Monday, November 1, 2010
I couldn't help but feel a swelling of pride yesterday when I read the transcript of Randy Moss' postgame news conference following the Vikings 28-18 loss to the Patriots in Foxborough. In typical Randy fashion, he accepted no questions from reporters, instead offering a stream-of-conscious monologue in which he referred to his former coach Bill Belichick as "the greatest coach in the history of football", Tom Brady as "Tommy Boy" and physically saluted Patriot owners the Kraft family and the entire Patriots organization before he left the stage. He admitted shedding a tear when fans gave him a standing ovation at the end of the game and minced no words at voicing his displeasure with the Vikings lack of preparation.
While I can't speak from experience, what has transpired here is not unlike being a parent of a moody teenager. The Patriots were exceedingly patient with Randy throughout his tenure here, choosing to lead by example with class-acts like Tom Brady rather than put him in the dog-house every time he misbehaved. At every opportunity, the organization took the high road. They praised his effort, aggressively refuted any rumor, and defended him like he was their child, regardless of the truth. He certainly pushed their generosity to its limit, but even as they traded him away, they took great pains to put him where he wanted to go, and continued to sing his praises in the weeks following his departure. This is something that doesn't happen anywhere in life, let alone in the world of professional sports where most players and coaches are egotistical loose cannons and don't have a hair-widths of patience between them. Can you imagine being a complete asshole (albeit talented) at your place of work for three years and getting your boss to write you a glowing recommendation for another job? Some would call Belichick naive, others would call him a psychological mastermind but I have an alternate theory; maybe he is just a nice guy?
Sure there's a business side to the Patriots and they certainly had an incentive to bend over backwards for a player of Randy's caliber, but when was the last time any member of the Patriots organization had anything bad to say about a former player? They have a way of doing business and handling themselves that is best encapsulated in a word that is thrown around far too often but very rarely merited: Professional. Like a parent, Belichick has high expectations for his players, but also like an effective parent, he has unwavering composure and always seems more disappointed than angry when his kids make a mistake. And when he smiles, it's like all of the angels in the sky have joined hands in song. Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington said it best following the game yesterday, "Got to keep him smiling."
Even the most professional of organizations surely have moments when they question their decisions, and I'm sure the Patriots are no different. It couldn't have been easy to listen to Randy's first post game rant after Week 1 and continue to support him, hoping upon hope that he would someday come around. Well, it took him a month, but like a spoiled teenager coming home from college for the first time, Randy has finally seen how special the Patriots really are. And considering the Vikings released him this afternoon following his comments yesterday, it's clear what kind of organization Minnesota is as well.