Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Tuesday's Super Bowl media day was supposed to be all about Ray Lewis.
For the most part, it still was. The future Hall of Famer fielded questions about his retirement, PEDs and even a question or two about Kenan Thompson's hilarious impression of him on Saturday Night Live last weekend.
There were other plot lines as well. The Harbaugh brothers, Kaepernicking and Joe Flacco's dullness were all topics of discussion.
But the one quote I took away from Tuesday's festivities came from the mouth of seven-time Pro Bowler Randy Moss.
The San Francisco wideout, now playing in his 14th season, had this to say about his place in NFL history: "I think now that I'm older I do think I'm the greatest receiver to ever do it."
Now that's how you stir the pot.
Love him or hate him (and trust me, it's a pretty even split), Moss is one of the best wide receivers to ever play the game.
But he didn't phrase it like that. Moss said "greatest ever."
That's a little harder to justify.
Moss' performance in 2012 was pretty forgettable (just 434 yards on 28 catches) but when you consider his whole body of work, the receiver's resume is quite impressive.
For starters, Moss opened his career with six consecutive 1,000 yard seasons.
Go ahead and find another player who's done that. You might want to bust out a Red Bull or two because it's going to take you a while.
In fact, I completed that exact exercise and couldn't find a single player other than Moss to have accomplished that feat (kind of a waste of Red Bull, actually).
Product placement aside, Moss has produced 10 total 1,000 yard seasons in 14 years of professional football. That's ahead of everyone else except Jerry Rice, who posted 14 1000-yard campaigns in 20 NFL seasons.
Moss was able to eclipse 1,400 yards receiving four times in his career. Terrell Owens, who is one of just two NFL players with more receiving yards than Moss, only accomplished that twice.
Obviously Moss has racked up a ton of yards but it's his incredible touchdown rate that really sets him apart from the others. Though Moss (156 career receiving TDs, second all-time) has recorded 41 fewer touchdowns than Rice, they've both had the same number of double-digit touchdown seasons (nine each).
Rice's 1,549 receptions (most all-time) dwarfs Moss' career total (982, ninth- most all-time) but Moss holds the higher yards per catch average (15.6 versus 14.8 for Rice). Moss is also keeper of the highest single-season touchdown total in league history. Moss absorbed 23 touchdowns in 2007, one more than the 22 Rice amassed in 1987.
But part of the brilliance of Rice was his longevity. Rice's dominance lasted for the better part of two decades. At age 40, Rice was still able to reach 1,211 yards receiving and seven touchdowns while helping the Raiders reach the Super Bowl in 2002.
Moss, on the other hand, hasn't had a 1,000-yard campaign since his 32nd birthday and is coming off back-to-back lackluster seasons (827 yards on 56 catches since 2010).
Moss was incredible during his tenures in Minnesota and New England but he wasn't always consistent. He struggled to just 767 yards during his final season with the Vikings in 2004 before enduring another dreadful year with Oakland in 2006 (553 yards on just 42 catches).
Rice never had a hiccup like that. With the exception of 1997 when he tore his ACL in the season opener, Rice collected at least 800 yards receiving every year from 1985 to 2003. We'll probably never see another human being catch the ball with that insane level of consistency.
At least Moss can hang his hat on his magnificent 2007 campaign, which I thought would go down as the greatest fantasy season ever for a wide receiver. But then I did some poking around and truth be told, Rice's 1995 season was actually a smidge better than Moss' record-breaking performance in '07.
In 1995 Rice set the NFL single-season record for receiving yards, which stood until this season when Detroit's Calvin Johnson finally toppled the 17-year- old mark. After going through every game from that season I calculated 282 total fantasy points for Rice. Moss accumulated 280 fantasy points in 2007.
Second-best ever? Maybe. But better than Rice? Keep dreaming, Randy.
Any way you slice it, Rice is and probably always will be the best ever.
If he wins the Super Bowl this weekend, I don't think it will matter much to Moss whether he's No. 1 or No. 2.
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