Post by Funkytown on Nov 11, 2014 22:56:21 GMT -6
Moss and Iverson left their mark for a lot of reasons, but for me it was pretty simple. They both hit the mainstream just as I turned 10 and 11 years old. Sports will never be as cool as they are when you are 10 or 11. Whatever athletes are dominating then will stick with you for your entire life. Some people grew up with Bird and Magic and the ’80s Niners, and others grew up with MJ and the ’90s Cowboys, but when I was growing up, Iverson was taking over the NBA one crossover at a time and Moss was gliding through helpless secondaries in the NFL.
It still makes me mad, 15 years later. A Super Bowl run for the Vikings would have been the perfect ending to the most amazing season I’ve ever seen from a football player.
In the following seasons, Randall Cunningham turned into Daunte Culpepper, Robert Smith retired, and Cris Carter followed a few years after that. There wasn’t as much winning, but just as much Moss being completely ridiculous. Eventually things went bad in Minnesota, partly because of Moss. He would openly admit to taking plays off, he squirted a ref with a Gatorade bottle, he got involved in an altercation with a traffic cop, he mooned the Lambeau Field crowd and nearly gave Joe Buck a seizure. That’s when he got fined and promised to pay in “straight cash, homey,” pissing off the dads of America a little more.
There’s a moment near the beginning of Rand University when a reporter is describing high school Moss. “Now, it’s a kind of terminology,” he says. “A lot of people call an athlete a ‘freak.’ Well, he was the first one.”
He’s also probably the last one. At least for a long time.
Every few years, there’s a new receiver who can do everything. Big, fast, and immediately compared to Randy Moss. Sometimes this looks ridiculous in hindsight (Charles Rogers, Roy Williams, Braylon Edwards), and sometimes it almost works (Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green, Dez Bryant). They all have their moments, but none of them had moments like Moss did. At his best, he could demoralize entire teams.
There may have been better players than Moss, but nobody ever made football look easier. He could run through defenses designed to break him in half, and run 10 yards past coverage designed to keep him from going over the top. He was faster than anyone in the league, but he never looked like he was going full speed. He could catch anything, outjump anyone, and when he was pissed, he played better.
All of that is why my inner 11-year-old wanted the perfect ending for him until I was about 25. A Super Bowl to quiet all the critics, going out as a hero in Minnesota, etc. He deserved all of it.
He’s still funny, he’s got his money, and he’s got nothing left to prove. He comes by his mistakes honestly, but he doesn’t seem to have many regrets as he lives out retirement. As the years pass and imitations come and go, this only gets more enjoyable.
Randy Moss the player wrecked the whole league from day one, but it turns out that Randy Moss the person was just as awesome by the time he was done. It’s not a bad ending.
Read the rest here: There Will Never Be Another Randy Moss