Sports

A loss of Moss, as Pats trade WR to Vikings

By
Sports Columnist
Thursday, October 7, 2010

Wednesday morning, after my eyes fluttered open, I immediately knew that something was wrong. A sense of dread had wrapped itself around me and was trying to force itself down my throat. I kicked my blankets off and did a quick lap around the house. The coffee pot hadn’t combusted in the night. I ran back upstairs to make sure that an airplane engine hadn’t crashed through my room a la “Donnie Darko.” That wasn’t it, either.

Hmmm, what was this feeling? I shrugged it off, booted up my computer and opened Firefox. When my ESPNBoston.com homepage loaded itself into view, my coffee cup slipped out of my hand and fell to the ground with a crash. There it was — the headline lit up the shady green background of the website as though it had been dunked in kerosene and set ablaze.

“Out Route: Patriots agree to trade Randy Moss to Vikings for 3rd round draft pick.”

No. No. NO! This had to be a joke. I knew there were rumors circulating about a possible trade to the Vikings, but I thought that the deal was for Sidney Rice or Toby Gerhart. You know, something that at least made a little bit of sense. This couldn’t be happening. One of my friends, a fellow fan, texted me, “I feel like I just got dumped. I just wanna lie in bed all day and eat Ben & Jerry’s.”

This may seem like a total overreaction to most. Sure, it’s a bad trade, but the guy was probably unhappy and they just kept it under wraps. Now he’s out and the team can refocus, right?

Here is where I give you a glimpse of the festering underbelly of the Patriots that has been undermining and ruining them for the past half-decade.

It begins (and ends) with Head Coach Bill Belichick and owner Bob Kraft.

After the Patriots established themselves as a dynasty in the early 2000s, anyone in New England would have followed Belichick into the heart of Mordor. The Patriots were the Fellowship of the (Super Bowl) Rings and a return to Mount Doom seemed to be in our future. What no one realized was that Belichick had succumbed to the power of the ring.  

He decided to see just how far he could push his luck and began to get rid of important pieces of the Patriots fellowship. The miserly Bob Kraft was delighted with this, only too happy to phase out talented but expensive players with the cover of “We still have Belichick” to keep fans loyal while pushing costs down. For five years, the Patriots Fellowship of the Ring has marched across Middle-earth. We lose valuable members every time we undertake this journey, and each time we get there, it turns out Belichick left the ring in his trunk back in Hobbiton.

Randy’s value to the Patriots is not only in his abilities to go deep and make plays, but also in the way he makes opposing defenses account for him. When Moss receives double coverage, he frees up a man somewhere, giving Tom Brady an open receiver. He makes the offense better just by being on the field. I don’t blame Randy Moss one bit for wanting a little respect or credit for his importance to the team.

But Bob Kraft is such a cheap, awful owner that he actually tried to get in a contract standoff with Tom Brady, the heart and soul of the Patriots. There was no way he was going to pay Moss the money that he deserved, especially with Belichick whispering in his ear that the Patriots can win with anyone. Now, with Kraft and Belichick splitting general manager duties, the unhappy Randy was labeled as a greedy locker room distraction and was suddenly dealt to the Vikings.

The trade talks must have been the quickest ever.

Belichick: We need to get rid of Randy Moss. He wants money we are too cheap to provide. He really wants out.

Vikings GM Rick Spielman: Ummm, you don’t even want to pretend that this is for a different reason and try to get Toby Gerhart for him?

Belichick: No, we’ll take a fifth-round pick for him. That or one of Adrian Peterson’s used athletic cups.

Spielman: You must be joking.

Belichick: I don’t joke. I only laugh when I’m devouring souls.

Spielman: How about I give you a third-round pick so I don’t feel guilty about how badly I ripped you off?

Belichick: Fine. But we also want Peterson’s cup.

Unless Moss was running a human trafficking operation out of the locker room, whatever “distractions” he was causing weren’t big enough to merit this. More likely, Belichick was looking for whatever reason he could to ship him, whether it was using Wes Welker’s hand sanitizer without asking, towel-whipping a naked Vince Wilfork or telling Brady to get a haircut. Whatever it was, Randy Moss is gone, along with my sunshiny feelings on how this team is run, and I want to cry for where my franchise is heading.

In a lot of ways, Randy Moss was like Gandalf. He guided us in our time of need. He was with us through great tragedy. He was a rock for us when no one else was capable of it. Now, it’s like he has slain the Balrog for us, but we tell him to go back to Rivendell because we think we can handle Saruman and Sauron’s army all by ourselves. I have bad news for this fellowship, though. The Ringwraiths are coming. And we just banished our wizard to Minnesota.

 

Sam Sheehan ’12 really thinks Tom Brady needs a haircut. Talk sports with him by e-mailing  sam_sheehan [at] brown.edu.

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