My immediate reaction upon seeing news of the trade was reservation. Well, not quite... since Moss' most likely word-association-game hits are "lazy," "selfish," "underachieving," "mari-ja-wana," and "quitter," my very first reaction was the word "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO," give or take a few O's. But ten minutes later, not only was I on board, I
From a football perspective, there is no questioning this deal. Moss is the best deep ball receiver in NFL history. He's tall, he's fast (rumors aswirl that he posted a 4.29 40 time for Bill Belichick over the weekend), he's got great hands, and he's got perfect field presence. Even when he's half-assing it, which is frequently, he still commands double-teams. He's never failed for a talented quarterback, and I don't see that being any different with Brady.
Further, there's no pressure. The media will manufacture some, but I doubt we're going to see anyone bitching that losses are, somehow, Moss' fault. Which is great for Moss. All the hard work has been done, so he just has to catch balls and cash in next offseason. Everybody wins.
The part that pisses off so many people is his character. He is definitely pretty weak in that regard. He's been a guy whose play on the field is a direct reflection of his happiness off the field. He appears unwilling to elevate bad teammates. He's admitted to taking it easy on occasion. He's far from the prototypical superstar, at least in terms of his persona and aura. And that makes people crazy.
But that's basically the "if I were making $X million, I would stop smoking weed" line of thought. Yeah, sure you would. He's being judged against potential more than reality. They see that he breaks records while half-assing it, and wonder why he's not doing more. That's all well and good, but that's pretty unfair. He seems to be doing just fine without behaving himself like a librarian.
I also think a lot of the flak he catches comes from losing, from being on bad teams. That's not going to be a problem anymore. Will he need to STFU? Absolutely. Will his petulant, immature tendencies be tolerated? Absolutely not. But he doesn't need to find Jesus, he doesn't need to see therapists, and he doesn't even need to give up weed. He's got nothing to publicly apologize for, like a DUI or a sexual assault or something really serious like that.
In fact, when I refreshed my memory this afternoon, I was surprised by how little indefensible stuff he's done. It's mostly just weed and laziness. If I may put on my apologist's hat and recap his transgressions:
- Beat up a racist West Virginian piece of shit. Give his ass a damn medal.
- Hits from the bongggggg! Right, who cares?
- Admitted to playing lazy on occasion. Which makes him candid more than evil.
- Won a bizarre showdown with a meter-maid who thought she was a lady cop. He wanted to pull a U-ie, she got in front of him. The meter maid was actually disciplined for her role in the ordeal. Nobody looked good here, but this is the worst thing on the list, and it's pretty much inconsequential.
- Pretended to moon a bunch of fans who did some actual mooning three hours earlier.
- Squirted water on a ref. Anyone really think the referee is totally innocent?
- Quit on the Vikings and Raiders and stopped performing at his best. (Which makes him... a Viking and Raider.) The infamous Redskins game became a media problem more than anything.
Let's also recognize that Moss has never, ever played for a real football team. How can any of us predict what Moss will do for a guy like Bill Belichick, and a franchise like the Patriots, when he's never been in anything remotely close to that context? Maybe he'll take to one of the NFL's model franchise like a horse to water. We don't know, but we do know he finished an answer in yesterday's press conference by saying "I can't believe I'm a Patriot," after having given up about $18 million worth of contract to make the deal happen. Does that sound like the prototypical narcissistic malcontent to you? I know better than to put too much stock in media quotes, but Moss has never been much of a bullshitter. In fact, it's his candor that has helped get him into so much trouble so often.
The worst you can say is that he should know better than to let the media get involved in his stupid shit. Not only can you say that about EVERY football player caught doing anything, but the Pats have already locked down the media in New England. Unless he does some stage-diving, Moss is safe. Like the on-field issues, the Pats have that stuff taken care of on their own. So I'm not worried about that.
In conclusion, this looks like the ideal situation for everyone. Randy Moss gets one more chance to stick it in America's face, and I suspect Randy Moss wants to do that as much as I want to see it. Hence my optimism. Look out below, bitches.