"It was a rare opportunity for us to be able to take advantage of a guy that's arguably a potential Hall of Fame player, and still, I think, has pretty good tread on the tire. I don't think any of us thought this guy was going to be available." -- Brad Childress, 10/06/10
"Meanwhile, the Vikings sell a little piece of their soul to try and appease Brett Favre, buying him the toy that he wanted so desperately when he was with Green Bay in 2007. The Vikings are now forced to either sign Moss to an extension or brace themselves for the first headphone-clad post game tirade, which by my estimate will probably occur sometime around early to mid-December, when the sand on the Vikings playoffs hourglass is about to run out." -- Me, in Hair Balls, 10/06/10
Turns out I was way off. It only took Randy Moss four weeks to run himself back out of town.
I was in Foxboro yesterday for Randy Moss' return to New England to take on his old teammates. Who knew that when they were peeling Brett Favre's blood-spattered carcass off the mat after Gary Guyton sent him into next week with a hit under the chin that it would be Moss who would be playing his last game as a Minnesota Viking?
But first came the expected (Moss cadillac-ing it through a game the Vkings desperately needed), then came the
somewhat unexpected, Moss conducting his own press conference. No questions, just a rambling soliloquy that ended with this kill shot:
So I am going to go ahead and end this interview. I have my family to see. I am definitely down that we lost this game, because I didn't really expect us to lose this game knowing that we had a few things that we had to clean up. But like I said, they played a good game. I wish we could have had that three at the end of the half. Maybe it could have been different, maybe not. I don't know how many more times I am going to be up here in New England, but I am going to leave the New England Patriots and Coach Belichick here with a salute. I love you guys. I miss you. I'm out.
In one fell swoop, Randy Moss managed to gut-punch his current coach (the wishes for "three at the end of the half" instead of the ill-fated stuff of Adrian Peterson on fourth and goal right before halftime) while paying homage to the coach who just dumped him less than four weeks ago.
If this were Facebook, Moss' presser was basically him posting pictures with his ex-girlfriend with a caption of "I may be with you, but you'll never be like Bill."
At that point, Brad Childress almost had no choice. Childress' mistake wasn't in cutting Moss, it was trading for him in the first place.
Conventional wisdom said that when the Patriots unloaded Moss before the trade deadline for the Vikings third-round pick in next spring's draft that Minnesota would benefit in the near term and the Patriots' payoff -- albeit at 60 cents on the dollar -- would come down the road. Moss would give Brett Favre another toy with which he could stretch the field in 2010, and the Patriots would get a young, hopefully capable body in 2011.
My personal wisdom said that the trade would be a backward step for both teams -- the Patriots essentially forfeiting their only real downfield weapon (a crucial need to open up things for running backs and Wes Welker) and the Vikings chasing one deal with the devil with an even worse deal with an even worse devil.
Sunday in Foxboro, we got our first real referendum on the topic -- turns out we were both wrong.
The Vikings are a mess; the Patriots are just fine, thank you. But should we really be surprised?
Belichick has built the Patriots on a "whole is greater than the sum of the parts" foundation since 2001, the polar opposite of the "quick fix" work environment that Childress and the Vikings succumbed to the second Childress put the keys in the ignition to go pick up Favre at the airport.
The dichotomy of these two teams could be seen in the skill players -- the Vikings struggling to put 18 points on the board with former first- and second-round picks dotting the backfield (Peterson, Gerhart) and the receiving corps (Moss, Harvin) and a future Hall of Famer at quarterback, while the Patriots pounded the ball all day with undrafted free agents in the backfield (Benjarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead) and guys who've had to earn it at wide receiver (Welker, Branch, Tate).
The final score was merely a symbol of the mess the Vikings have become on Childress' watch. And it would have been bad even before they essentially turned Randy Moss into an incredibly expensive timeshare earlier today.
Between questionable strategy, head-scratching tactics, and a complete loss of confidence from his players and the fans, Childress strung together a head coaching 24 hours that would have Rich Kotite nodding his head in approval. (And sadly for Notre Dame fans, Brian Kelly's day on Saturday doesn't even make it the worst coaching day of the weekend. Another topic for another time.)
So where does Moss go from here? Lovers of irony are praying that he slips all the way through the waiver process and winds up a Patriot again, if for no other reason than it would give Rockets general manager Daryl Morey a new Jedi mind trick to shoot for. (I can see Morey now plotting a way to somehow send an extension-starved Aaron Brooks to the Timberwolves for a first-round pick and then wait for David Kahn to cut him after two weeks when he realizes he already has six point guards on the roster.)
More likely, Moss will wind up with a middle of the pack team who still has playoff aspirations. He's still got too much in the tank to fall all the way to the Pats, or hell, even the Texans. And therein lies the conundrum that is Randy Moss -- he still has enough left to allow the temptations of some team to take over.
When the trade to Minnesota went down, I said this:
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The Patriots had the wherewithal to rein in Moss, it was just a matter of how long they would do it before it was no longer worth it. The Vikings are a different story. The superstar bullshit that Bill Belichick, Serial Killer won't stand for, Brad Childress inadvertently and implicitly encourages. If you don't believe me, then go Google "Brad Childress Brett Favre."
Indeed, this may be one of the rare trades where both teams actually are worse off now than they were before.
Randy Moss again making the impossible look easy.
I couldn't have been more wrong about the Patriots being worse off.
The Vikings? Not so much.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 3-7 p.m. weekdays on the "Sean & John Show" and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.