Fined for saying too little; fired for saying too much

I’m a big sports fan on both sides of the pond. Over here in Germany, I usually cheer for the local teams, like the soccer team Rot-Weiss Erfurt or Carl-Zeiss Jena, teams that can take down perrenial powerhouses, like the handball teams Flensburg-Handewitt and Kiel or the basketball teams in Bayreuth and Bamberg, and any team that can cut the Bundesliga soccer conquerers FC Bayern Munich down to size, like Mainz 05ers and 1899 Hoffenheim. In the US, apart from being a convert Pittsburgh Steelers fan, I usually rute for the teams originating from my homestate of Minnesota. That means, I cheer for the women’s basketball problem children of the WNBA the Minnesota Lynx, the rugrats of the men’s basketball team the Minnesota Timberwolves, the athletically enriched baseball team the Minnesota Twins, the college powerhouse to be types, the Minnesota Gophers, and lastly the (un-)professional football team, the Minnesota Vikings.

I now have one less team to cheer for as of last night- the unprofessional team, the Minnesota Vikings. Picked as contenders to win the Super Bowl, the team is completely in turmoil after losing to New England 28-18, falling to 2-5 with nine games left in the season, and a hometown favorite and high octane caliber player booted off the team just because he criticized the head coach’s play. That act is just the tip of the ice berg when it comes to unprofessionalism. Now the head coach is in the hot seat for not telling the owner about it earlier, and the players are poised to embarass him next Sunday by letting themselves get embarassed by the lowly Arizona Cardinals, in an attempt to have the now heavily disfavored coach sacked from his post. Not surprising if you see how he and another star player-the quarterback- are not getting along at all. Who are the people I’m mentioned here?  Randy Moss, who was given the shaft and Brad Childress, who dumped him right after the game.  Normally, I keep sports out of my column but this one was too irresistible to comment as I want to look at why Randy Moss, one of the best athletes to play the game got the shaft.

We all know that he was a very charasmatic and voicestrous player who lit up the Metrodome in Minneapolis for his high-flying performance and his antics that excited many fans and angered many. He was raw with regard to his conduct off the field when he was with the Vikings but matured when he went first to Oakland and then to New England. How he ended up back to Minnesota, where his career started still remains a mystery to many. Perhaps it was because of his outburst over Tom Brady’s hairdo, which Moss claimed he looked like a girl. Perhaps it was because of a need of a new environment or the need to return to where he started his career and his fans. Or perhaps he was part of Bill Belichick’s little scheme to obtain some valuable info on the opponent in order for the Patriots to win.  None of these theories made sense, nor did it make sense to boot Randy off the team where he started his career- the Minnesota Vikings- just because he was “lacking in performance” in the latter half of his one month stint, or lashed out at the food that was served to him the Friday before the last game as a Viking, or praised his former team for its performance. In either case, he was silent as a Viking, not taking any questions from the media and getting fined for it. And when he did speak, it costed him his job as a wide receiver, the one who broke record after record during his first seven year stint with Minnesota.  So what is up with the guy?  Why is he insociable, which was definitely not his style- at least not the style that he stood for during his first seven years in Minnesota?

We all know that he is getting up there with age. Not surprising that at the age of 33 he is in the twilight of his career and is  thinking that perhaps enough is enough in terms of his career. But as one can see with Brett Favre’s playing abilities at the age of 41, anything is possible if you make it happen. There is no way the Moss will hem and haw over his career like his former colleague quarterback did, which irritated Green Bay and the New York Jets respectively. If Moss was to go, he would go out with a bang, a Super Bowl ring, and an on-and-off -the- field record that is 2 kilometers long, but he would disappear from the limelight forever, never to be heard of again except in the record books.

Perhaps it is because he is missing that Super Bowl ring and he felt it would be beneficial to rejoin his former team to help Favre and his teammates get that ring, which would also coincide with the team’s 50th anniversary. Not surprising that the last Viking that accomplished that act with the same purpose was quarterback Fran Tarketon, who played for the Vikings from its inaugural season 1961 until he was traded to the New York Giants in 1966 and again from 1972 until his retirement in 1978.  Both players went to the Super Bowl- Tarketon three times in the 70s with the Vikings, Moss in 2008 with the Patriots. Both were defiant of the coach’s orders and tested their agility to their limits. However, both came up empty-handed with no Super Bowl rings. The difference between the two is the fact that Moss did have a chance to get the Vikings and himself that missing trophy. Now, he is no longer a Viking because of differences between him and Childress that made the two incompatible when it comes to communicating with each other and with the team. And this although he still has some years in him, or does he?

Perhaps he is at the crossroads now, trying to decide which path to take with his life, even if it means sacrificing his career as a football player. Finding something in life that a person enjoys does take a lot of time and painstaking effort to accomplish. But it is doable. If one feels that a career he has is not very awarding, then he looks around for something that does make him feel much more at home.  With the current trend he’s in, it would not be surprising that Randy Moss is at the crossroads and will do what I just mentioned above…. walk away and disappear, never to be seen again. In either case he cannot be a football player forever, and if he is tired of the press, perhaps there is another avenue to take where he can be himself and not take the heat from the media, let alone from the football league NFL for not taking on any interviews.

In either case, we will never know what led Randy Moss to come to Minnesota and stay for only a month, before Brad Childress gave him the boot, which leads to the last theory of him getting along more with his former coach Belichick than with Chilly, who is currently in hot water with owner Ziggy Wilf for doing that. We do know that he does have his fans and friends in Minnesota, who still support him despite all that is happening right now with the Vikings football team. We just don’t like the way the team is functioning as one big unit, which we can understand his dissatisfaction from start to finish. We just need to know why he was untypical during this last stint with the Vikings and what happened in this already weird and wild year in the NFL. Perhaps when he is ready for an interview from someone who is curious about it but not for the sake of money and fame, he will spill the beans. But time will tell when he will go unplugged and tell the truth. In the meantime, we can only wish him the best in whatever he wants to do in his life.

That’s a wrap from the Files. Until next time, folks.

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