Thrilling and maddening, Randy Moss is one of those absurdly gifted athletes whose talent is outweighed only by his foibles: a fragile edifice of sulks, insecurities and grandiosity. Can any team, coach or owner, any fan-base, ever love him enough?
I was psyched when Moss rolled into town. That nearly-legendary season, during which the Pats steamrolled and gamboled their way to 19-0, saw the anticipated pas-de-deux of Brady and Moss blossom into a mad dance of stats smashed.
The numbers probably don’t bear this out, but in my recollections, gilded by the passage of time (and subsequent nostalgia for those glory days), Moss caught every pass Brady threw. No matter how thick the defensive crowd around him, Moss would emerge, leaping gazelle-like into the air and stretching out his fingers — if the ball came even close, it would shiver, tremble, pause and drift gently down into his hand.
He would glide into the endzone, tackling fingers slipping away as if his jersey were made of quicksilver. It was like Moss and Brady were two manifestations of the same intention – they completed each other.
Is anyone surprised that nobody can get a straight answer from Belichick about the need, the timing and the strategy of this trade? Was Moss too expensive, too old, starting to lose his luster?
Was he too contentious, too much the prima donna? To hear Belichick and Moss, in their respective press conferences, tell it, their relationship was more “Newlywed Game” than “Divorce Court.” To understand how rosters are managed and developed to ensure not just current victories but future prospects would take someone far more adept at the calculus of football prognostication than I am.
Like a marriage, ultimately perhaps only the two of them really know the score, and now Moss rolls on to another field, another community of fellow players, coaches, fans and naysayers, to dazzle or disappoint.
In spite of all his high-maintenance antics, I’ll miss him and I wish him well (except against his former team).
And to Rex Ryan, who “thanked” Belichick for the timing of the trade, which will allow Moss to play against the Jets on Monday night: well hey, you’re welcome!