November 15, 2013

Rookie of the Year: Randy Moss, 1998

Wide Receiver, Minnesota Vikings



Age: 21
College: Marshall
Height: 6’4”   Weight: 210

Prelude:
Moss was a two-time All-American in college, catching 174 passes for 3529 yards (20.3 avg.) and 54 touchdowns in just two seasons. However, he had legal problems that had forced his dismissal from Florida State and, while an outstanding talent, fell to the Vikings with the 21st pick in the first round. Big and fast, he became part of a highly productive wide receiving tandem in Minnesota along with Cris Carter.

1998 Season Summary
Appeared in all 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Pass Receiving
Receptions – 69 [16, tied with Larry Centers, Raghib Ismail & Johnnie Morton]    
Most receptions, game – 8 (for 153 yds.) vs. Green Bay 11/22, (for 106 yds.) vs. Chicago 12/6
Yards – 1313 [3]
Most yards, game - 190 (on 5 catches) at Green Bay 10/5
Average gain – 19.0 [5]
TDs – 17 [1]
100-yard receiving games – 4

Rushing
Attempts – 1
Yards – 4
TDs – 0

Punt Returns
Returns – 1
Yards – 0

Scoring
TDs – 17 [2, tied with Fred Taylor]
2-pt PATs – 2 [1, tied with four others]
Points – 106 [14]

Postseason: 2 G
Pass receptions – 10
Most pass receptions, game – 6 vs. Atlanta, NFC Championship
Pass receiving yards – 148
Most receiving yards, game – 75 vs. Atlanta, NFC Championship
Average yards per reception – 14.8
Pass Receiving TDs - 2

Awards & Honors:
NFL Rookie of the Year: Sporting News
NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year: AP, PFWA
1st team All-NFL: AP, PFWA, Sporting News
1st team All-NFC: Pro Football Weekly
Pro Bowl

Vikings went 15-1 to finish first in the NFC Central with the conference’s best record while leading the NFL in passing yards (4328), scoring (556 points), and touchdowns (64). Won NFC Divisional playoff over Arizona Cardinals (41-21). Defeated for NFC Championship by Atlanta Falcons (30-27).

Aftermath:
Moss went on to have seven highly productive seasons in Minnesota, going over a thousand yards in six of them (with a high of 1632 in 2003) and reaching a hundred catches twice. He led the NFL in TD receptions again in 2000 (15) and ’03 (17), was a consensus first-team All-NFL selection in both of those years, and was selected to five Pro Bowls. But with all of his tremendous talent, he drew criticism for being a prima donna and a lack of consistent effort. Following an injury-plagued 2004 season, Moss was dealt to the Raiders, where he had two relatively quiet years. Moving on to New England, he was sensational in a 2007 season in which he set a NFL record with 23 TD receptions. He played two more years with the Patriots, again topping the NFL in TD catches with 13 in 2009, but was dealt to the Vikings during the 2010 season and finished up the year in Tennessee. Initially retiring, he returned to play for the 49ers in 2012. Overall, he caught 982 passes for 15,292 yards, which rank third all-time in NFL history, and for a fourth-ranked 157 touchdowns (one TD came on a punt return). He was a consensus first-team All-NFL selection four times and was selected to six Pro Bowls.

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Rookie of the Year Profiles feature players who were named Rookie of the Year in the NFL, AFL (1960-69), or USFL (1983-85) by a recognized organization (Associated Press – Offense or Defense, Newspaper Enterprise Association, United Press International, The Sporting News, or the league itself – Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year). 

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