Randy Moss had tears in his eyes before he even began his speech at the 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Even for a man who has reached incredible heights, this moment was clearly special.
“Faith. Family. And football. That’s what makes Randy Moss,” he said. “In that order. Nothing else inside the circle.”
Moss’ bronze bust featured the corn rows he wore for so much of his career, and a questioning look on his face; when Moss unveiled the statue with his son and presenter, Thaddeus, he gave it a big kiss.
“When I came into the NFL, I had no sense of direction. All I wanted to do was play football,” Moss said. “My mom (Maxine) knew nothing about sports…Not for one second did I not think God was in control of my life. Raised by a single mother from the unincorporated streets of Rand, W. Va., providing for three. Mama, if they’re here celebrating me for all my accomplishments, mama, all I wanted to do was just celebrate you, give you all the things we never had.”
Moss of course thanked his wife, Lydia, and his children.
“Daddy did it all for you all. You are my responsibility, and now, I want to let you all know, we are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” Moss told them.
The receiver mentioned his “small, unincorporated community” of Rand, W. Va. several times.
“That’s where it all started; that was the foundation. …We stuck together. There’s a lot of country folk out here and I’m proud to be from the state of West Virginia,” he said. “We had one well-knit community, and from the bottom of my heart I want to thank my community and the state for all the love and support; it really means a lot to me.”
Moss said he was bringing his gold jacket back to West Virginia on Sunday afternoon to share it with those from his hometown. “This is ours!,” he boasted.
After thanking Vikings fans, late coach Dennis Green, and current team owners the Wilfs, Moss thanked Raiders fans, apologizing that things didn’t go “according to plan” during his time there.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick surprised Moss, appearing in Canton together. They stood offstage as he spoke, and at the end of his speech, he turned his attention to them.
The Krafts did their own homework before New England acquired Moss in a draft-weekend trade with Oakland in 2007, and he thanked them for “ignoring the noise and welcoming me with open arms.”
“Mr. Kraft, the late Myra Kraft gave me a handshake and told me she was glad that I was here. And I want to thank you personally for finding out on your own if I was real or not. Thank you,” Moss said.
Moss even thanked the Tennessee Titans for his very brief stint there, and the San Francisco 49ers, where he ended his career in 2012.
“Last but not least, I’m not going to forget about you. Bill Belichick, I’m not going to forget about you,” Moss said, as the crowd booed at the mention of Belichick’s name. “I want to thank you for being a friend when it wasn’t always about football. You showed me how much I loved the game, you challenged me every day to go out there and be great. You challenged me to be great coach, and I’m sorry we didn’t bring it home [in 2007]. All those individual awards don’t really mean anything to me. Football is a team sport. Football is a team sport.”