When Randy Moss declared himself to be the greatest wide receiver of all time on Super Bowl Media Day, it set off debate in the football world about where he ranks among the best. The general agreement seems to be that he, or any receiver for that matter, cannot hold a candle to Jerry Rice. It seems that Rice himself may think that way as well.
Rice was on 101 ESPN in St. Louis Wednesday, and he was asked about Moss' comments. The hall-of-famer didn't exactly show humility when responding, and also offered up a backhanded compliment to Moss:
Well, in a way, it just offended me a little bit. I feel like my body of work, it speaks for itself, and what I was able to accomplish on the football field. I pretty much leave everything up to the fans. If they want to say I was the greatest receiver to play the game, then that's okay. If they want to say I'm the greatest football player to ever play the game, that's okay. I never felt like I had to say that, and those words are not going to come out of my mouth.
That's Randy Moss, and I admire him for what he was able to accomplish on the football field. He did some great things. The guy is 6'5, he runs a 4.3, he could out-jump people. The thing that separates us, is that I never took a play off. My work ethic, I was not the most talented but I was going to outwork you and I think that is why I was able to have so much success on the football field.
The work ethic and attention to detail is certainly what set Rice apart from Moss, as he was nearly as good at creating explosive plays despite being slower, smaller, and less athletic. Rice averaged 14.8 yards per catch over his career, while Moss has picked up 15.6. Rice was also able to sustain excellence over a longer period of time, catching 92 passes at the age of 40 with the Oakland Raiders. Moss has become a tertiary option at 35, and seems close to retirement.
So, does Rice deserve to think he is the greatest of all time? Sure. Most people agree, obviously including Rice himself. The only thing that is obnoxious about his comments, and possibly more annoying than Moss' outright declaration, is that he contradicts himself in an attempt to feign humility.
He says that he would "never say" he is the best of all time, but says it in the sentence prior. The fact that he even says he is "offended" by Moss' statement shows that he does believe himself to the greatest. If he was trying to be modest, then he is a pretty bad actor. Good thing he had another career to fall back on.
But what would Super Bowl be without these sorts of "arguments" and "controversies," right?