The analysts over at NFL.com have been debating the best players of the first decade of the 2000’s at various positions, and the debate over the best wide receiver came down to two players: former Patriots WR Randy Moss and Texans WR Andre Johnson. Both players have been dominant over the past decade, with Moss’s strength being the big play while Johnson has been steady and consistent. Randy Moss played his first NFL games starting in 1998 while Johnson began his NFL career in 2003, so Moss has a few years advantage.
In the NFL.com piece, analyst Jason La Canfora defended Moss as the best WR of Y2K while Elliot Harrison defended Johnson. La Canfora calls Moss “the total package” of “size, speed, and football intellect.” Harrison calls Johnson a “freak” and “the best in the game right now.” I have no argument that Andre Johnson is the best WR in the NFL right now, though he does have Larry Fitzgerald and Calvin Johnson nipping at his heels. However, the debate was the span of a decade, and by the numbers, Randy Moss is the clear choice. Let’s look at the numbers.
From a pure decade standpoint, 2000-2010, Randy Moss is the runaway leader with 805 catches for 12,132 yards and 115 touchdowns. Andre Johnson has 673 catches for 9,164 yards and 50 touchdowns, albeit with three fewer NFL seasons. I decided to go further into the numbers to try and get a better comparison.
- Starting in 2003, Andre Johnson’s first season, Randy Moss has 540 catches for 8,115 yards and 93 touchdowns. While Moss has 133 fewer catches and 1,049 fewer yards, he has 43 more touchdowns, an incredible statistic. I’ll take 43 more scores over the fewer catches and yards any day. Advantage: Moss
- Andre Johnson has been in the NFL for 8 years, so I decided next to look at Randy Moss’s first 8 years. Moss has 634 catches for 10,147 yards and 98 touchdowns. Moss has 39 fewer catches but 983 more yards and 48 more touchdowns. 48! Advantage: Moss
Andre Johnson is a phenomenal WR and likely the best in the game right now, but he’s not at Randy Moss’s career level yet. Barring injury, he’ll likely match or surpass Moss’s career numbers. However, going straight by the numbers, Randy Moss is the best wide receiver for the first decade of the new millenium.