Until Moss Becomes A Team Leader, He Will Never Be Better Than #80

By Gregory Moore
Updated: January 12, 2005

Randy Moss is probably the best wide receiver in the NFL but because he has not shown to be a leader both on the field and in the lockerroom, he will never be as great as Jerry Rice.

Randy Moss is probably the best wide receiver in the NFL but because he has not shown to be a leader both on the field and in the lockerroom, he will never be as great as Jerry Rice.

SAN ANTONIO, TX– Put the mooning incident aside for the moment. Forget the fact that he almost ran down a police officer. Forget the fact that he looks like the poster child for AfroSheen at the present time. Randy Moss may never be the NFL’s best mannered athlete but should we expect him too? Probably not but I think what Red McCombs, Mike Tice and the players of the Minnesota Vikings should be expecting from Moss is a professionalism that should be one of a player with seven years in the NFL. That is probably a fair assumption but Moss is a talent that is so phenomenal that many experts think he could surpass the records and greatness of Jerry Rice. However for that to happen, Moss has to conform and he’s not willing.

As a football fan, Moss has had some of the greatest plays that I have seen in my 38 years of being on God’s green earth. Spectacular plays in which his athleticism shows why he could indeed be the greatest wide receiver of his time. Better than Terrell Owens. Far superior than Marvin Harrison. Of the receivers in the league right now, Moss is better than all of them. Yet shear athletic talent is also his downfall. He has the personality of a prima donna. If things don’t go his way, he sulks worse than a three year old being dragged through the candy department. When that happens, he lets his team and his teammates down at the worse time of the game. Is this what a leader does? Of course not.

It is Moss’ lack of leadership skills that will keep him from surpassing Rice’s accomplishments and seeing someone like Owens or Harrison reaping the rewards of being a professional. As much as I don’t like T.O.’s antics off the field of play, I am not going to deny that he is a professional through and through. His work ethic is on par with what Rice helped instill in him and Owens understands what it means to be a leader during the game. It is that professionalism that Moss is lacking and is why he will never be able to attain the greatness that he thinks he is entitled too.

Moss should understand that with stardom comes a responsibility that most athletes just shy from. Is he a role model to the youth? Yes he is. Is he the most recognizable face from the Vikings? He sure is. Should he be ordained as the team’s leader? No he shouldn’t.

What made Rice so great was that he was a leader and a professional not just an athletic wide receiver from Mississippi Valley State. Rice listened to those who were before him and he learned from his teammates. Moss is in a similar situation but he has not learned one thing about being a leader since Chris Carter left the Vikings. He hasn’t learned to be great because he has allowed his own clippings cloud his perception of how great his performances are. He’s playing the game on his own terms and that selfish act could cost this team a serious shot at the Super Bowl.

Can anyone get it through his head that it takes more than talent to be a great player in the NFL? I don’t think even Jerry Rice could do so. It is going to take something drastic, like being cut from the Vikings or traded, for Moss to understand hat talent alone does not make one a star. Maybe being traded is what will awaken a competitive fire that will force Moss to take his job more seriously. Who knows.

What I can tell you is this though, antics aside and just looking at the man in the purple and gold gear, until he decides to be 100% all of the time, the Vikings will continue to falter and sooner or later a promising career will be just be ‘average’ if Moss doesn’t recognize that fact, then he will never be the elite player he thinks he is.