You know, I've gotten a little more active on Twitter recently, and over the course of the past couple of days, I've been reminded of a couple of things. First off. . .man, there are some idiots out there. But more importantly than that, I am reminded of something that I haven't had to think a whole lot about since Randy Moss was traded away from Minnesota in 2005.
There's only one group of fans in professional football that are more passionate than Randy Moss fans. . .and they are Randy Moss haters.
Verily, as soon as it was announced that Randy Moss was coming back to where he started, all of the crap from the past started being flung around by opposing fans. And, you know, I can't say I blame them. . .after all, if I had spent the last few days watching my team fall apart because of injuries (hello, Green Bay) or because of deficiencies in our coaching staff's scheme (hello, Chicago) and saw that one of my team's rivals had brought in the greatest receiver of this generation, I'm sure I'd dredge up as much crap as humanly possible, too. Really, what else would I do in that scenario?
But so much of what the Moss haters have to say about the man is garbage. Pure, simple, unadulterated garbage. So, for the uninitiated or the uninformed, allow me to educate you. You probably won't listen, but I'll lay it out here for you anyway. We'll go through the myths one at a time.Randy Moss was traded from Minnesota because of his behavioral transgressions.
Not true. Not remotely close to true. Randy Moss was traded from Minnesota because Red McCombs was a bitter, jaded old jackass that wanted to kick the sports fans of Minnesota in the teeth on his way out the door because he didn't get the sparkling new stadium he wanted. He threatened to move the team and everything else, and the people of Minnesota, and the state's leadership, couldn't get together on a stadium deal. Knowing that Minnesota was never going to build him a stadium, he set about selling the team to Reggie Fowler (Fowler was later bumped in favor of Wilf in the consortium that collaborated to purchase the team).
Upon getting wind of the rumors of a potential Randy Moss trade, Fowler, and then Wilf, asked McCombs not to do it. But ol' Red had his mind made up. He was going to get rid of Moss, purely and simply out of spite. . .and despite the fact that the sale had been basically agreed to and the new ownership had asked him not to do so, Red knew that there wasn't a damn thing Wilf could do about it. So, on the first day of the free agency period in 2005, Moss was shipped to the Oakland Raiders for the seventh overall pick in the 2005 draft, a seventh-round pick in that same draft, and linebacker Napoleon Harris.
If the Vikings were going to get rid of Randy Moss solely on the basis of his behavior, they would have done so long before they actually did. But they weren't going to get rid of him for that reason. There was never an inkling of sending Randy Moss out of Minnesota until it came time for ol' Red McCombs to sell the team and get the heck out of Dodge. Depending on who you believe, Moss may or may not have called McCombs a "cheap bastard," providing McCombs with the impetus to trade him, but that could also be an embellishment.
Randy Moss is a really, really, bad, terribly, awful, mean, nasty, rotten person.
Ummmmmmmmmmmmm. . .no. See, the great thing about Moss haters is that they get to latch on to all the crap they hear, and manage to forget. . .or straight-up ignore. . .anything else. But, when you're under the impression that your team is comprised of nothing but Boy Scouts that spend their Saturday afternoons helping out at soup kitchens and helping little old ladies cross the street, you'll do those sorts of things. Has Randy Moss been an angel off the field? Nope, he sure hasn't. And guess what? The only people that care. . .are the haters.
Seriously, have you ever seen the list of charitable work that Randy Moss has done? It's pretty damn impressive. Whether it's a charity golf event, a celebrity fishing tournament (which took place in Minnesota after he was traded to Oakland), forming the Links for Learning Foundation (with fellow West Virginian and NBA player Jason Williams) or numerous other works that weren't publicized for various reasons, Randy Moss has brought smiles, levity, and relief to more people that you can possibly count or imagine.
But, as I said, many people will ignore this and simply tell us that Randy Moss is a jerk. Then again, many of these people are fans of a team that currently has a player awaiting trial to see whether or not he'll be spending 20 years in a federal, pound me in the ass prison on drug charges, so maybe they don't have any real standing to be critical of the guy. In fact, they should probably feel free to sit the hell down, shut the hell up, and find themselves a freaking clue. Amazing that, if it wasn't for double standards, some people would have no standards at all.
Randy Moss only plays when he wants to play.
I think this is my favorite Moss myth. Why? Because this is usually the card that Moss haters pull when they don't have anything else left. This declaration is stupid, and it makes the people who say it sound stupid. . .which is usually no big deal, because anybody that would make this declaration is, indeed, stupid.
People want to cite occasions when he jogs off the line or misses blocks or things like that, and that's fine. I understand, haters gotta hate and all that sort of thing. But to suggest Randy Moss doesn't bust his tail on the football field is the pinnacle of ignorance. Disagree? Well, then, let the education continue. . .
Let's start with a list of all of the wide receivers in the history of the National Football League that have caught 150 or more touchdown passes.
And. . .yeah, that's the entire list right there. Not Cris Carter, not Tim Brown, not Terrell Owens, not Marvin Harrison, not Isaac Bruce, not Torry Holt. . .Rice, Moss, done. Pretty hard to imagine that a guy could reel in 151 career touchdown passes without really trying, isn't it? Of course it is. But that doesn't stop your average Randy Moss hater.
Nor does the fact that, in addition to being second all-time in touchdown receptions (and fourth all-time in total touchdowns behind Rice, Emmitt Smith, and LaDanian Tomlinson), Moss is also fifth all-time in receiving yards and tenth all-time in receptions. The top five all-time in receiving yardage looks like this:
-Rice - 22,895 yards (303 career games)
-Owens - 15,325 yards (209 career games)
-Bruce - 15,208 yards (223 career games)
-Brown - 14,934 yards (255 career games)
-Moss - 14,604 yards (189 career games)
Wow. . .for a guy that really doesn't try, he sure does have a lot of receiving yards in not very many games.
Oh, and one other little "gee whiz" sort of thing that might interest some folks. The 2007 New England Patriots scored more points in a season than any team in NFL history, putting 589 points up on the board. The offense they unseated for the title of highest-scoring offense ever was the 1998 Minnesota Vikings, a team that put 556 points on the scoreboard. There's only one player that was a part of both of those offenses.
Go ahead. . .take a second and see if you can guess who it might be. I'll wait.
Ah, never mind, I'll just tell you. . .it's Randy Moss. Shocking, huh? I mean, for a guy that really doesn't try, he sure does have a weird tendency to make the offenses he's a part of better, doesn't he? It's almost as though people have to account for him when he's on the field or something. Man, could you imagine if he actually put an effort forward?
I have to applaud the Moss haters on their passion and their tenacity and all that. But your average Moss hater easily ranks among the most ignorant, uneducated, and misinformed fans in the NFL pantheon. Sure, they're passionate about what they hate, but the overwhelming majority are absolutely, positively clueless as to why.
Oh, well. . .I believe that the Latin phrase that applies here is oderint dum metutant. Loosely translated?
"Let them hate us, so long as they fear us."
And if people aren't scared now. . .rest assured, they're going to be.