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Monday, August 1, 2011
Most memorable Randy Moss moments

By Patrick Dorsey
Special to Page 2

It lasted 13-plus years and winded through West Virginia, Minnesota, Oakland, New England and Nashville. Now it's over.

The Randy Moss Roller Coaster finally has come to a stop.

But Page 2 isn't jumping off just yet. We're looking back on the up-and-down career of the talented, talkative and always entertaining wide receiver, a ride with more twists than something you'd find at Six Flags:

Up: The numbers

He set records for most single-season TD catches by a college player (25, plus one in his bowl game), by a pro (23 with the Patriots) and by an NFL rookie (17 with the Vikings) and his 153 overall in the NFL ranks second all time, only to a guy named Rice.

Down: The playoffs

He never won a title, posted only three games of 100-plus yards (in 12 starts), and saw his biggest catch -- a late go-ahead touchdown in Super Bowl XLII -- almost instantly overshadowed by the David Tyree miracle.

Up: The upset

In 2004, Moss and Minnesota stormed through Lambeau with a 31-17 win over the rival Packers, aided by two Moss TDs (one-fifth of his career playoff total).

Down: The mooning

After one of those scores, Moss fake-mooned the crowd. And we're thankful for the "fake" part.

Sideways: "Straight cash, homey."

The mooning, of course, got Moss fined. And then this exchange happened, which horrified some and delighted others:

Reporter: "Write the check yet, Randy?"

Moss: "When you're rich you don't write checks."

Reporter: "If you don't write checks, how do you pay these guys?"

Moss: "Straight cash, homey."

Up: Straight Cash, Homey: The Game Show

Don't ask. Just watch the clip.

Down: "I play when I want to play."

Despite his stats and crazy catches, Moss always was dogged by talk of not giving great effort. His response, in one instance: "I play when I want to play," something he later showed when leaving the field before the end of a game at Washington -- just a week before the mooning incident, no less.

Up: Thanksgiving coming-out

On perhaps the biggest fourth November Thursday since the Pilgrims did something with it, a rookie Moss caught three touchdowns of 50-plus yards, including two in the first quarter, against the Cowboys.

Down: Food-related falling out

After stints with the Raiders and Patriots (more on those later), Moss conducted his final Vikings funeral with a tirade against a team caterer, including (reportedly) such Zagat-inspired criticism as: "What the [expletive]? Who ordered this crap? I wouldn't feed this to my dog."

Up: The Randy 'Fro

The picture says everything.

Down: The Randy Ratio

Minnesota coach Mike Tice's idea sounded good: Get your best player the ball 40 percent of the time. But another number mattered a bit more in 2002: 6-10.

Up: He Is Marshall

The onetime Duke of Dupont (alongside childhood friend/former NBA vet Jason Williams) ended up at Marshall after off-the-field troubles bumped him from Notre Dame. While there, Moss linked up with Chad Pennington, set that aforementioned touchdown receptions record, and finished fourth in the Heisman voting.

Down: Not Quite Marshall

Moss didn't always honor his alma mater's history, saying in 1997 of the school's infamous 1970 tragedy: "The plane crash was before my time," he says. "I don't try to go back in the past and say this football game is for the people in the plane crash. I've seen the burial ground. I went up there and looked at the names. It was a tragedy, but it really wasn't nothing big."

Up: Truckin'

Long an autos enthusiast, Moss in 2008 bought a 50 percent stake in a Craftsman Truck Series racing team and created the two-car Randy Moss Motorsports. No novelty shop, RMM broke through with three wins in 2009 (Mike Skinner was behind the wheel), and No. 5 driver Todd Bodine currently is 10th in the Camping World Truck Series standings.

Down: Drivin'

In perhaps his most dubious moment, Moss in 2002 had a literal run-in with a Minneapolis traffic cop, allegedly striking her at a slow speed with his SUV and knocking her to the ground. He spent a night in jail, but no serious charges arose. Now he's talking to kids about his past problems.

Up: Virtual hero

From the moment a video game made its first version of Moss, he could torture opponents seemingly by himself. Marshall winning a national championship? Sure. Giving Moss the ball on every play, resulting in like 700 all-purpose yards and a win over a pretty frustrated friend? That too. He was always a go-to guy when looking for the long bomb in "Madden,'" and was indefensible. And then there was fantasy, where he turned some lucky 1998 waiver watchers into champions and was consistently the top WR off the board.

Down: Virtual zero

… except in his Raiders days, when he caught for only 1,558 yards and 11 touchdowns in two years, prompting a trade for a fourth-round pick and Oakland's offensive coordinator to declare: "Randy Moss is a player whose skills are diminishing, and he's in denial of those eroding skills."

Up: Patriots revival

Uh … yeah. Immediately Moss went record-breaker on everyone, registering 23 touchdowns, helping the Patriots go 16-0, and cementing the name John Bowie (the guy drafted by Oakland with that fourth-round selection) in NFL infamy.

Down/stop: The end

His time with the Titans felt like Jordan with the Wizards. Moss & Minnesota Part 2 looked like a hypothetical Michael & Chicago Part 3 (if that were to happen, say, this season). And even the whole Patriots thing ended badly. It happens all the time, but it never stops being sad watching amazing players fade away.

So let's hope he's not fully faded. Let's hope the Randy Roller Coaster restarts off the field, and the next chapter provides, at the least, more entertainment.

Until then … thanks for the memories, Randy.


Thomas Neumann and Dave Wilson assisted in compiling this list.

Patrick Dorsey is a writer based in South Florida and a regular contributor to Page 2. He can be reached at bypatrickdorsey@gmail.com.

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