Versus: Terrell Owens vs Randy Moss

With Randy Moss and Terrell Owens being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend, we’re revisiting the debate we had back in January as to which one of these all-time greats was better.


Terrell Owens vs. Randy Moss

If you had to pick one wide receiver as your passing game’s main weapon, who would it be? With both of them being finalists for this year’s Hall of Fame class, we recently brought the argument out of the barbershop and into our Madison Avenue offices. Shadow League All-Stars J.R. Gamble and Ricardo Hazell make their arguments and debate who’d get the nod if they could only have one of these amazing players on their team.

WATCH- Versus: TO vs Moss

VERSUS- Terrell Owens vs Randy Moss

J.R. Gamble’s Pick – Randy Moss

Both Randy Moss and Terrell Owens are Hall of Fame worthy receivers, probably the two best of their generation. However, there was never much debate as to who the better receiver was. 

While T.O. compiled great numbers throughout his career and finished higher in certain receiving categories than Moss, not many folks would argue that T.O. was the superior receiver. Look no further than the first six years of their careers. Moss came out of the shoot as advertised with more than 1,200 yards receiving in each season. Owens didnt have 1,000 yards until his third season and had just three seasons of more than 1,000 yards over his first six seasons. 

The fact that T.O. didn’t get into Canton on his first two tries and Moss will make it this year on his first ballot also suggests who will be remembered as the better player historically. 

First 6 NFL Seasons: 

Randy Moss: 8,375 receiving yards, 77 TDs  

Terrell Owens: 6,170 receiving yards, 59 TDs 

Tom Brady & former players on NFL legend Randy Moss

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Moss reached the 1,000 yard mark in 10 out of his 13 years. His signature season was one of the best in NFL history. During the New England Patriots’ perfect regular season in 2007, he and Tom Brady formed an unstoppable connection and Moss set the NFL record for receiving touchdowns in a season with 23. In 2003, he hit his high mark for yards with 1,632, good for tenth on the all-time list. 

Moss was considered the best player in the game at one point.  Owens was never that guy, but he had more flair, personality and was a walking roller coaster of emotions. He revolutionized endzone celebrations and had media, fans and networks thirsty to see what innovative and self aggrandizing TD celebration the diva of all diva wide receivers would bust on America. 

Moss was also a better teammate. Owens had a lot of drama in Philly and despite helping the Eagles to the Super Bowl and putting on a great performance in a loss, he was as much of a headache in the locker room as he was a superstar on the field. 

Moss came into the league with red flags stemming from some legal issues he had while at Florida State which caused him to transfer to Marshall. A highly touted prospect, Moss was courted by Notre Dame and Florida State. But stints in jail for drug use and a battery charge forced them to withdraw their scholarship offers. 

His issues werent really with players in the locker room. Despite his talent, Moss didnt always make the right decisions off the field and he wasnt always the most motivated guy. He couldnt stay off the buddha. In 2005, during an interview with Bryant Gumbel, Moss admits the he smoked marijuana during his NFL career. Most media types described those drug issues as character problems. There was also this narrative that Moss only played when he wanted to. 

Randy Moss – The SuperFreak

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If Moss committed some of these infractions today, he would probably have been suspended several times. Instead, he is as popular as ever in his new role as an NFL football talking head. At the end of the day, none of these issues have anything to do with the fact that Moss was Michael Jordan on the football field. He is ranked 15th all-time in catches (982), fourth in receiving yards (15,292) and second in touchdown catches (156).

Moss athleticism is second to none. Hes also the best deep threat the game has ever seen. The Cover 2 was created to stop his video game dominance of NFL secondaries. Owens never had a defense designed purely to stop him. He never instilled the same caliber of fear into his opponents. 

In 1999, the year after Moss snagged a rookie record 17 TDs, the division rival Green Bay Packers first three draft choices were defensive backs (Antuan Edwards, Fred Vinson, Mike McKenzie) in an attempt to stop Moss.

He was truly the unstoppable force and the only receiver that can be mentioned with legend Jerry Rice in The GOAT conversion. 


Ricardo Hazell’s pick: Terrell Owens

Once again, Terrell Owens is up for induction into the Football Hall of Fame.  This is his third straight year he was named a finalist. Last time around, the consensus among voters was he had big numbers but was a bad teammate.  It all amounted to a steaming shit sandwich to an obvious NFL immortal from a voting base that largely profited off his antics over the years.   

There are three indisputable truths that should spell Owens being immortalized in Canton, Ohio for the rest of known history; he was a fiery competitor, an explosive athlete, and his numbers should have made him a first ballot Hall of Famer years ago. 

Peep the ruggedness, Owens is second in receiving yards all-time, trailing only Jerry Rice, eighth in receptions, and is third in receiving touchdowns. Owens has gotten a lot of criticism about drops over the years, but the numbers show that malodorous wind carries a false tale like clip-on dread ponytails.

Through much of his career, T.O. had a 60 percent catch percentage. Naturally, it dropped with age and attrition, but only dipped under 50 percent once.  By contrast, Randy Moss only had three seasons catching passes at 60 percent or above, and he had three seasons where he caught the ball less than 50 percent of the time.  

T.O and Skip Bayless agree that Randy Moss shouldn’t be a first ballot Hall of Famer | UNDISPUTED

Terrell Owens joins Skip Bayless, Shannon Sharpe and Eric Dickerson to talk about the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Randy Moss.

Also, while Moss had a plus 60 catch percentage three times in his career, Owens did so seven times. But, have some tell it, Moss clearly had better hands. The numbers do not bear that out.

Additionally, though Moss leads Owens on the all-time touchdown list, T.O. was able to maintain an elevated level of production for longer – recording 829 yards in Buffalo and 983 yards in Cincinnati. Those were his last two years in the league.  By contrast, Moss last receiving yards in his last two seasons were 393 yards and 434 yards, with Minnesota, New England, Tennessee and San Francisco. 

Terrell Owens has more receptions, more yards per game, and played more games than Randy Moss. He was even named All-Pro more times than Moss. Owens was more physical at the point of attack, was not afraid to take big hits and no cornerback who ever lived would dare play bump and run coverage on him. He was just too damn strong.  

Terrell Owens, and not Randy Moss, is the only true former San Francisco 49ers receiver who can be mentioned in the same breath as Jerry Rice.

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