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Tuesday (Randy Moss -- slam dunk for the Hall of Fame or not?) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand under Vikings Updated: August 2, 2011 - 8:50 AM

Randy Moss retired Monday, and unless we think he's just taking a page out of his temporary former teammate Brett Favre's playbook in order to get out of training camp, we have to assume this is it for the Super Freak. He retires at age 34, leaving yards and touchdowns on the field. But he also retires after a three-team season in 2010, one during which his half-step slower legs and less willing arms could no longer make up for his outburst-prone mouth.

The receiver -- who was born in Rand, W.V., a fact that never fails to amuse us -- was one of the NFL's larger-than-life figures during an era in which the game grew like crazy. He has major numbers, including those 153 TD grabs that are tied for second all-time.

Strangely -- and maybe incorrectly -- we still wonder if he is a slam dunk for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Our best guess is he will get in. Our instincts tell us, though, that it might take a little while. Why?

*The era. Moss has played in an era that has produced tons of big-number wide receivers. He has fewer career catches and yards than Isaac Bruce (and Bruce also had a one-season outburst of 119 catches, 1,781 yards and 13 TDs that compares nicely to any of Moss' top years). Is Bruce a sure-fire HOFer? No. Look at the active leaders in receiving yards, and you can find several guys who might pass Moss by the time he is eligible.

*It generally takes receivers a while to get into the Hall -- if they get there at all. Jerry Rice got in the first time he was eligible. So did Steve Largent. James Lofton and Michael Irvin made it during their third year as finalists. Art Monk needed eight tries as a finalist. Look at the modern era of wide receivers in the hall. There are 21 of them, but very few are recent additions. Still waiting to hear his name? Former Moss running mate Cris Carter.

*The HOF voting process is convoluted and leaves plenty of room for voters who simply don't like Moss to keep him out. He needs to survive various cut-downs and then get 80 percent of the votes if he makes it into the finalist stage. This is where the off-field stuff can really hurt.

We know Moss passes the eyeball test. We saw him in person, and he was a game-changer. His numbers also stack up very well, even if there are some gaps when he was either injured, disinterested, or both. We're just saying that if this is really the end for the Super Freak, we wouldn't expect to see him in the HOF in five years when he is eligible. Maybe eight or nine. Maybe even more.

Your thoughts, please, in the comments.


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