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THE ETCS

How Randy Moss Became a Verb

The NFL’s greatest vertical threat didn’t just give us epic highlights — he put “You Got Mossed” into the football lexicon forever.

In a league full of world-class freak athletes, there might not have been a bigger anomaly than Randy Moss.

At 6-foot-4 with 4.2 speed, Moss had an unparalleled combination of height and speed that was overwhelming to defensive backs on Sundays and kept defensive coordinators up at night on weeks leading into gameday. With a bevy of receiving records on his resume and the gold jacket to show for it, Randy is inarguably one of the greatest wide receivers of all time, and arguably the greatest.

But for an athlete as unique and stunning as Randy Moss, it wasn’t the results that made him The Freak.

It was the how.

Taller than most and faster than all, Randy’s athleticism, speed, and penchant for the unbelievable were put on display so often, he became synonymous with the unthinkable and impossible. In showcasing some of the most exciting, spectacular catches the league has ever seen, it came to be that the act of getting owned by a receiver’s aerial feats could only be described with one word:

“Mossed.”

The numbers and accomplishments are impressive. In his first eight seasons, Moss was able to record a reception of at least 60 yards every year, has nine seasons of at least 10 receiving touchdowns, and his 2007 campaign with Tom Brady in which he caught a record 23 TDs might be his magnum opus in a career filled with an unreasonable number of high points. 

But it’s the catches that live on. One-handed snags over Hall of Fame, legendary defensive backs like Charles Woodson, Aeneas Williams, and Darrelle Revis would be career moments for some but were routine for Randy. The ease with which he did the unthinkable made Moss a phenomenon, one of the few NFL players who seemingly became larger than life, netting a signature sneaker with the Jordan Brand and adoration outside of the NFL’s shield. Randy became the rare player with the ability to transcend the NFL, perhaps the country’s foremost brand, with each trademark acrobatic moment.

It was all of that that turned his last name into a verb, which has lived on beyond his career on the field and bled into his media career as an analyst for ESPN. Randy hosts a  “You Got Mossed” segment on NFL Countdown during which he reviews the top highlight catches of the week across not just the NFL, but the entire world of sports.

And every time, no matter how amazing the catch, the standard remains the Freak himself.

Because even if there are a million ways to get Mossed, there’s only one Randy.

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