NEW ORLEANS – If nothing else, it's been entertaining having Randy Moss vs. Jerry Rice as the undercard bout before Sunday's Super Bowl.
Today, an ESPN employee was reading through the credentials of Cris Carter, Trent Dilfer, Mike Ditka and Jerry Rice before a press conference at the New Orleans Convention Center.
When she got to Rice, she introduced him as, “arguably the best receiver in NFL history.”
Rice couldn’t resist the opening.
“Second best,” he said as laughter filled the room.
It was a jab at Moss, the former Viking who made headlines earlier in the week when he said he, not Rice, was the best receiver in NFL history.
Later, as Rice sat and talked with reporters, it was obvious that no matter what he says about not being upset with Moss, Rice is very much upset with Moss.
“I’m just having fun with it, but I think the thing is I never took any plays off and always gave 100 percent,” said Rice, who won three Super Bowls, one Super Bowl MVP and holds most of the league’s major career receiving records.
“And also, if you put my numbers up against Randy’s, my body of work compared to his work, there’s a big difference. I know he said you can’t bring the stats into the scenario, but I think that’s part of being the best receiver in the game.”
Rice went on to say that Moss was “probably was the most talented” player in NFL history.
“But along with being the most talented, you also have to work hard,” Rice said. “Every season, every play. I was not the most talented, but I was going to outwork you.
“He could have been probably the greatest player to ever play the game. Gifted, 6-foot-5, could run a 4.3, could outjump you. He struck fear into the opponent. But you got to have it here in your heart.”
Rice pointed at his chest as he said that. Then he continued.
“This,” said Rice, pointing to his Super Bowl ring, “is how I impacted the game. With Super Bowl rings. I’m hoping he can go out there and win his first one on Sunday.”
More Moss rankings: Moss is being asked by reporters to rank, rank, rank. The last guy who had to do this much ranking was Casey Kasem (Note: old-guy reference to a once-popular Top 40 radio program).
Moss was asked to rank the top five players of all-time. He started by saying he wouldn't include quarterbacks because they belong in their own category. Then he started naming names.
"Walter Payton," Moss said. "Jerry Rice, Barry Sanders, Terrell Owens. You have to put T.O. in there."
Then Moss paused and asked, "How many did I say?"
"Four," said the reporters.
"Did I say myself?" Moss said.
"No," said the reporters.
"And Randy Moss," Moss said.
Moss also was asked for the top two players in NFL history that he admires most.
"Walter Payton," he said. "And myself."
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