Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Randy Moss: The Weirdest Ever

Illustration for article titled Randy Moss: The Weirdest Ever

Randy Moss is the most dangerous receiver to ever play in the NFL and the single most exciting player that ever played for my favorite team, Adrian Peterson included. He also happened to be the weirdest person ever to step onto a football field.


The greatest athletes of all time are the ones who were not only the most talented people on the field, but also the most passionate. It's rare when that sort of thing happens, and when it does, you get the likes of Jordan and Tiger Woods, athletes who get every last drop out of the oceans of talent that they possess. Most athletes aren't this way. You usually get athletes like LeBron James, who is the most talented basketball player in the world, but also a moron who dedicates more time to his personal brand than to the game he plays. Or you get the David Ecksteins, scrappity scrap scrappers who aren't really all that talented and are adored by white sportswriters as a result. Or you get athletes who fall in the middle, who are both very talented and very dedicated, but not quite as talented as the supernovas of their respective sport.

Moss was a supernova. If he wanted to, he probably could have had a 2,500-yard season. It seemed like it would happen after his rookie year. That always happens with athletes who have great rookie years. They kick ass and then you're like, "Well, he's just a rookie! With some experience, he could easily TRIPLE those numbers!" And that, of course, never ever happens. Moss was an otherworldly talent who loved the game only when he saw fit to love it. He's not unlike Bobby Fischer, or some other chess prodigy who, when focused, loves and understands the game better than anyone in the world, but just as easily falls into indifference with the game when it bores or angers him. Moss could be aggressively indifferent on the football field, and the odd thing about him was that there was never much rhyme or reason to when it happened. He quit on the Vikings in the 2000 NFC title game, a time when you would assume a flighty athlete would try to focus. He blew up at the Patriots in the middle of a contract year, when the average turd is usually a good soldier. He wasn't necessarily a lazy player. He was just a RANDOM one, and that randomness was something he often used as a strategy to beat sleeping defensive backs. Other times, DBs wouldn't bite and that strategic indifference would become REAL indifference. And that switch could happen dozens of times during just one game.

There are plenty of people who don't think Moss will actually retire, but that's because they're so used to the likes of Favre retiring and unretiring five hundred times. Moss, on the other hand, is a completely different kind of person. He doesn't really have any friends. He's never, to my knowledge, made any public appearances outside of football games. He doesn't go to clubs. He doesn't produce records. He isn't on Twitter. He's a hermit who doesn't much care for other people. You know how when Brett Favre retires every summer and suckers like Peter King are like, "HE'LL DISAPPEAR INTO THE WOODS AND YOU'LL NEVER HEAR FROM HIM AGAIN!" Yeah well, that's not true of Favre, but it is true of Moss. He's not coming back, and who knows if he'll even bother to show up to Canton to accept his Hall of Fame bust (and he is a Hall of Famer).

I wish he'd been a more passionate player all the time, but some people simply aren't wired that way. His passion never matched his talent and maybe it never could, because that's asking too much of one human being. You can't force someone to love the game all the time if they don't, and Randy Moss perfectly embodies the frustration of that endeavor. No one could convince Moss that the game was ALWAYS worthy of him. Only he knew when it was, and he'll never explain why.