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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

And on the 5th Night In October...


Maybe it was because I had been so immersed in '4 Nights In October' (pretty much my thoughts, especially RE: the beers of Simmons & Clarke), but it took me a second to even put together what "Moss for a 3rd rounder" even meant.  Here I was, watching Billy Mueller and Big Papi battle it out with Reuben Sierra and Paul Quantrill.  Who was this, 'Moss', that was just traded?...


This guy?!??!
Then, a mere seconds later, when it all came into focus, when I was able to read both the concern and the surprise in my messenger's face, the cascade of emotions began in full.  Mostly a repetition of the questions "What?" and "WHY!?", and me furiously checking my Twitter account to get as many new details as were available.  But cascading emotions nonetheless.  Oh and a quick side note: Twitter DOMINATES when it comes to breaking news.  If you don't have Twitter, you're more than likely at least 15 minutes, and probably about 140 characters behind...

But once I got a relative handle on the situation, and more or less learned all the broad strokes, I immediately recognized the questions I was asking myself as ones that were NEVER going to be given a definitive answer.  We will never really know why Randy Moss was traded to the Vikings 4 weeks into the 2010 season.  that's just how these things work.  Both sides will have their version of the events, and since we weren't there, we'll never really know for certain.  We'll pick sides, naturally, but that doesn't mean we'll ever have all the facts we really need to come to an educated conclusion...

That being the case,  I figure this whole mess is ripe for some proper speculation.  And seeing as I fancy myself quite the amateur speculator, this seems like a great chance for me to hone my skills.  So let's see what I got.  GO!

OK.  Here's the long and short of it.  Randy Moss let his insecurity get the best of him, and it abruptly ended his relationship with the New England Patriots.  It's really that simple...except of course for the fact that it's not...

A lot of people, especially those outside of New England (and Mike Felger), will say this is what the Patriots signed up for when they brought Randy Moss in.  OK, fine.  I totally get that.  I just don't necessarily buy it.  To me, it's more the case of a broken clock being right twice a day.  Sure, he shot his way out of town like many predicted he would, but I think it took a real unique situation this time for him to do it...


That situation, is the upcoming labor uncertainty, and the possibility of no football in 2011.  And let me make that perfectly clear, right now.  If there were a collective bargaining agreement in place for next season, Randy Moss would not have demanded a trade.  That's obviously not a fact, but that is definitely how I feel...

If he enters this off season with no contract, he then has to risk trying to get one a full year later, when obviously he will be a full year older.  And you know what, I bet the thought of that was probably keeping him up nights, giving him stomach pains, and effecting his play.  I'm not conceding that as an excuse as to why you shouldn't honor your contract, but just the way this thing is unfolding, it really seems to me that this was a situation that was dominating his life.  I know he's got millions and millions of dollars, but for whatever reason, either legitimate or paranoid, he felt he needed to get a new deal now in order to restore order in his life.  If the labor situation in the NFL weren't in it's current state of unrest, I think Randy would feel much more comfortable playing it out and becoming a free agent at the end of the year.  The argument could be made that he felt his lack of looks was going to deflate his eventual value, but seeing as he requested the trade in week 1, I don't view that as a likely scenario, either.  Simply, he was so insecure, that he needed guaranteed security.  And if the Patriots weren't going to give it to him, then he needed to get out.  Not because he wasn't getting enough looks or enough love, but mostly because he wasn't getting the piece of mind he desired.  The guaranteed money.  With a trade, he knew he'd have the leverage to get exactly that.  And he was right...

So, now that we have a handle as to why Randy wanted to leave, let's take a gander as to why the Patriots caved to his demands...

It seems pretty clear now, judging by what's out there, that Randy Moss instructed his people in week 1 to tell the Patriots he wished to be traded.  That makes perfect sense to me, as I wrote at the time I felt he viewed week 1 as a personal deadline, so I'm gonna go ahead and more or less assume that's a fact...

So, were the Patriots diligently trying to trade him since then, or was there something that sped the process up?  Well, right now, it all points to the latter.  Problem is, that's always the case.  Call it a smear campaign, call it whatever you want, this is just he way things work.  It happened with Manny, it happened with Nomar, it happens whenever a controversial star gets moved from a major market.  But if I had to put my amateur speculators hat on, I'd say Randy's increasingly bad attitude led to the Patriots accelerating their attempts to get him dealt.  Maybe even to the point where they decided they needed to do it during their bye week...

Now, do I think any one incident pushed the Pats over the edge?  Like when Manny assaulted that elderly guy?  No, I don't.  All the stories of his feud with O'Brein at halftime or shouting "Let's go to war!" during the National Anthem, those are at best logs on the fire, not the straw that broke the camels back.  A fine line, maybe, but I guess I'm just clarifying that I don't think there was one event that led them to do it.  I'd liken it more to when you're holding something together with duct tape, and eventually you just have to break down and throw it out...

I'm not saying that Randy Moss was a constant distraction or disturbance, and I'm definitely NOT saying he consistently dogged it on the field.  Did he give less than maximum effort at times?  Of course!  But that's part of what you get with Randy Moss.  We knew that going in.  And I get that a lot of people were unwilling to accept that, so they never gave the guy a chance, but I just more or less chalk that up to the enigmatic nature of professional athletes.  Now did he dog it more often than not?  Hell no.  And I know a lot of his critics will point to his lackluster post season results as a prime example of that, but I've still yet to wrap my brain around how that could make any sense.  How could a guy at the same time want to always be going for top dollar, yet purposefully not performing well in games he know will garner him the maximum future income?  That's just one I'll never understand...

Randy Moss at his week 1 post game press conference

I believe Randy Moss was a good citizen in Foxboro right up until the kickoff of week 1.  I believe when he was in a Patriots uniform, he did exactly what he was paid to do.  Then, a particular situation made him really insecure, and he decided he needed to take drastic measures.  And when he took those measures, he forced the Patirots hand.  I know, a lot of you will have read what I just wrote and think "that's exactly what happened in Oakland in Minnesota!!"  And there's a lot of merit to that, it just doesn't happen to be an opinion I share.  I don't think Randy wanted to leave, I think Randy convinced himself that he needed to leave.  It was then, and only then, that he started to become a problem.  More or less, it's his insecurities that got to him.  In Minnesota and Oakland, he shot his way out of town because he didn't like the way things were being run.  In New England, he shot his way out of town because he was worried about his future.  That doesn't give him a pass, because he and his people should have had a better handle on the situation, but it helps to put it in perspective...

So all in all, I think to paint this whole situation as "typical Randy Moss" doesn't do the big picture justice.  The outcome may have been predictable, but it took a really unique situation to force him to resort to his "typical" tactics.  Maybe that's wishful thinking on my part, not wanting to admit Bill Belichick and the almighty Pats fell a sucker bet.  But right now, based on the facts we have, that's my take on it...

How will the Patriots react to this move?  How will Moss finish out the season?  How many days will it take until ESPN's Tom Jackson says the Patriots hate their coach?  These are story lines I'd rather watch play out than they are questions I'd like to answer.  This much is certain, I'll be here to chat about it as it all unfolds.  And if everything goes right, I'll be able to make a bunch of good Tavaris Jackson jokes...     

So adios, Randy.  Wish things could have worked out better than they did, but such is life.  Good luck battling your demons, man.  And I'd wish you luck on the field, only I don't think you need it...

I hope you get all the straight cash you need, homie, and I hope that in the long run you find the type of success and comfort that it appears you're looking to achieve.  Oh, and if you score a few TDs against the Jets on Monday Night, that'll go a long way towards getting back on my good side, too....

Catch you Friday, kids...


Teddy Williams...
100...

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