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49ers' Randy Moss still racing after that elusive ring

  • San Francisco wide receiver Randy Moss eludes Atlanta Falcons free safety's Thomas DeCoud tackle attempt during the NFC Championship game Jan. 20 in Atlanta. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

NEW ORLEANS — Randy Moss had been lying low. And then he went ahead and called himself the greatest wide receiver in the history of the NFL.

Everyone pounced on the proclamation, but hardly anybody agreed with Moss. The naysayers brandished statistics to demonstrate that Bay Area legend Jerry Rice was the best ever, and they went beyond Rice's massive leads in career catches, yards and touchdowns. Another number works to Rice's advantage. He owns three Super Bowl rings.

Moss is still looking for his first NFL title, a quest that may or may not end on the Superdome field this Sunday.

“I think that what I've accomplished in my professional career and throughout my whole life of playing football, I've really wanted a championship on every level,” Moss said. “I've always told myself that I wanted to win a championship on this level. Having a Super Bowl ring, I think my career would be complete.”

Whether you rank Moss first, second, third or further down the list, there is no denying his impact on the league. He burst upon the scene like a meteor as a rookie in 1998, outrunning, outleaping and outgrappling defensive backs all over the league. He has been voted to six Pro Bowls along the way, but it wasn't until the last of his Pro Bowl seasons, in 2007, that Moss finally played in a Super Bowl.

That was in 2007, when he broke the NFL record (previously held by Rice) with 23 touchdown receptions for New England, helping the Patriots go undefeated en route to Super Bowl XLII in Arizona. They were heavily favored over the New York Giants in that game, but lost 17-14 on a last-minute touchdown pass from Eli Manning to Plaxico Burress.

Moss still has not watched a replay.

“There's just something about '07, being undefeated going into a Super Bowl and losing it like that,” he said. “I'll never forget that moment because it's not fun when you're sweating and you have confetti dropping down and sticking to your face, knowing that you're not on the winning side of the confetti.”

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