mind wouldn’t want the greatest wide receiver ever to be a guest on their show?

Since the San Francisco treat has been making the rounds, several people have been referring to him as the greatest wide receiver EVER, and potentially the greatest football player ever.  True, he is the all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns, but I will remain steadfast in my belief that none other than Randy Moss has been more dominant than the perceived greatest wide receiver ever for an extended stretch of time.  Before you call me crazy, witness the numbers:

JERRY RICE RANDY MOSS

Rec

Rec Yds

TDs

Rec

Rec Yds

TDs

1985

49

927

3

1998

69

1313

17

1986

86

1570

15

1999

80

1413

11

1987

65

1078

22

2000

77

1437

15

1988

64

1306

9

2001

82

1233

10

1989

82

1483

17

2002

106

1347

7

1990

100

1502

13

2003

111

1632

17

1991

80

1206

14

2004

49

767

13

Totals

526

9072

93

574

9142

90

*Rice played in 108 games in his first 7 years, Moss played in 109 games in his first 7 years

Before arriving at the Black Hole that is Oakland, Randy Moss was off to a better start in his career than Jerry Rice.  And 7 years is a significant sample size to measure – it’s not like each of their best 3 years were chosen for the purpose of this comparison.  So before you think of Jerry Rice being that great, I will maintain that Randy Moss was a more dominant receiver for an extended stretch of time than Jerry Rice.



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  • gpjohn

    consider, tho, that moss has ALWAYS been the focal point of any offense with whom he’s played. Jerry was sharing the rock with Roger Craig, John Taylor, Brent Jones, Dwight Clark, Tom Rathman, etc….all of whom were pro-bowlers at one time or another.

  • Gene

    I vehemently disagree with gpjohn. Statistics alone don’t tell the story. Jerry Rice received the roxck from Joe Montana and Steve Young in an offense designed by the self-proclaimed genius, Bill Walsh. There were great players around Rice, which kept him from getting double- or triple teamed. The Niners had a running game with Roger Craig, etc., to keep defenses honest, and a defense with guys like Ronnie Lott that often gave them good field position with which to operate.

    Moss, who is a jerk, received his passes from the feared Duante Culpepper, among others, and he didn’t have a running game to keep safeties near the line of scrimmage. I also think that Cris Carter might object to the theory that Moss was the entire focal point of the Vikes’ passing offense.

    In football, more than any other sport, you are only as good as the guys around you. I’m not that sure that Steve Largent’s records at Seattle, where he had Jim Zorn and Dave Krieg tossing him the pigskin, aren’t just as impressive as Rice’s.

  • http://www.larrybrownsports.com Larry Brown

    It’s so hard to say – guys with superior teammates have to share the ball (meaning stats should decline), but they also get less attention from the defense (meaning stats should be improved). That’s kind of why I think what Steve Smith does with Delhomme as his QB is more significant than Marvin with Peyton, or Chad Johnson with Carson for instance.

    I still maintain Moss was the most dominant of all of them.

  • gpjohn

    good points all…and maybe we should also look into chad’s, marvin’s, largent’s, and moss’s career SuperBowl stats to glean greater insight into these highly legitimate comparisons

    oh wait

  • Gene

    I see. So now, we are judging wide receivers, as well as quarterbacks, by their Super Bowl records. I guess we will be using that criterion for defensive linemen, offesnsive linemen and punters before too long, it’s just as illogical.

  • underthebus

    hmmm… I think the argument is better framed Randy Moss had the best first 7 years as a wide receiver. And even then, I think your argument is dubious. 7 years is a significant sample size, but then again so is 6 years or 8 or 9 years for that matter.
    Jerry Rice 6 years
    477 8145 90
    Randy Moss 6 years
    505 7829 73

    Take away the rookie season and it seems Rice was a better receiver no?
    Plus the era’s were different. 13 years is a big difference and more points were scored by teams in 1998 then compared to 1985. Passing numbers/receiving numbers have gone up for every player.

  • http://www.larrybrownsports.com Larry Brown

    As said in the post, “Before arriving at the Black Hole that is Oakland, Randy Moss was off to a better start in his career than Jerry Rice.” And I will stand by that statement. It doesn’t mean I think Randy Moss has enjoyed a finer career than Rice, it means what I said, he was off to a better start and more dominant during that period.

  • underthebus

    OK, well first I’d like to say, I like your blog and appreciate the hard work. I never felt strongly enough to post any comments until now. And believe me I’m not a litigious person, but this post I felt needed work.

    “Before arriving at the Black Hole that is Oakland, Randy Moss was off to a better start in his career than Jerry Rice.”
    Sure, stand by that statement. I’d say it’s a fiar argument. However, the title of this post is “Is Jerry Rice the Most Dominant Wide Receiver Ever?” and the stats you present say yes, he was. Seeing as the strongest part of your argument is due to Randy Moss’ otherworldy rookie season, then the post should really be about that. Like “Moss had the best rookie wr campaign. ” instead of “Randy Moss has been more dominant than the perceived greatest wide receiver ever for an extended stretch of time. ”

    Also you didn’t even address the change in passing/scoring in the NFL over those 13 years. You have to adjust for that when comparing players who played in different years.

  • http://www.larrybrownsports.com Larry Brown

    Points very well taken, excellent input, thanks…i only hope to be challenged in the same way on other arguments, and I think this one has been sufficiently Barbaroed

  • http://www.mac.com mac

    Hi,

    Well, what do you think now? See his first game with a real QB, Tom Brady. Can you say Montana to Rice out loud with me? Can you say Brady to Moss out loud? Watch out guys, Moss is making a journey towards another 17 td’s this year & 1600 yards. Imagine if Moss went to Pats instead of the pathetic Raiders a few years ago. I think Brady and Moss is exiting and you all should grab your popcorn. I’m a diehard 49er fan, so you know how I must feel about people mentioning Rice and Moss. But as a HUGE Rice fan. I can say Moss can be mentioned in the same breath more than any other reciever. Ever. Period. Moss has a chance to add to his legacy with Brady. The debate between the two is like debating between Coke & Pepsi. I’ll take Coke.

  • http://none RonS

    I think the above comment, re the difference in who was throwing to Rice vs Moss is significant. Clearly, Rice had better material to work with. Also, the stint in Oakland adversely affected Moss’ stats.
    I also feel the perception of Moss as a bad actor affects fans views on his greatness. Never met him, but, when he played here in Minnesota, he seemed like a nice enough guy that liked to smoke a little weed at times. Why on earth folks get turned off to that and feel he should have been traded is beyond me.

  • RICHARD

    jerry is the best, randy moss plays in a different era where recievers cant be touch by the DBs,

  • El Bear

    It all depends on who is throwing the football. Steve Smith in the Patriots offense? He has the speed of Stallworth, the ability to avoid tackles of Welker and the nose for the end zone of Randy Moss. Smith could be only second best to Rice.

  • lil ai

    who is better RANDY MOSS OR THE LEGEND JERRY RICE

  • Jason

    >

    this is a very good point. It would be much easier in current times to put up the numbers than in a time where you could be much more physical. As someone said before, the nature of the game has changed and you did not even take that into account in your article. Not only that, I find it funny how you just chose a random number of years to compare the two players, and stop short of his years with the raiders that could have easily pointed the discussion in Rice’s favor.

    Besides, it is more than pure stats. Jerry Rice was a dedicated player who played his heart out, unlike Moss who only seemed to play when he felt like it. People say he has changed this year with the Patriots, but is it really that hard to put in some effort on the winning team? Jerry Rice’s dedication to the game was bar none, especially when compared to Randy Moss

  • jack wingnew

    Moss is the better athlete. No one would argue that. That should end this conversation.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NC2VTUPOLNVCMG3RWZQKUNNSZY NYKnickerbocker

    Not a very good article at all.

    I was unaware that we are only allowed to look at a player’s first seven years.