Super Bowl Snap Judgments
Moss mouths off -- in a good way -- during media day
Posted: Tuesday January 29, 2008 6:53PM; Updated: Wednesday January 30, 2008 1:57AM
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Got a confession to make here in the desert: I love listening to Randy Moss talk. I have since the day the Vikings drafted him in 1998, when I first heard his trademark West Virginia drawl over a scratchy speaker phone in the Vikings press room.
For a guy who quite fairly built a reputation for saying some pretty outrageous stuff -- "I play when I want to play'' -- Moss has always struck me as a pretty thoughtful soul, capable of giving you both an intelligent response and a memorable quote in the same answer. My own personal list of NFL players who can produce those simultaneously is probably a lot shorter than you might think. You could count them on two hands.
I actually find myself agreeing with what Moss says most times, and there's something about the way he phrases things that consistently makes me laugh. Like the way he famously summed up Minnesota's humiliating 41-0 loss to the Giants in the 2000 NFC title game: "Man, 41 to doughnut. I don't know if I've ever been a part of something like 41 to doughnut.''
So with Tuesday being Super Bowl media day, I naturally made a bee-line to Moss's podium at the beginning of the Patriots' hour-long interview session. This was a moment nearly 10 years in the making for Moss, and I couldn't wait to hear his perspective on his long, strange trip to the NFL's grandest stage. To no great surprise, it did not evolve into a one-on-one interview. There were probably 120 or so other reporter types there waiting for Moss along with me.
No matter. Moss didn't disappoint. Not for a second. Here are my favorite pearls of Moss-ian media day wisdom, culled from 20 minutes or so of listening to him hold court. Tell me you don't think the guy thinks before he entertainingly talks:
-- On his feelings about not getting thrown the ball much in the playoffs, where he has just two catches in New England's two games: "The last couple weeks they've been double and somewhat triple covering me, and it was up to the other guys to make things happen.
"It's playoff time. Earlier in my career, I would have gone over there and voiced my opinion on certain plays and certain ways to get open, but now I've got younger guys such as (Wes) Welker, (Jabar) Gaffney, and (Donte') Stallworth, their bodies and their legs are a little bit fresher than mine. I definitely don't have a problem with what they're doing.''
-- On his increased maturity level in his 10th NFL season: "When I was young, the way I approached the game, I was very angry. Not at anyone particular, but just the game of football. Now I still carry that same chip on my shoulder (from being passed over by 20 teams in the 1998 draft), but now I do understand because I'm a little bit older.''
-- Moss is a potential free agent after the season ends, but he makes no bones about wanting to re-sign with the Patriots: "I'm still living a dream. I never thought I'd be a New England Patriot. I would love to finish my career as a New England Patriot. They have everything that you want in a football organization. From the top all the way to the bottom.''
-- Moss's take on the Patriots' chance to make history is a totally unique one. He actually recalled for us his childhood memory of watching the coverage of the Challenger space shuttle disaster, referencing Christa McAuliffe, the school teacher in space who died in that tragedy. I know it sounds like an insensitive comparison to make, but out of Moss's mouth, it some how didn't play that way.
"I think (19-0) would be big, because in this modern-day era, the older you are, the more historical moments you live to see. I can remember the first historical moment -- and it was a tragedy, but it was historical to me -- back when I was in elementary school and the space shuttle (blew up) with Christa McAuliffe.
"I still remember to this day how it affected me. So to live history, and I'm a little bit older now, and to be on the verge of making history, it's something special. Hopefully it's something that my kids and generations to come will cherish.''
-- On his failed two-year tenure in Oakland: "I'm a football player. That's what I do. Things weren't really going as I expected them to go. The expectations of the team were very high, but a lot of things got in the way. Football wasn't the priority around there any more. The team concept was kind of screwed up in Oakland.''
-- On finally reaching the Super Bowl: "Before I retired, I wanted the opportunity to play on this stage. Just playing in the Super Bowl. I wanted to be on this stage, to play the big game, the last game of the season. I'm set to come out here and show the world what I really got.''
-- Asked about his head coach, Bill Belichick, Moss turned in his best Moss-speak of the day: "Me and Coach Belichick, it's more a mental bond. We don't really conversate.''
Count me as glad that Moss conversated with the media on Tuesday, the Super Bowl's annual talk-fest. I think I could listen to the guy all day. His reputation says his mouth tends to get him in trouble. But I think it's actually one of the strongest parts of his game.