By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
Dear Mr. Moss
MINNESOTA — Sometimes expression is best done by words. Here are words written to my favorite football player, Randy Moss.
I remember it like it was yesterday December 25th, 1996. I received a jersey with your name and number, “Moss” “84”. To this day it’s the only football jersey that I own. To spend hard earned money on any other player would be blasphemy.
Who else can leap multiple DB’s in a single bound, make the catch and then leave those very same DB’s in a cloud of dust? Some say TO, but he doesn’t possess Randy Moss speed. Who else can make the extraordinary look routine?
Some say Torry Holt. I say he’s a product of the system, plus he’s not tall enough to be the same type of physically imposing, every play’s a big play threat you are. Who else can take a 5-yard hitch and turn it into a 50-yard touchdown?
Some say Marvin Harrison, but he would just give the ball to the ref and go listen to Peyton explain how he can use the hitch and go to score again next drive. He wouldn’t entertain us; he wouldn’t make us hunger to see more. Who can combine speed and strength in a way previously unmatched, making a different defensive coordinator an insomniac each week?
Some say Chad Johnson but he’ll have to terrorize the league for a few more years before he’s mentioned in the same sentence as you.
You see Randy, you combine speed, strength, leaping ability, and big play capability like no other receiver EVER. Forget Jevon Kearse, you are a freak! And the thing is, you keep getting better. When you’re up, you are waaaay up. You make 150 catches for 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns seem doable…every single year.
And when you are down Randy you are waaaaay down. From claiming to play when you want to, to taking a meter maid on an unwanted ride, to squirting a game official with water, to walking off the field before the game was over and finally showing your derrière as you pretend to moon the Lambeau faithful.
I’ve defended you through it all. I told people that even the great Jerry Rice admitted you can’t go hard every freaking play. I told them that the meter attendants in Minneapolis are notoriously ruthless and that the young lady really didn’t get hurt anyway. I told them that the game official provoked you and hadn’t made a call all day so maybe the water would awaken him from his in-game slumber.
And even though I couldn’t fathom ever leaving my team with time on the clock, I told them that your coach and team let you down and they should probably do some serious soul-searching before pointing the finger at you for leaving them.
As far as “booty gate”, I told them that if we would have lost a lot more booties would have been exposed since it’s Green Bay tradition to moon the losing team. I told them you were just helping to maintain tradition.
I know history and I know that you are historic. No receiver in the league has more catches, more yards, or more touchdowns in their first 7 years than you. Consistency is your most valuable attribute. No receiver impacts a defensive game plan like you do. To defend Randy Moss two defenders in the secondary MUST be attentive to your whereabouts at all times.
That being the case, only nine defenders are left over to defend the other facets of the offense. Any worthwhile receiver playing opposite you can look the part of an All-Pro, any quarter back worth his socks throwing to you can seem to be awesome, any competent running back playing with you can dig up a 1,200 yard season.
(For those wondering what’s wrong with the Vikings offense, aside from that horrific coach, RANDY’S GONE! It took Daunte two years to maximize the offense with Randy in it, it’ll take at least two to maximize the offense without him.)
Most import you make a game so difficult look so easy. There isn’t a thing on the football field, as a receiver, that you can’t do. That makes it easy to cheer for you. The kids though, they make it hard. Every time you score a touchdown it makes it harder to explain to them why they can’t moon their Pop Warner opponents after they score, why they can’t be like you.
Every time you make a spectacular touchdown reception it grows increasingly difficult to reason with young people why they can’t tell their parents that their $20 allowance “ain’t sh*t”, kind of like when you told that reporter that your $20,000 fine wasn’t really all that much. You’re a gift and a curse, a wonderful nightmare.
I decided to take a look at what I felt might be the “real” Randy Moss. The Rand, WV native who didn’t need to and never really did assimilate to Minneapolis. My Grandparents were born and raised in the Deep South and I know a country boy when I see one. I think that was the essence of your struggles during your tenure in the upper mid-west.
The racial climate is often times not ideal and rich, black athletes aren’t high on the respect list; especially when the team is in the middle of a tough season. Combine your low tolerance for what you consider nonsense and the high concentration of it that flows over the airwaves and through newspaper pages it’s no wonder that you weren’t extended a great degree of public affection during the 7 years you spent in Minnesota.
You’re in a new place now Randy. Oakland. You have an owner, a coach, and a team that wants you to “be you.” They’ve welcomed you with open arms and thus far you’ve come through with the catches, yards and touchdowns that are all apart of your unique package. You’ve been the model citizen some said you couldn’t be. Being the guy everyone wants you to be off the field probably isn’t very high on your priority list right now but this fan is asking that you bump it up a few notches.
Why you ask? Because I feel you, I understand you. Not as a pro athlete but as a man who some look up to as a role model. The thing is I can’t always agree with your actions. I desperately want to but I can’t. Why you ask? Because I’ve got to think about the kids and maybe, just maybe, you should too.
I’ll most likely be receiving my second football jersey ever this Christmas…..an Oakland Raiders “# 18.” To spend hard earned money on any other player would be blasphemy.