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9 Most Memorable Randy Moss Moments
Randy Moss had a legendary NFL career. The man averaged 19 yard per catch his rookie year, had over 1,200 receiving yards 8 times, set the single season TD reception record (23), and had 153 TDs in his career. He is clearly one of the greatest wide receivers of all time—probably #2, in fact, behind only Jerry Rice. Of course, Randy Moss has also been a three-ring circus these past 13 NFL seasons, which has been fantastic for newspaper reporters but decidedly less so for the teams that have had to put up with him. In honor of his retirement on Monday, let’s have a look at the 9 most memorable Moss moments, shall we?
9. Improbable Draft Slide
Moss was a considered one of the best high school football players ever by many college recruiters and NFL scouts. He was all set to attend Notre Dame back in 1995 when he got into a fight at his high school that left one person in the hospital. Notre Dame subsequently denied his enrollment application, so he ended up at Florida State as a red-shirt in 1995 before transferring to NCAA Division I-AA Marshal University in 1996. He had a stellar career at Marshall and was a finalist for the Heisman in 1997; however, his legal troubles hung around his neck like a concrete block. He should have been a top-10 pick in the 1998 draft, but teams were wary to take on such a “troubled” young man. The Dallas Cowboys in particular were really keen on selecting Moss with their #8 pick, but shied away because they’d already had plenty of headaches caused by legally challenged wide receivers (see Irvin, Michael). Finally, Minnesota picked Moss at #21—you may recall that in 1998, legendary NFL bust Ryan Leaf went #2.
8. First NFL Game
Before the draft in ’98, Moss prophesied that other teams “will regret [passing on me] once they see what kind of player I am.” And he didn’t waste time making good on this prophecy. In his first ever NFL game, a 31-7 rout of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Moss caught 4 passes for 95 yards and 2 TDs. And that first touchdown was one to remember—a 48 yard highlight reel grab over DB Floyd Johnson.
7. First Appearance on Monday Night Football
Moss’s reputation only continued to grow during his rookie season. On his first appearance on Monday Night Football in Week 5 in 1998, Randy lit up the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau for a whopping 190 yards on only 5 receptions. That included TD catches of 52 and 44 yards, but excluded a 75 yard TD on the first possession of the game that was called back as the result of a holding call against the Vikings. Needless to say, by the end of Week 5, every NFL fan was paying attention to Randy Moss.
6. Insane End Zone Grab Against Dallas on Thanksgiving Day, 2000
The Vikings drafted Daunte Culpepper in 1999 with the hope that his strong arm would be a perfect fit Randy Moss’s ability to run deep routes. And, indeed, it was a match made in heaven. Moss and Culpepper connected for 1,437 yards and 15 TDs that season. The most spectacular of these TDs came on Thanksgiving Day against the Cowboys. In the 2nd half, Moss caught a long pass leaning out of the end zone with his toes just barely staying in bounds. It would of course become one of the most memorable plays of his career.
5. The Traffic Incident
It wasn’t long before Randy rustled up some more legal troubles for himself. On a September day in 2002, a traffic cop noticed Moss was preparing to make an illegal u-turn in downtown Minneapolis. She stepped in front of his Lexus and ordered him to stop. He didn’t comply with her orders, and somehow—eyewitnesses have told conflicting stories—the women ended up on the ground. He was arrested on the spot, and later plead guilty to a misdemeanor traffic violation. Moss, the classy guy that he is, refused to apologize to the cop because, according to him, he “didn’t do nothing to apologize for.” Well said, Randy.
4. The Mooning Incident
In his last season with the Vikings, Moss really let himself go. On the final game of the season he walked off the field before the game was even over, when the Vikings were attempting an on-sides kicks, because he didn’t think they would be able to recover the ball. That vote of confidence was a classy move, for sure, but it was overshadowed by what he did only 1 week later, on January 9, 2005. The Vikings were in Green Bay for a playoff game against the Packers. After scoring a TD against the heavily favored packers, Moss trotted to the back of the end zone and pretended to moon the fans. Announcer Joe Buck, and presumably several hundred thousand football fans across the country, were outraged. But that wasn’t even the best part. After the NFL decided to fine Moss $10,000 for the incident, reporters caught up with him and asked for a response. He gave this all-time classic:
3. Record-Breaking 2007 Season with New England Patriots
Okay, this video clip really is too long. But it had to be included here, because it shows every single one of the record-breaking 23 TD passes caught by Randy Moss in his 2007 season with the New England Patriots. Of course, the 23 TDs wasn’t the only historic thing about that 2007 season for the Patriots. The team went 16-0 in the regular season before losing to the Giants in Super Bowl XLII. Also historic, Randy Moss voluntarily gave up $5 million just so he could fit under New England’s salary cap and play with the Pats.
2. Breaks Up with Patriots, then Begs Them to Take Him Back
Of course, Randy Moss’s romance with the Patriots did not last. He broke up with them midway through the 2010 season, complaining about how he wasn’t appreciated, and how people in New England didn’t want him to succeed. So the Pats traded him to the Vikings in October, after a Week 4 game against the Dolphins. But after a loss against his former team on October 31, Moss apologized to the Patriots for all the nasty things he said and begged them to take him back. Check out the video:
1. Cut by Vikings
Randy Moss’s career didn’t officially end when he was cut by the Minnesota Vikings only 1 day after professing his undying devotion to the New England Patriots; however, that certainly was the unofficial end. And it was a sad one, too, given that Moss was one of the most gifted athletes ever to play the game. It’s also kind of sad because it’s likely that Moss knew he would soon be cut and was sucking up to the Pats on October 31st because he was hoping they’d have pity on him and take him back. Buy hey, let’s just remember the good times, alright?