An Analyst Calls Tyreek Hill the Best Deep Threat Ever, and I'm Just Here to See Him Get Ratio'ed by the Randy Moss People
God bless the analytics crowd. To borrow an old sitcom theme lyric your mom always loved, their molten lava takes can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile. We're all minding our own business on a slowish NFL news day in May, and one of the drones who works in Cris Collinsworth's little numbers factory over at Pro Football Focus throws out an opinion about Tyreek Hill being the best deep threat in NFL history and everyone:
Before we go another sentence, let's acknowledge that Tyreek Hill is, in fact, an accomplished deep threat. By PFF's (paywall) own rankings, he's one of just four wideouts in football who had a perfect grade of 99.9 on balls over 20 yards in the air last season, along with Curtis Samuel, Justin Jefferson and Davante Adams. Hill's 8 TDs on such throws led the league, and was two more than the next guy, Nelson Agholor. He was tied for third in deep 1st downs and his passer rating while targeted, while just 29th in the league, was a respectable 114.0. He was also one of four WRs with a perfect grade in the category in 2019, one of six the year before, and one of four the season before that. So good on him.
But declare a guy with five years on the job as "the best" at just about anything and you're just cruising for a history lesson there, Sonny Jim. Courtesy of the people with social media accounts who had the life-altering privilege that was watching one Randy Moss in action. And those zealots came swarming out of the internet woodwork like monkeys flying out of the witch's castle. And it was glorious to behold. Feast your eyes on these precious treasures of our storied past:
And here are some fun facts, courtesy of USA Today:
From 1998 through 2012, Moss caught 982 passes for 15.292 yards, and 156 touchdowns. He led the league in touchdown receptions five times from 1998 through 2009. …
And when you look at 2007 alone (Moss’ first season with the Patriots, in which he caught 105 passes for 1,587 yards and 24 touchdowns, including the postseason), the deep receiving numbers are just preposterous. In that season, from Week 1 through Super Bowl XLII, Moss caught 15 passes of 20 or more air yards on 48 targets for 630 yards, 42 yards per reception, and 10 touchdowns. If that isn’t the greatest deep-ball season by any receiver in pro football history, I don’t know what is.
Game. Set. Match. Championship. Let's hold the trophy ceremony, this tournament is over. But that was fun while it lasted. Mybe we can revisit this argument when Hill starts to approach Moss' career accomplishments, records, and absolutely unmatched ability to defeat double- and even triple-coverage, out run people and highpoint balls with defensive backs all over him and do it for 14 years or so. But until then, I'd like to thank the analytics nerds for for putting down their 20-sided dice long enough to spark this discussion and spark this Randy Moss nostalgia. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to finish watching Moss' highlight reel of 40+ yard completions and I've still got nine minutes to go.