Randy Moss can be maddening to watch, for both his loudest detractors and his staunchest supporters. On his best days, he makes spectacular catches look effortless. On his worst days, he doesn't look like he's putting in any effort all.
But whether you love him or hate him, this much is true: every game, he seems to produce at least one jaw-dropping moment. So without further ado, here are five of the best Moss grabs, beginning with:
1. His 34-yard, one-handed touchdown catch last Sunday.
University of Iowa's Erik Campbell is one of the best receivers coaches in America. I asked him what he thought of this ridiculous sequence, in which Moss burns Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, strikes a pose reminiscent of Michael Jordan's Jumpman logo, and looks the ball directly into his palm.
"Those spectacular catches, a lot of times are by reaction," Campbell says. "It's a natural reaction to the ball."
2. His 35-yard, jump-ball touchdown catch against the Dolphins on Oct. 27, 2007.
Moss looks like he was elevating to dunk a basketball on this one. Defensive backs Cameron Worrell and Will Allen can do nothing except try to out-leap Moss, which proves to be impossible. CBS analyst Dan Dierdorf is dumbfounded. "Stop it!" he says. "Stop it!"
3. His 7-yard one-hander against the Buccaneers on Oct. 29, 2000.
Not a big bomb, but just as impressive as one. When the ball is thrown, Moss spins around, leaps backward, and extends his right arm like an Iguana might extend its tongue in the direction of a bug. But instead of catching a fly, Moss ends up with the ball, which seems to stick to his hand. Predictably, John Madden gushes, "You take all the quarterbacks out and who's the best player in all of football? I think it's Randy Moss."
4. His 17-yard, one-handed catch over the middle against the Colts on Nov. 4, 2007.
Making a one-handed catch is one thing. Doing it while knowing a safety is about to pummel you is another. In this clip, Moss doesn't seem to mind the presence of Antoine Bethea, who delivers a big hit. Still, Moss holds on. The Patriots go on to win the game, 24-20.
5. His 36-yard, two-feet-inbounds TD against the Cowboys on Nov. 23, 2000.
The way he goes from full sprint to a dead stop is amazing. Imagine the driver of a Porsche speeding on a back road, hitting the breaks shortly before a traffic light and still managing to come to a tidy, complete stop. That's Moss. Except a Porsche doesn't have to plant two feet inbounds.