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MINNEAPOLIS -- I didn't want to write about this because the whole thing has been beaten into a mushy pulp and frankly, I didn't think there was much to add. I'd planned on giving much-deserved love to Daunte Culpepper, he of the ignored, MVP-ish year. (More on that below; in the blogosphere, fake mooning always leads heartwarming uplift.)
But when Vikings PR maestro Bob Hagan walked into the press room at the team's Eden Prairie, Minn., facility to drop off a two-sentence press release from owner Red McCombs, I just couldn't resist. It seems McCombs had a problem with Fox announcer Joe Buck's review of Randy Moss' faux-mooning touchdown dance last Sunday in Green Bay, which Buck called "a disgusting act."
Read the release: "Minnesota Vikings owner Red McCombs today requested that Fox's Joe Buck be removed from Sunday's divisional-playoff broadcast vs. Philadelphia. McCombs advised Fox that, in his opinion, Joe Buck's comments on Randy Moss suggested a prejudice that surpassed objective reporting."
Understand that McCombs is the same guy who tromped into his team's locker room and ripped his players a year ago, after the Vikings' first loss following a 6-0 start. He's also the one who, during a similarly scorching start this season, expressed to my colleague Mike Silver an interest in moving the team to Los Angeles. The sharpest, shrewdest owner in league history, he's not.
Which is why it kills me to agree with him.
I'm about as far from a Randy Moss apologist as one can be; anybody who quits on his team, as Moss clearly has on several occasions during his career, has earned any contempt and ill will he suffers. Anybody who throws his head coach/chief defender under the bus days before a make-or-break playoff game is an idiot. And walking off the field in Washington with two seconds left and his Vikings still with a slim chance at a miracle win? Totally bush. Absurd. Embarrassing. (And -- say it with me -- not all surprising.)
But dropping ersatz trou in the Lambeau Field end zone following his second touchdown catch of the day, which drove a stake through the soft heart of the fraudulent Packers? Totally not bush. Certainly harmless. And, yeah, kinda funny. (And -- say it with me -- not all surprising.)
Bottom line: People made a far, far bigger deal than they would've otherwise because of what had happened the previous Sunday in D.C.; because Moss was hardly apologetic afterward; and because, over the years, Moss has built an impressive body of work in this area. He has to be the NFL's leading malcontent.
But no saner a voice than Tony Dungy immediately stepped forward to say that he'd seen the dance, found it to be "funny" and offered an alibi -- that Moss was responding to years' worth of actual trou-dropping by Packers fans following games at Lambeau. That was, for me, more than enough. (To say nothing of the fact that Moss had just delivered the knockout punch to his team's biggest rival, a team that has overshadowed the Vikings for decades, one that is covered on a daily basis by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and that has a half-hour Sunday-morning pre-game show that airs in Minneapolis during the regular season. Frankly, if I were Moss, I'd be upset, too.)
For Buck to call Moss's brief show a "disgusting act" was too much. This, from an announcer who's featured as himself in a Budweiser ad campaign (the Leon commercials) in which he blatantly glorifies a me-first pro-athlete caricature who makes Randy Moss look like Red Grange? Come on, Joe. That's a bit inconsistent, yes? Today, an unrelenting Buck said on his radio show, "I just know with the history he's had, and coming off that game at Washington, it was just stunning to see."
Stunning? Maybe. Ill-timed? Probably. Another sign that Moss will never grow up, will never understand that his behavior will cloud his greatness? Oh yeah.
But "a disgusting act"? I just don't see it. After all, with Randy Moss, there's plenty to choose from when it comes to disgusting acts.
This wasn't one of 'em.
Perhaps this is best left to Deion
Submit a comment or question for Josh.
Leave it to Prime Time, on Sporting News radio yesterday, to provide one of the finer Moss-specific analogies ever.
Quoth the Raven: "Randy is ... like a beautiful woman who can't cook, doesn't want to clean and doesn't want to take care of kids. You really don't want her, but she's so beautiful that you can't let her go. That's how Randy is. But Randy, you have to take the good with the bad. Unfortunately, when the bad is bad, it's really bad, but there's so much good, you can look past it."
While we're here ...
A quick shout-out to the unreal season of Vikes QB Culpepper, who had the best year of any mortal quarterback in the NFL. Completing a league-best 69.2 percent of his passes for a league-best 4,717 yards, Culpepper threw 39 TD passes (against just 11 interceptions) and kept his team afloat through Moss' injury-marred year.
Then, in a game that was all but ceded to the Packers, Culpepper totally dominated, strutting into hostile, frozen Lambeau and completing 19-of-29 passes for 279 yards and four scores (and zero picks). A few more years like this, and Culpepper will end up in Canton, and deservedly so.
I love ya, Peter, but ...
I write this from perhaps the sweetest road hotel in NFL history, the well-appointed Le Meridien in downtown Minnie. Beautifully decorated, sleek, comfortable rooms, impeccable service ...and a wall-mounted, 50-inch plasma. Lost has never seemed so terrifying. (And if you've slept on this show, with so many gripping storylines a-weaving that it'll be on for four seasons just to tie 'em all up, you're missing the best non-reality reason to watch network television.)
Earlier this year, my esteemed colleague Peter King waxed similarly poetic about this spot, but took the place to task for its "perfumed soap." Peter, Peter, Peter ... the "perfumed soap" collection is, in fact, a complete collection of Hermes bathroom products. For all of you unclear on the concept, go ask your better half. Trust me. Hermes is nice ... and it smells damn good.
Happy 92nd birthday to Jack Jordan, my grandfather and the greatest man I know.