“â€¦they can’t jump with me! Gahh-llee!”
A quick succession of events took Randy Moss from best to worst to best again — or thereabouts — over a single year.
First, he was slaughtering motherfuckers as an integral piece of Marshall’s Thundering Herd and led the team to a Mid-American Conference title with Chad Pennington. He seemed a top Heisman contender after the ’97 season, and looked pissed behind his sunglasses as he watched Charles Woodson walk away with the honor.
Then, though he was slated to go high in the NFL draft, Randy didn’t get taken until the 21st pick came around. It was as if the Vikings looked around and said, “Well shootâ€¦ I can’t believe he’s still up for grabs.” Then voted on it. Then said “I guess” and took him. But Randy proved he was going to keep folks interested when after his first season he was named Offensive Rookie of the Year with 17 TDs. Legal troubles be dashed, outside of Peyton Manning, he’s still the most prolific player from the class of 1998.
They still can’t jump with Randy Moss… Gahh-lee!!
TSS Crew member Jesse H. had the pleasure of living and breathing the same Minn-ahh-soh-dah air as Mr. Moss, ’round about that time. Knowing he was/is an avid Vikings fan, I asked Jesse to recount the era…
Words By Jesse H.
Being a Minnesota sports fan is little to no fun.
Think about it: aside from Adrian Peterson (who by some miracle of life hasn’t had a trade to a big market team forced upon him by the commissioner,) all I have to look forward to is feeding my junior-high sense of humor by buying Minnesota sports jerseys with both “Booty” and “Love” on the back. Let’s not even get started on how devastating it feels that all Minnesota sports teams are turning into a farm system for our far more successful Boston athletic organizations.
Despite my love for all 3 organizations, being a diehard Twins-Timberwolves-Vikings supporter just really, really sucks. It sucks now, it will likely suck next year, and it’s been pretty steadily sucky since the Twins won the miracle series in ’91. That is, every year except the NFL regular season of 1998.
The ’98 Vikings were the greatest team I’ve ever witnessed play any sport. Their continuous output of domination was as impressive as it was multi-dimensional. So many highlights stick out from that season, Randall Cunningham behind center as the comeback story of the year, Robert Smith’s tremendous rushing-receiving effort, Cris Carter solidifying his reputation as my favorite football player of all time, the near 70-point shellacking of the Jaguars, and of course the complete dismantling of the Green Bay Packers in both regular season matches. But really, one man epitomized the excitement and the explosiveness of the Vikings and really the whole year of 1998 better than any other star on a team rich with them, and he did it all as a rookie.
With Randy Moss’ rookie season, he set an unthinkable new precedent as the receiver of the future. The adjustment from college ball to the pros is often recognized as the toughest at the receiver position. One wouldn’t have had a clue watching Moss play in 98. Week after week he torched opponents, each spectacular athletic play teeming with the vengeance of a man with first-pick talent who was passed on by 20 teams in the draft.
It wasn’t so much the statistics that made his year stand out… it was the brash attitude, the unwavering confidence and the way he just purely embarrassed defenders with his unbelievably acrobatic receptions, in particular, when playing on a big stage. On Thanksgiving, Moss straight tore up the Cowboys in Texas, and on a cold, snowy winter night, he ruthlessly ripped the hearts out of the Lambeau faithful on Monday Night Football.
He gave us one hell of a season, one that’s stuck out as a highlight for this Minnesota sports fan since 5th grade (despite the ending of that season being on the list of worst moments ever in my life,) and he redefined the position. That’s why, despite all the water-bottle squirting, leaving the field early, hitting of parking lot attendant’s and most notably, faux-mooning incidents, I’ll always pull for the guy, fuck what Joe Buck says.