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Jerry Rice: Randy Moss was Lazy and Hard for Me to Watch

Why is it that Jerry Rice is considered the greatest receiver of all time?  Is it because he had the best quarterbacks?  They were pretty good.  Is it because he has the most natural-born talent?  He has quite a bit of that, too.  Or is it just because he wanted it more than everyone else?  According to Rice, that’s the thing that separates him from a guy like Randy Moss.

As Pro Football Talk pointed out, Rice joined ESPN Radio Tuesday morning and shared some thoughts about the recently-retired Moss.  Rice said he believes Moss could have been one of the greatest receivers in football history had he just tried harder.

“It was hard for me to swallow because I was not as talented and I had to work harder,” he said. “To see a guy with that much talent not give it 100 percent, it was almost like a little slap in the face. But Randy was Randy.

“He could have been one of the greatest if he had worked just a little bit harder. I don’t think he wanted to give it 100 percent. You never knew what you were going to get with Randy. Sometimes you’d get the unbelievable guy, the amazing guy. Other times you’d get the guy that took a couple plays off.”

For many of us, Rice is simply stating the obvious.  Moss was accused of quitting when Matt Cassel took over for New England and has given up various times throughout his career.  Members of the media have always criticized Moss for being a quitter, but it sounds a little better coming from the greatest receiver in NFL history.  Moss had the tools to be even better than Rice, but he always lacked the heart.

Comparing Moss to Jerry Rice’s Record

As the Pats head into the final weekend of the regular season, they are poised to break several records. With a win, they will become the first team to go 16-0 in the regular season, joining the ’72 Dolphins as the only team to finish the regular season undefeated. With two touchdown passes, Tom Brady will beat Peyton Manning’s record of 49 during the regular season. And with two touchdown catches, Randy Moss will beat Jerry Rice’s record of 22 during the regular season.

Putting aside the Patriotgate issues that have given reason for people to doubt the legitimacy of New England’s pursuit of perfection, there is another record that is called into question: Randy Moss against Jerry Rice. In 1987, Rice caught an incredible 22 TD passes from Joe Montana in only 12 games because of the strike. Through 15 games this year Moss has 21, not 22 TDs. Does it hurt his record if it took him more games to break Rice’s mark?

I think it’s just a small footnote in the record books should Moss catch more than one TD and break Rice’s record. Did anyone say anything about McGwire or Bonds or any other modern baseball record that was achieved in 162 games rather than 154? Not much of a fuss has been raised about this issue since 1961. Just like nobody will remember the close calls against the Ravens and Eagles, nobody will remember that it took Moss extra games. One caveat however: Moss still needs to catch at least two touchdowns to make this argument relevant.

*You might also enjoy a previous comparison in which I argue that Randy Moss is better than Jerry Rice.

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.