September 30, 2016

Modus OpeRandy

logoby Dan Snapp
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“It’s just not right,” my brother said. “Other guys that have left, I was happy for them when they found success. But I just can’t bring myself to root for Randy. It doesn’t seem fair he can quit his way onto a winning team.”

It’s not an uncommon sentiment among Viking fans like my brother. In their minds, Randy Moss quit on the Vikings, he quit on the Raiders, yet now he’s being rewarded. Like my brother said, it doesn’t seem fair.

So how come he’s won us over?  

I knew I’d love the player. Art Shell’s objections aside, everyone recognized Moss was still a game-breaking talent. And he had every incentive to work hard and keep his nose clean: a chance to revive his career, a chance at winning a ring, and a chance at a stats bonanza catching passes from the league’s top quarterback, and all just in time for his last big payday.

For one year, we believed, Moss’s selfish agenda aligned perfectly with the Patriots’ team agenda.

The Pats got him on the cheapo one-year loan, and when the time came to collect his payoff – hopefully long after the Pats won their fourth title – he’d be somebody else’s property, somebody else’s bloated contract,  and somebody else’s problem when things would eventually get ugly. That was the plan, anyway.

Back in May, the Patriots Daily Roundtable predicted Moss would be one and done. We bought into the old Moss stereotypes: quitting on the team, the concern only with stats and money, and the character issues. At the time, I labeled him a “Class-A jerk.” 

But from the start, Moss showed he really wanted to be part of this team. He called himself “The second-best receiver out of Marshall” in deference to Troy Brown. He participated in the offseason workouts, though not contractually bound to do so. Though barely knowing the man, he accompanied the team for Marquise Hill’s funeral.

In the few interviews to which he agreed, he was cautious, yet open.

“You know me,” he said early on, “I’m the same as I always was,” a confirmation for many that Old Randy was right around the corner.

Say, whatever happened to Old Randy, anyway?

Somewhere along the way, Moss became the consummate Patriot: smart, hard-working, involved, loving football, and most importantly, focused on winning. He’s been content when the ball was coming his way in bushels, and content when it wasn’t – one of the supposed keys to keeping Randy happy.

Even Terrell Owens’ blatant baiting couldn’t coax Moss out of his happy place:

“I don’t really get into that. I just wanted to come out there and do what I could to help my team win this game. I didn’t really want to really feed off what he was saying or the hype of a game between two 81s. I have a job to do, that’s to go out there and try to catch touchdowns, and get first downs, and that’s what I tried to do today.”

In hindsight, it’s little wonder Randy Moss and Bill Belichick connected.

They’re both prodigious talents, sharing a deep understanding of and love of the game, and they both profess to wanting to win above all else. Neither suffers fools lightly, and so share a healthy mistrust of the media. The media returns the mistrust in kind, always suspecting ulterior motives over the plain truth of what they say.

They’re kindred spirits.

When Moss broke his months-long media silence, it wasn’t to fire back at Owens. It was to lavish praise upon his quarterback and coach, and to marvel at the Patriots’ method of doing business.

“I enjoy it. I come to work every day, I love seeing the guys, love the camaraderie in the locker room and going out there to practice every day. We have fun. But at the same time, you all have heard about the humble pie. Coach Belichick has a tight grasp on us; he doesn’t let us get too ahead of ourselves. At the same time, he lets us enjoy what we’re doing.”

Sounds like a happy man. One who might be sticking around a while.

Legend has it Old Randy rears up when his team starts losing. But come on, when’s that likely to happen?

Comments

  1. For a fourth round draft pick.

  2. Moss has learned what other “misfits” have when they don a Pat’s jersey after tumultuous turns with other teams. Bill Bellichick is the Father Flanagan of the NFL, the abrasive, tough-love priest of Boys Town who turns misguided boys into focused men. Spencer Tracey, playing Flanagan in the 1938 flick, says to Whitey Marsh, played by Mickey Rooney, “In a pinch boy I can be tougher than you and I’d say this is a pinch.”
    Moss, like others before him, was in a professional pinch, playing the part of the scruffy, mouthy malcontent the media loved to malign. In Bellichick’s boys town, it’s no surprise Moss cleaned up his act and began to worship football in chorus with the others. It’s often been said that Bill has a way of getting the most out of sub-star talent, because everyone buys into Bill’s gospel of team first and team always. Moss is deserving his time in the sun, despite past transgressions. He’s seen the light, the one glinting off the Lombardy Trophy so very close to his grasp now. And he’s well aware of the One who is guiding him to that promised land.

  3. Professor Frink says:

    I think one thing that hasn’t really been touched on is how smart Moss is. I heard on CBS Tom Brady said Moss is the smartest player he is ever played with, and Belichick constantly talks about what a smart player he is.

    Maybe he acted out before because he was frustrated working with people who had below average football IQs. Art Shell, Mike Tice, Denny Green, Daunte Culpepper, and Aaron Brooks, not exactly a mensa society.

  4. David Clemeno says:

    Loving the Moss era so far. As Dan pointed out, he’s done everything you’d want from a conscientous, team first player. Will it ever change? Who knows, who cares. If it does, the situation will be dealt with then. Right now Moss is MORE than we had expected.

    BTW, the past couple of weeks he’s been doubled to death; hence he’s had rather pedestrian numbers by his standards. Stallworth, Welker and Watson have benefitted greatly by the attention paid to Moss. I’d be looking for opposing defenses to start trying to pay more attention to the other guys now, so what does that mean? I’m betting Moss has a few more Wow-can-you-believe-he-just-did-that days ahead.

    As a Pats guy from ’63, I’m still in awe of these golden days since BB got here. Enjoy every second of it while it’s happening folks; it will never get better than we have it now.

  5. Can we change the name of this column to “Oh Snapp!”

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