Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Legacy of Randy Moss

There used to be a debate about whether Randy Moss was--or would one day be--the greatest receiver of all time. I think this year closed the book this that debate.

Randy Moss will never be Jerry Rice.

It's actually a good story. Moss was a freak, a naturally talented wide receiver with huge hands, blazing speed, 6'5'' stature AND the ability to leap. Rice had below-average just about everything, but a legendary work ethic. What does that say about the value of directed practice?

I'm not so sure the conclusion is fair though. Rice played in the West Coast offense before defense knew how to cover it. He played for two of the best quarterbacks of all time. His numbers are that much better than Moss's. I think they are better--even when you adjust using your priors for the time period, coaching and teammates. But even if Moss had better numbers most people would point to Rice's rings and maintain that he was the best. Moss made his teammates worse--look at the debacle with the Vikings this year--while Rice made his teammates better. I don't know how true that is. It's a good story. But if the Patriots won Super Bowl XXII and Brad Childress didn't let the Vikings go down in flames, and Moss remained Moss, wouldn't that argument fall to pieces?

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