This is the question that is circling throughout the league since journeymen receiver Randy Moss announced his retirement on Monday. So what do you think? Well, let's look at the numbers, his career, attitude, and compare that to what you think a "Hall of Fame" player should be.
To me, being a Hall of Famer is more than just putting up stats, regardless of the sport. If it was all about numbers, Mark McGuire, Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens would be shoe ins for the baseball hall of fame. But being a true Hall of Fame athlete means putting up more than just great numbers. It's about being a great teammate. It's about being a positive influence for the fans, as well as the guys that are coming into the league behind you. Let's take a look at Randy's career and see if he met these requirements.
Career Receptions: 953
Career Yards: 14,858
Career TD's: 153
1st Down Receptions: 682
Rookie Record for TD's; 17
NFL Record TD's in a season: 23
Just by looking at these numbers, you would definitely make Randy Moss a first ballot Hall of Fame player. He's tied with T.O. for 2nd most TD's all time only behind Jerry Rice. The numbers are absolutely there, but let's look at the other criteria of a Hall of Fame player. What makes a great receiver in the NFL? You have to be able to catch the ball; not a problem there for Randy. You have to be able to create separation; Randy is one of the best. You need to be able to go up and get the ball at it's highest point; again, Randy is one of the best at doing that. So far so good.
Let's talk about route running. Randy Moss was never known for his ability to run great routes. He's been commonly referred to as a "one trick pony", meaning he can only run the go route and sprint past defenders. Looking at his numbers, this seemed to work very well for him, so we'll overlook the lack of route running ability. What about blocking? Receivers have to block, especially on the non passing downs, and Randy Moss was not even close to being a half way decent blocker as a receiver. You never saw a clip of Randy Moss running down the field in front of a running back to throw a block like you've seen T.O or Hines Ward do so many times. So that's a big negative, but definitely not enough to keep him out of Canton.
Now we come to Randy Moss as a teammate. This was always hit or miss. When things were going great, Randy was one of the best teammates you could ask for. Like his first few years in Minnesota with Chris Carter grooming him and helping him become a professional. Then again in 2007 when he went to New England and was under one of the best coaching staffs and front offices in the league. Moss was a constant professional during these times. But when adversity struck, Moss shut down and became a mediocre receiver, at best. When Carter left the Vikings, Moss was still very productive, but he became a clown on the field, mooning the Packer fans after scoring a TD at Lambeau. He then took his talents, and antics to Oakland, where he had two horrible seasons as a pro. Not so much by the numbers he put up, but how he acted towards his teammates and fans. Moss basically shut down and quit on his team because he wasn't happy about his situation. This is not the way a professional acts and responds to situations like this. Then 2010, the worst way to end your career, (unless your name is Brett Favre). Bounced from three different teams in one season, posting a dismal 5 TD's on 28 grabs. He was virtually non existent in the league. He had already given up on his teams, and himself.
It's no secret that Moss, even during his glory years, would routinely take plays off. This is not Pro behavior and seems to be a little selfish. Everyone always points fingers at T.O that he's a "me" guy and everything revolves around him. Nobody mentioned Randy Moss with this. To me, Randy Moss was more selfish and more of a "me" player than T.O or anyone else. You can never question T.O's work ethic. The man never took plays off, he blocked, he ran routes over the middle of the field, he did it all on the field. He always seemed to draw attention to himself off the field, but you definitely cannot question his passion for the game and his work ethic. That is more than we can say for Moss.
Am I saying he's not a Hall of Fame caliber receiver? Absolutely not! But I do think it has to be a little bit more difficult of a decision than it is to induct someone like Jerry Rice, Chris Carter, and players like Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison when it's time for them to go in.