Randy Moss is a dolt.
How else to describe Minnesota's petulant wide receiver? Granted, he is arguably the NFL's most dangerous offensive player, but a man/child who already has tarnished what should have been a brilliant legacy with one moronic display after another?
The last two weeks have seen Moss at his worst, and best, and worst.
The first worst came Dec. 26 in Minnesota's regular season finale against the Redskins when Moss walked to the locker room with two seconds
left in the game. His team was trailing by only three points at the time and
still technically could have won by recovering an onside kick and a Hail
Mary throw -- perhaps even to Moss.
But there went me-first, not-so-dandy Randy trudging toward the locker
room, where he was scolded to his face by Minnesota center Matt Birk, a
Harvard man who saw crimson when he learned what Moss had done.
Moss's best came Sunday in Minnesota's 31-17 first-card playoff
victory over the Green Bay Packers. Moss beat Green Bay cornerback Al
Harris for the game-clinching 34-yard touchdown reception that sealed the
deal for the Vikings and sent them into the second round of the postseason Sunday in Philadelphia.
Then came the worst again, when Moss celebrated that score by sashaying
over to the goalpost, turning his back to the Green Bay crowd and pantomimed
pulling his pants down in the classic mooning gesture. Then he rubbed his
rear end on the padded goal post just for good measure.
In the week before the Green Bay game, Moss had appeared on several
radio and network TV shows to give his spin on his walk-off at FedEx Field. He
sort of apologized, insisting all the while there was some method to his
madness because it somehow took the pressure off his teammates and put the
focus on Moss, allowing them to concentrate on simply winning the game.
Then he said he had promised head coach Mike Tice he was going to make
amends by contributing some big plays for the Vikings against the Packers,
and that he "had his back." Of course, when asked if he thought Tice was the
right man to coach the Vikings, Moss also said maybe he is, and
maybe he's not, he wasnt really sure.
How about that for getting Tice's back.
With a hatchet.
True to his word, Moss did score twice, the second time
while limping on a sprained right ankle. But instead of basking in what
should have been the sweet after-glow of Minnesota's upset victory, Moss
once again added more controversy into the mix with his classless and
The NFL will almost certainly fine him for his vulgar little display,
and if the league really wanted to stop this sort of foolishness once and
for all, they'd suspend him for a game for conduct unbecoming a professional
athlete. That would cost Moss, who earns $5 million a year, big-time in the
wallet, of course. More importantly, perhaps the teammates who constantly come to his defense -- Birk not included -- might not be quite as effusive in their praise of his
juvenile behavior, especially if his absence cost them the game.
In the Minnesota locker room after the upset of the Packers, a friend on
the Vikings administrative staff pulled me aside and shook his head. Could
you imagine a Walter Payton, a Bobby Mitchell, a Lynn Swann trying a stunt
like that, he wondered out loud.
"The problem," he said, "is that we build these guys up to the point
some of them think they can get away with anything. See how he feels if they
make him sit out next week."
That's probably not going to happen. There are, however, definitely some
signs that a few of his teammates are growing weary of Mosss dreadful act.
Birk could only offer a wan smile and a shrug of the shoulders when he said
He's never going to be a model citizen."
Sonny Jurgensen went on the air Monday night in Washington and said what a lot of people around the league may also be thinking. The Hall of Fame quarterback said no matter how talented Moss might be, he wouldn't want to play on the same team with him, wouldn't want him in his
locker room, wouldn't want the distraction.
At the moment, the Vikings have no other choice. He and quarterback
Daunte Culpepper offer the best hope Minnesota has for beating a slightly
rusty Eagles team Sunday. If that does occur and the Vikings advance to
the NFC title game -- nah, can't happen, no way -- one can only imagine what
stunt Moss will have dreamed up for the final seconds of that game.
Then again, perish the thought. The man/child Moss is a dolt. End of
E-mail Leonard Shapiro at firstname.lastname@example.org.