When Randy Moss was traded to the Minnesota Vikings four weeks ago it was supposed to be a triumphant homecoming to the team Moss started his NFL career with. He would get to catch passes thrown by the legendary Brett Favre, a dream come true to let Favre tell it. However after just 13 receptions in four games with the Vikings, Moss was waived by the team on Monday November 1st.
The similarities between Moss and Allen Iverson are staggering. like Iverson, Moss’ physical skills have never been questioned. Like Iverson the knock on Moss has always been character-related. Not one to bite his tongue Moss has never been afraid to give his opinion. Sound like a six foot point guard-turned-shooting guard? While this candor may be refreshing from an athlete in this age of the anonymous quote, his willingness to speak his mind has gotten Moss in trouble more times than not.
Let’s forget about his past transgressions for now and take this current season alone. Moss started the year with the New England Patriots. After a humiliating loss to the New York Jets (the only loss for New England in seven games this year by the way) in the second week of the season, Moss sat at the podium during the post game press conference in a red and black starter cap with cornrows hanging out the back, a T-shirt and over-sized headphones around his neck (how come no one is screaming about a dress code for the NFL?) and, completely unprovoked, tells the gathered media that he will probably not finish the season as a New England Patriot.
Sure he was frustrated by ongoing contract negotiations with the team in what was his last year, but why rock the boat in public? New England is the consummate team. Their only scandal (known as Spygate) had to do with the coaching staff allegedly using cameras to record the opposing team and steal their plays during the game, but the players have been model citizens led by quarterback and pretty boy Tom Brady. Moss also said that he felt there were people in the New England area that did not want to see him do well. He gave no names and he did not elaborate.
To quote the ESPN NFL Countdown team; “C’mon Man.” Keep that stuff in the locker room. For the most part, Moss was on his best behavior in New England. He set records with Brady in 2007 during the perfect regular season run to the Super Bowl. However, feeling he was not appreciated by New England to warrant a contract extension, Moss seemed happy to be traded back to Minnesota, a team desperately needing help at wide receiver due to a string of injuries. Moss told Vikings fans to dust off the old number 84 jerseys they had in anticipation for his return.
But the party would not last. At another post game rant, this time about being fined for not speaking to the media, he told the gathered throng he will only interview himself and answer his own questions for the rest of the season. Then he saluted New England Coach Bill Belichick and said he missed the Patriots. Before you could blink Moss was put on waivers by The Vikings.
When I heard Moss was released I was not surprised. Any player that tells the media they miss being on the team they were traded from at a press conference for the new team in the same season he was traded from the old team would have to go as well. But it didn’t stop there.
Reports say Vikings coach Brad Childress gave Moss the boot not just because of his behavior in the press conference, but over food. Allegedly, Moss berated the caterers who prepared the meal for the team this past Friday. It seems the Vikings have a tradition where every Friday they invite a local business to prepare the team meal. Allegedly Moss loudly criticized the food saying “What the f— is this? Who ordered this crap? I wouldn’t feed this to my dog.” The statements reportedly made teammates present uncomfortable with one anonymous player claiming Moss “deserved to be cut.”
Moss is wasting his talent. This man could be on a level with Jerry Rice when his career is said and done, but he continues to destroy his legacy with childish behavior. New England would have been the perfect place to end a stellar career. I believe Moss gets bored out on the field. However, growing up watching Jerry Rice and Tim Brown I can’t excuse Moss’s behavior on the field. Taking plays off (i.e not running the route completely) because the ball is not being thrown your way is unacceptable to me. There is such a thing as being a decoy. On field play aside, saying you miss the team you pretty much asked to be traded from is ludicrous.
Iverson has only had one public rant of note (“We Talkin’ About Practice”) and The Answer never took plays off. But he is guilty of not being able to humble himself in the face of old age. After signing with the Memphis Grizzlies, “retiring” and re-signing with his old team the 76ers, Iverson refused to relegate himself to a sixth man role even though he said he would do whatever the team wanted. Therefore the Grizzlies and Pistons sent him packing. Now he has just signed a contract to play in Turkey.
Unlike Allen Iverson’s ordeal in the NBA, some team will claim Moss off waivers. The sad part is it may be a bad team. Will a playoff contender really want to bring in a guy like Moss who easily becomes disinterested during the game? A guy that may hurt team morale? Who won’t eat your food? Moss is a shameful waste of talent at this point.
At least we haven’t heard Terrell Owens complain yet.