No Mas! A Defense of Randy Moss, the Greatest Athlete of My Childhood
There is a love that people in the 80's and 90's had with Michael Jordan. It is a love that people in the 60's and 70's had with Muhammad Ali. It is a love that people in the 20's and 30's had with Babe Ruth.
There are a certain amount of people at any time, in any sport, that become the best in their profession. If luck is on your side, there comes along an athlete that is touched by God.
Their gifts and talents for their profession exceed everything that came before them. And with that enormous talent, there is an added quality. These chosen few take their profession so far beyond its perceived limits, that it becomes art.
Michael Jordan played basketball like an artist. It wasn't his jumping ability or his speed. It was creativity in using everything he had and doing things nobody ever had. People loved Babe Ruth, Muhammad Ali, Roger Federer for that quality, and will love them throughout time.
It is this same love that I have for the most misunderstood athlete of the past 10 years and my favorite athlete ever, Randy Moss. He is to the wide receiver position, what Michael Jordan was to the shooting guard position. He completely changed everything we thought was possible.
And he is a personal hero of mine. When I get misguided and untrue criticism that is based on misunderstanding, I think of Randy Moss' life and the strength and resolve he showed in response to it.
I will defend every single bad PR stab at his reputation in the following slides
The Proverbial Tough Childhood
98% of people who have heard of Randy Moss don't know the story behind his upbringing.
I am lucky.
I grew up with two parents taking care of me. I was always provided with more than I needed. I grew up in communities where I was accepted, excelled, and was adored for the talents that I had. Because of my family background, I never had to struggle with anything economical or sociological. I could just be happy.
Randy was brought up in a single-parent household in West Virginia. His mother worked three jobs to support their family. West Virginia in the 1980's had the same sociological climate that you would think pre-civil rights and segregation-era states would have.
Blacks would stay on one side of town, and whites would stay on another. It was a different era, to say the least. In high school, already a local legend as the best athlete to ever come out of the state, Randy got into a fight with a white student who had scribbled "All N*ggers must die" on a desk.
Whether he should have started the fight is up to the specific person reading it. I don't have an idea what it must be like to be persecuted in that manner, so I will not judge.
Most people get into fights in high school. Randy, as a teenager, was thrown into jail for 30 days. Along the wall of his high school, signs of "HANG MOSS" had appeared. The West Virginia newspapers called for three years.
And people wonder why Randy Moss doesn't warm up to the media.
Solitary Confinement at Age 19
Think of yourself at 19 years old.
After getting his scholarship rescinded at Notre Dame, Randy enrolled at Florida State. When he came home, he—like a large percentage of college students in America and across the world—smoked a joint of pot.
For this act, which as a university student I can attest to almost 40 percent of normal 18-24 year olds indulge in without any consequences, got senteced to three months in jail and 30 days of solitary confinement.
Thirty days of solitary confinement as a 19 year old.
Why would he show an attitude and a chip on his shoulder, when playing and succeeding in the NFL?
I Play When I Want To Play
"I play when I want to play."
A reporter asked Randy, "What makes you have big days in important games? Is it Cris Carter, is it Dennis Green who motivate you?"
Randy replies, "I play when I want to play."
The media turns this into a 10-year long narrative about this player dogging it. Nobody ever bothers to check the context.
After having faced the West Virginia newspapers calling for jailtime for him in high school, would you expect Randy Moss to come out, apologize, and correct the misunderstanding that the media ran away with?
Would you? Seriously, would you?
He Jogs on Most of His Plays
Merril Hoge, an ESPN analyst, comes out and says that Randy Moss jogs on 50 percent of his plays. People who don't understand how he plays come out against his "dogging it," even though in 12 years, ZERO of his teammates or coaches have ever said it.
Nnamdi Asomoghua, a top two cornerback in the league for four to five years, says when asked on the Mike and Mike Radio show on April 21, 2009:
"Randy's the most unique receiver I've ever seen, in terms of his mind. Everytime I went went up against him in practice, he did something different in his routes. He slowed down, sets you up and then bursts ahead leaving you behind. So, besides his athletic ability, he played the most mental games. I never figured him out."
Champ Bailey, future Hall of Famer:
"He never lollygags," Bailey said. "That's the thing. People really don't understand the game. I've always said from the first time I played with him, he's one of the best I've ever seen, even to this day, he's so dangerous. He has that deceptive speed. You know he's fast, but then he doesn't run fast, and then he's at top speed."
Ron Jaworski on PTI:
"The eye in the sky doesn't lie. He is incredibly nuanced. He jibs and jabs and slows and speeds up. I have never seen him 'slouch' on film."
Darrelle Revis is very insecure, so he needs to talk to convince himself of things. After getting burned for a beautiful one-handed catch, Revis grabs his hamstring. Two weeks later, he comes out and calls Moss a slouch again for jogging.
In games in 2009 and 2010, he got double covered everytime, down the field. The Patriots have Wes Welker. When Moss got double covered, Welker was open. Tom Brady took the open and closer option. It was because of his presence that the offense kept moving.
The result of this is that Moss wouldn't get great stats in the game that teams completely decided to focus on him. The Patriots usually won those games.
Against teams like the Jets who bring great pressure, or the Panthers with Peppers, Tom Brady doesn't have the time to wait for the big throw downfield, so he takes the easy safe option that presents itself because of Randy's presence.
The stats look like Randy didn't try the whole game, and misguided fools like Darrelle Revis start talking.
Well, because of Adrian Peterson and the running game, Brett Favre will get the time to throw downfield, and you will see the results on Monday.
Revis Island will from then on be known as Gilligan's Island.
The End with the Patriots
Bill Belichick calls an impromptu press conference.
He calls it to defend Randy Moss from the "unnamed sources," and the "incidents." Calls all of them "total fabrications." Says it, "was a pleasure to coach Randy. I've never had an incident with Randy in four years."
One by one, all his teammates express shock and undying friendship.
"Randy really knows how I feel about him. I love him as a guy, as a person, as a player," Brady.
"Great person, great athlete, but probably one of the greatest guys you'll ever meet. The game. His personality. How he approaches the game. Business. It's a classic case of business," Vince Wilfork.
“He wasn’t a distraction at all. He’s a great teammate. Great in the locker room. To my knowledge, he hadn’t done anything wrong, as far as in the locker room," Jerod Mayo.
“We all personally love him, love him to death. A business decision had to be made and we have no control. We just move on and go about our business.” Tully Banta-Cain.
Not one ounce of dissension.
At his press conference, Randy says about Belichick: "The respect that I have for him as a coach and a man speaks high volumes," and "He gave me a chance to be a part of a team. That's all I ever wanted, man, to be part of a team."
Still the media wants to push a narrative about a guy.
The Real Story Behind the Patriots Departure
Randy is in the last year of his contract and next year is a lockout year. When he got traded to the Patriots in 2007. He had 2 more years on his contract worth in total of 22 million. Randy reworked it, for it to be 1 year 2.5 million. He left 20 million on the table.
In 2008, when he was a free agent, he left 10 million on the table, that the Eagles had offered him, to stay with the Patriots.
In the Patriots system, when he is double or triple covered, there are other options. The Patriots take those options, which ends up in bad stats for Randy.
Moss would be losing money for being a team player to the tune of $10 to $20 million dollars on the free agent market. It would mess with any of you.
Belichick talked at his press conference of having, "honest, forthright conversations with Randy." Belichick, in one of the classiest moves any coach has ever made, traded Randy to a contender that he would be comfortable with, not even negotiating or asking other teams or going to the highest bidder.
All of it because the business side of the game would be screwing Randy out of a lot of money to continue with the Patriots. It wasn't because Randy was a distraction or his skills were eroding, but because it was a business decision that gave a rebuilding Patriots offense room to grow, and the greatest receiver in their history a chance to provide for his family.
It is as simple as that.
At the end of the movie, Casablanca, Bogart's character gives up the girl, because they both know that though they love each other, their futures weren't meant to be together. He says, "We'll always have Paris."
Well Patriots fans, "You'll always have 2007."
The Greatest Offense of All Time
It was a lot of Karma.
Asante Samuel's dropped interception, Giants' offensive line holding on, David Tyree's catch, Tom Brady's ankle.
Forget all of it.
In the 2007 regular season, you saw the greatest offense of all time, spearheaded by the one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time hooking up with the greatest receiver of all time.
When I'm 64 and have grandchildren wherever I am in the world, if American football is still around or not, there will be two guys who will have given me transcendent memories about sports that will have lasted.
One of them is Randy Moss.
If you want to say anything bad about Randy Moss on this comment board, I am warning you that I will come back twice as hard and it will gt personal.