Why Titans fans should stop worrying and love Randy Moss 

Don't Hate the Player

Don't Hate the Player

Wake up, Nashville. No, no, it wasn't a dream. The Titans really did sign an available player you've actually heard of. I know, I know. Here, drink this. It'll help with the heart palpitations. Deep breaths. Good. Good. I know, this is hard to believe. Everything will be fine.

Yes, Randy Moss is really a Tennessee Titan.

It's important we all prepare ourselves for what this means. There will be detractors and naysayers. These are the same people who are enamored with Kerry Collins, gushing over his 13-3 season but ignoring the 0-6 sequel and the fact that the old gunslinging graybeard is less mobile than many members of the Grand Ole Opry. These people may be named George Plaster. They'll say things like "locker room cancer" and "distraction" and "takes plays off."

But that's OK. Everyone just relax. The Titans' Rent-A-Randy experiment is going to be just fine.

Why? First of all, even if it doesn't work out, the team's not out anything. We need to all resign ourselves to the fact that this is probably just an eight-game sidetrack in Randy's Hall of Fame career. Let's be honest here: We ain't getting married to Randy. We're just having a fling. Once Kenny Britt's leg gets better, we'll walk down the aisle with him. For now, we get to have some fun little on-the-side action with Moss.

So we pay Randy $3 million or so. If it works out, great. If it doesn't, we don't try to re-sign him. In the meantime, starting Sunday against Miami, enjoy watching Moss draw double teams, taking the safety out of the way for Chris Johnson.

Still, your nagging brother-in-law with the Drew Bennett jersey and the Billy Volek tattoo keeps yapping that this is a bad idea. We'll fix him. Here's a point-by-point guide to defusing the most common Moss criticisms.

1) "He takes plays off." Moss has been accused of not hustling or finishing out his routes on plays where he knows he's not getting the ball. It's a fair accusation. Video replay bears it out. Quite frankly, he doesn't always run out the streak. He jogs. He doesn't always finish blocks, if he ever starts them at all.

But Randy Moss has also caught 153 touchdown passes, good enough for second all-time. Like Sex Panther by Odeon, 60 percent of the time, he works every time. So his half-assedness is better than 99.8 percent of everybody else's, er, whole-assedness.

2) "He will ruin our locker room." Randy Moss is a football player, not a cursed Irish spirit. Moss' best performances have come with teams that have strong figures as head coaches: at Minnesota under taskmaster Denny Green; surrounded by tough veterans in New England. His bad years (late in his first Vikings' term, the seasons with the Raiders, this last trip to Minnesota) all coincided with nonexistent leadership from the top.

Jeff Fisher is a respected head coach who can go all CSI: Mustache if his players are in trouble. He's the kind of coach for whom Moss excels. You may also hear something about the time Moss fake-mooned some Packers' fans five years ago in a playoff game. This really happened. If you have a sense of humor and aren't a Packers fan (or Joe Buck), there's no reason to care about this. He also doesn't do interviews. When he does, he does them with himself — which is hilarious, quite frankly. Unless you are a member of the media, this does not concern you.

3) Various vague statements about marijuana and/or arrests. Randy popped for pot on an NFL drug test in 2001. Because of the league's substance abuse policy, he can be tested as many as 10 times per month. He has never failed a subsequent drug test. He was arrested in 2002 on a misdemeanor traffic violation — and, yes, a joint was found in his car. This is the only time Moss has been arrested during his career, meaning he has the exact same number of arrests as an NFLer as Kerry Collins does.

Moss also was charged with battery as a high-schooler after a fight, served 30 days in jail and violated his parole by smoking weed as a college freshman at Florida State — eventually landing him at Marshall University, where he set about 90 trillion records. The man is 33 years old. Do you really wanna talk about what you did as a college freshman?

Randy Moss is hardly Pac-Man Jones — and, no, he's not Peyton Manning, either. He's brash, he's cocky and he's a damn good football player. He's a lightning rod. But, again, he's also an incredibly talented football player who's been in far less trouble than people think — and it's not like the Titans have historically been a bunch of Boy Scouts anyway. (Tyrone Calico in the back of an Escalade, anyone?)

Does he want the ball thrown to him? Yes he does — with good reason. His best seasons (his rookie year and his record-setting season with the Pats) resulted in a 15-1 record for the Vikings and a 16-0 mark for New England. During one season where the Vikings tracked throws to him, the team was 4-1 when Moss had at least 40 percent of the team's chances. They were 1-10 when he didn't.

His selfishness leads to winning football games. And now he gets to do it for us.

Email editor@nashvillescene.com.


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