The Mossman Prophecies

Seven years and one week ago today, Randy Moss made headlines by saying he would get to a Super Bowl even if it wasn't with the Vikings following their 41-0 caning by the Giants in the NFC title game. It took time and three teams to get it done, but Moss is one game away from not only getting his personal goal of a championship, but also the last stop on the road to perfection by the Patriots.

It was probably the first time that Randy Moss drew the ire of fans. The Vikings had been blown out 41-0 in the NFC Championship game against the Giants and a dejected Moss sat in front of his locker for almost a half hour before finally preparing to leave. Surrounded by the New York media, Moss was thrown a barrage of pointed questions about how an offense so talented could fall so flat on its face in the biggest game of the year.

While not necessarily a "homer" when it comes to dealing with the Vikings, I thought many of the questions were unfair and leading – hoping to get Moss to blow up or say something stupid. Frustrated with where the questioning was going, Cris Carter just walked away from the crowd in the middle of the questioning. Moss wasn't so lucky.

What followed was the quote heard 'round the world – the first sound byte that gave media members reasons to question Moss. He had already had the water bottle incident a year earlier, so there was already a group of media types that had an unfavorable view of Moss. The questioning was trying to get to the level of disappointment he felt for getting to the NFC title game twice and coming away empty in his first three years. What followed was a quote that would be taken out of context and cause a division in the team – turning offensive tackle Todd Steussie against Moss publicly and eventually leading to Steussie being shown the door.

When asked to elaborate on getting so close to the Super Bowl but not making it, Moss said, "It didn't happen this year, but I'm going to get to a Super Bowl."

He was then pressed to answer if he thought the Vikings had the team that could get that job done and, instead of refusing to answer like he has done so many times since, Moss said, "I don't know. Whether it's with the Vikings or somebody else, I'm going to get to a Super Bowl."

In the coming days and weeks, little was made of the 10 minutes of tag-team badgering that got Moss to that answer, but all of the sports pages and newscasts were splashed with that headline, saying Moss would make it to the Super Bowl whether it was with the Vikings or not. It alienated some teammates, a lot of fans and many in the local media that Moss was a selfish player and thought only of himself.

However, the Vikings haven't made the Super Bowl or even the conference championship game since then and, until yesterday, Moss hadn't been deep in the playoffs himself. That changed Sunday as the Patriots' pursuit of perfection has just one more stop along the line. While Moss broke scoring records in the regular season, his playoff resume includes just two receptions and no touchdowns. But, unlike previous seasons where Moss could get moody or angry if double-teamed and not part of the offense, it would seem he has bought into the Patriots' philosophy and winning is more important than any personal numbers.

It took seven years for Moss to make good on his claim that he would make it to the Super Bowl, as well as three different teams to make it happen. It is ironic that, now that he has finally made it to the big dance, it will the same Giants that ruined his last chance lining up opposite him on Super Sunday.

Whether the media liked Moss or not, it was impossible to deny his individual ability and accomplishments. Now he has become a key ingredient to perhaps the greatest team in NFL history. While his dream has come true, his ultimate goal of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy is as close as it has ever been and he needs to be applauded for the effort he put in this season. He was good to his word – he got the Super Bowl, whether with the Vikings or not.


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