Randy Moss, the talented albeit very troubled wide receiver formerly of both the Vikings and the New England Patriots is now playing with the Tennessee Titans. New England divested themselves of Randy in a somewhat extraordinary in-season trade to the Vikings who then placed Moss on waivers at which point fourteen other NFL teams decided that Randy couldn’t help them. Randy has now burned his way through half the NFL teams out there and probably won’t make it through the season in Tennessee. Unfortunately for Titan Fans, Randy’s immense albeit dwindling talent simply cannot surmount Randy’s shenanigans both on and off the field. At 33, Moss while still a capable wide receiver, is not nearly as talented as he once was, has a reputation for not playing every down, appears to have a continuing life long flirtation with Marijuana, and an uncanny ability to detrimentally shoot his mouth off frequently and in the most inopportune circumstances. Off the field, the violence prone Moss has racked up the kind of arrest record that would be the envy of an average street gang member…. And that’s just the stuff we know about.
Moss, who many believe has the kind of career stats worthy of the Football Hall of Fame is quite possibly the most disruptive and under-achieving diva to ever wear the uniform of a professional football player. Given the spin doctors and PR folks surrounding the average NFL team, one can only imagine all the crap Moss has stepped in and was quietly extricated from by those who make a living keeping the likes of Moss out of trouble.
Moss’ demons have been a part of the package since high school. Arguably one of the best high school football players to ever come out of West Virginia, Moss was awarded a scholarship to play for Lou Holtz at Notre Dame; at the time, one of the premier College football programs in the country. On March 23, 1995, just prior to his high school graduation, the six foot five inch, 200 pound Moss and a friend beat another student senseless purportedly after the student made some racial remarks to Moss's friend. National Newspapers reported that the fellow student was hospitalized with "Serious" injuries to his spleen, kidney and head trauma. According to witnesses, the injuries were inflicted on the student as he lay defenseless on the floor.
On August 2, 1995, Moss entered a plea of guilty to the lesser charge of battery. Moss’ involvement, originally a felony was reduced to misdemeanor battery but the seriousness of the attack meant that Moss could not avoid a jail sentence. Moss was accorded some very special treatment in his sentencing and the 30 day jail sentence was a mere slap on the wrist. Moss served three days with the remaining 27 days to be served sometime in the next 18 months. Notre Dame immediately rescinded Moss’ scholarship.
In the late spring of 1995, Bobby Bowden at Florida State University decided to take a chance on Moss and awarded Moss a second NCAA Division one football scholarship. What actually happened to Moss’ scholarship at Notre Dame is somewhat sketchy but the NCAA decided Moss had to be treated as a transfer student and as such, he was red-shirted at FSU and did not play in the 1995 season.
In the spring of 1996, without playing a single down of college football and on his way to serve the remaining part of his prison term for the beating he had administered to that fellow high school student in 1995, Moss apparently decided to smoke a couple of doobies.... on his way to jail! Apparently, Moss lacked both the intelligence and common sense to realize that inmates on probation are tested for drugs when admitted to jail. Can't fault Moss' attorney as he would have no reason to suspect Moss was that dumb. In Moss' defense, he had only been in jail once before. Long story short: Moss tested positive for marijuana which resulted in an immediate 60 days tacked on to his current sentence for violating his parole. FSU revoked his scholarship but on the plus side, Randy decided to start a family with his then current girlfriend. Moss was now “oh” for life and the proud father of a baby girl. Three kids later and Moss still hasn’t married his girlfriend.
Moss, demonstrating his trademark lack of intelligence and the maturity level of a spoiled kindergartener was presented another chance: Marshall University in his home state of West Virginia. For the first time in about two years, Randy Moss managed to actually play football and by all accounts he was fantastic… playing Division 1-AA football... in West Virginia, playing with quarterback Chad Pennington. Moss set a number of college records including most catches by a wide receiver with a prison record, most touchdowns by a receiver on probation, and the record for yards after catch by a player who tested positive for marijuana. While at Marshall, Randy did work in another arrest for domestic violence after a confrontation with his ex-girlfriend a.k.a. the mother of his daughter. Seems Moss dropped his daughter off at his then ex-girlfriends house while driving the car of his then current girlfriend.
The NFL did take notice of Moss but the scouting reports were clear: Moss was talented but “Troubled”. Moss retaliated by skipping the scouting combine which sent his stock plummeting. The Dallas Cowboys undeterred with Moss’s off field problems were initially poised to draft the hapless Moss but found themselves embroiled in other off field issues with Michael Irvin. Dallas fearing another public relations nightmare passed up Moss in the 1998 NFL draft. It was, in the final analysis, the excess baggage Moss brought to the table that resulted in Dallas passing over Moss. Once again, Moss’ immense talent couldn’t transcend his self-destructive nature and again, without playing a down of football and nearly falling from the first round of the NFL draft, Moss started his NFL career with the Vikings.
As to his NFL Career, it is hard to say how good Randy Moss actually could have been. Moss has a well documented history of doing what Randy Moss wants to do and this might have been overlooked in a twenty-five year old phenom but it is poor form for an aging receiver with his best years behind him. And frankly, Moss' "career" is not worthy of the hall of fame. While this will be unpopular with Randy’s fans, Randy holds few NFL "career" records indicative of a Hall of fame career. In fact, a number of receivers in the game today currently are accumulating stats that will probably eclipse Moss’ career statistics. Randy quits on a lot of balls, Randy doesn’t play every down which means Randy is never open when a scrambling quarterback looks back in his direction. Randy isn’t the receiver who “works his way open”, preferring instead to invest his efforts in those plays designed specifically to get the ball to him and providing Randy the best seat in the house on all others.
When all is said and done, the self destructive nature of Randy Moss will be the thing that keeps Moss out of the Hall of fame. This year, two NFL quarterbacks are on pace to break some of Dan Marino’s passing records and a number of receivers are having “good” years. While Moss had a few great years, the hall of fame is about consistency over a career. If Moss makes it another three years, he will then have to wait an additional five years to be eligible for Hall of fame balloting. By that time, in all likelihood, there will be a number of NFL receivers approaching or surpassing Moss’ numbers which will not bode well for his HOF aspirations. Lacking impeccable career statistics, Randy's HOF chances will then hang on his work ethic, analogous to that of a street pimp; the personality of an outlaw biker, and a rapport with the press normally reserved for political leaders caught in sexually compromising positions... with partners not of the opposite sex.
Off the field, Moss managed to piss off a busload of Vikings Sponsors for no particular reason. At least one news source reported Moss tested positive for Marijuana on an NFL drug test. Moss was the recipient of a restraining order from another girl friend. And Moss was arrested in Minneapolis for repeatedly bumping into a police officer with his car. During this arrest, a minute amount of marijuana was found in Moss' car but the charges for possession were eventually dropped. For those that might be straddling the fence on whether Moss is a world class douche bag, Randy dressed down a Vikings caterer thus removing all doubt.
In his immediate future, Moss' disruptive nature does not bode well for him in Nashville. It would be advisable for Randy to lease an apartment rather than arrange for any longer term commitments to the area. Randy probably shouldn't get a Tennessee Drivers License or register to vote in Tennessee, he isn't going to be in Nashville that long. Well run organizations have little tolerance for divas: Notre Dame, Florida State, The Dallas Cowboys, Vikings, New England Patriots and the Vikings a second time all divested themselves of Moss. Not likely that Jeff Fischer will suffer Moss's antics for any length of time and Moss simply lacks the self-restraint to avoid what will be yet another train wreck in a lifetime of train wrecks.