In a year where rookie commissioner Roger Goodell has been cracking down on the NFL so hard that the only rules left to implement are "No substitutions," "No penalties," and "No time limit," two of the league's most provocative and controversial wide receivers have begun the season with amazing numbers.
Seriously, what the hell, God?
Randy Moss, exiled from both the Minnesota Vikings and Oakland Raiders, has over 400 yards through three games. His five touchdowns already total more than his entire output from last year, when he had three. Six more scores — which he should get all in next week's Monday night game against Cincinnati — and he'll equal his two-year touchdown total in the Silver and Black.
This is the same person who, in his first nine seasons, compiled a litany of questionable actions and curious statements, including admitting to not trying 100 percent on every down, smoking marijuana during past NFL seasons, and publicly calling out Oakland Raiders teammates and coaches. He also ran into legal trouble a couple times, such as running over a traffic patrolman with his car and being cited for marijuana possession.
But in this, his 10th year, the enigma known as Randy Moss is suddenly the New England Patriots' exclamation point to a 3-0 start.
Equally goofy is not Terrell Owens' 329 receiving yards and three touchdowns — he's typically good for those kind of numbers — but the startling revelation that he isn't a distraction this year.
In seasons prior, Owens would call out his team quarterback, were it Jeff Garcia, Drew Bledsoe, or Donovan McNabb. He bitched about being traded to the Baltimore Ravens, enough, in fact, that he got the trade voided and instead was sent to Philadelphia, where he ultimately became the league's biggest locker room cancer. Shipped overnight to Dallas, his shenanigans picked up once again as his idea of "training camp" was "pedaling on a stationary bike," and many believe that Owens' presence was one of the factors in Bill Parcells retiring as coach of the Cowboys.
Oh, and there was that whole attempted suicide frenzy. That was kinda funny.
This year, he did say in Time that he'd like to have Donovan McNabb as his quarterback, which I thought the fans and media would have read more into that quote, but perhaps it was too mind-boggling that we all ignored it. Tony Romo sure has ignored it, because the Cowboys quarterback has gone to him with regularity. His 329 receiving yards is second in the NFC, and his Cowboys, like the Patriots are 3-0.
Another team that expected to be 3-0 was the San Diego Chargers. Instead, they're 1-2 and searching for answers. Their landslide MVP running back LaDainian Tomlinson, who broke all sorts of ridiculous touchdown records last year, finished the 2006 season with 28 rushing scores in 16 games. (Oh, and he had three TDs receiving and threw two more, but that's not important right now.) This year, Tomlinson has just 130 rushing yards through three games and one touchdown, with his longest run of the season being 11 yards. That's usually a mere day for LT.
He'll get his yards and touchdowns eventually, but he'll be the first to tell you that a 50-yard rushing day is enough for him if it means the team wins. Clearly one of the best role models in the league — Warrick Dunn is still probably No. 1 — Tomlinson is probably going through the biggest slump of his amazing, albeit short, career. Hopefully his numbers and wins eclipse mediocrity, but if they don't we could probably just blame new coach Norv Turner.
But wait … Turner was Randy Moss's coach in Oakland, and that'd validate his criticism of him. Forsooth, how cruel it all comes full circle.
So while Tomlinson flounders in San Diego, the prodigal wideouts, Moss and Owens, are reaping the benefits of not being insufferable pricks. They could both start out 5-0, setting up an epic Week 6 matchup between TO's Cowboys and RM's (that's not as catchy a nickname) Patriots. So the concurrent success will end at some point, and whichever wide receiver has to first answer questions about losing is likely the one that reverts back to their 2006 persona.
Hopefully that's the same day Tomlinson rushes for 150 and three touchdowns against the — wait, let's look at the schedule — Oakland Raiders. Yep, funny how that works out.Powered by Sidelines