A Thing of Beauty
So I'm not typically the one to suggest you devote too much time to buying into the Brady-Belichick hype machine.
But if you haven't watched a New England game this season (hell, if you haven't watched a football game this season), do yourself a favour and catch a game - any game - featuring the Pats this year. I can guarantee you'll see something special.
His name is Randy Moss.
Good grief, he's good.
We always knew he was talented. He was always capable of acrobatic feats, even as he was sometimes accused of dogging it when the rest of his team let him down. Nonetheless, in seven seasons in Minnesota, he scored an average of 13 TDs a season. He averaged 83 receptions a season for the Vikes, and had 111 in 2003 alone. That's good.
How good? Well, let's compare him to Mr. "I'm the greatest WR, like, ever" Terrell Owens. Let's pick TO's 7 best years, scattered over his up and down career. By my reckoning, TOs 7 best years produce 11 TDs a season and 85 receptions, with a high-point of 100 receptions in 2002. No so far from Moss' numbers, really.
Now on the the real competition: The greatest single season Jerry Rice (the actual greatest wide receiver ever, and a craptacular tv dancer) ever had was 122 receptions, 15 TDs in 1995. He did this with Hall-of-Famer Steve Young at pivot. His highest single season total for TDs? Well, that'd be 22, back in 1987, with Hall-0f-Famer Joe Montana at QB.
No question, Moss has a way to go to equal Jerry. But here's the thing: Jerry spent his peak years working with two of the best QBs of their era. As a team, they made each other better and cultivated mutual legends. Not unlike Marvin Harrison and Peyton Manning, say.
And Moss? Well, in Minnesota, the guy throwing the ball to him all those years was Daunte Culpepper - a QB so brilliant he couldn't even earn the starting job in Miami. His other QBs have been Josh McCown, Kerry Collins, Andrew Walter and Aaron Brooks. Not so much with the Hall of Fame.
But now, for the first time, Moss is working with an elite QB. Yes, he's the devil, but I never said Brady couldn't play. I said he wasn't as good as his rep - but who could be? Well, with Randy Moss at the other end of the passing route, Brady may live up to even his biggest boosters' expectation.
In 3 games this year, Moss has 22 receptions for 5 TDs - a whole bunch of them coming out of double coverage. Even if he slows down the pace, he looks set to obliterate some serious records. The most important thing? The closing minutes' shot from last week's game showing Moss smiling and shaking hands with his coach on the sidelines. Sitting beside Brady and laughing.
A happy, healthy Randy Moss. It's going to be a scary season for the defenders in the AFC. Do yourself a favour and check it out.