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Can Childress! Not Moss!

Published: November 5, 2010
Section: Opinions


GRAPHIC BY Ariel Wittenberg/The Hoot

Minnesota Vikings majority owner Zygi Wilf should fire head coach Brad Childress instead of wide receiver Randy Moss, who, as was announced on Monday, will be released after a mere four weeks. It is Childress, not Moss, who is turning this season into a tragic train wreck for a team that was one of the best in the league last year.

The first problem is that there was no real reason why the team decided to can Moss. It could be argued that he was not playing at the level desired by the Vikings staff. The problem with this is that he was playing very well and served a crucial role on the offensive side of the game. When more than one defender was guarding him, he took away key defenders from other players. When only one guy was blocking Moss, or none at all, he was a strong asset down the field. Either way, he strengthened the team. Even when Brett Favre threw the ball to other players, Moss quickly converted into a defender and kept his man away from whoever had the ball. Moss was also very quick in his game against the Packers to stop the Packers’ capitalization on one of Favre’s turnovers.

Maybe it was because Moss is a well-known troublemaker. But the Vikings knew this when they traded for him. They even chased him out of town for this. To dump Moss for something that he was known for raises questions of why the Vikings traded for him in the first place. That being said, Moss had been relatively quiet and calm in his second tenure as a Viking. At times, cameras even showed him apparently offering advice to younger receivers and trying to use his experience for the benefit of the team. To say that he was dropped because of his infamous antics fails here because his antics were not even present.

Some commentators are crediting Moss’ firing to his speech to the press after losing to the Patriots. Moss made a rare press conference appearance in which he was somewhat critical of Coach Childress. But reports have shown that Moss only spoke because the NFL fined him $25,000 for not speaking to the press since becoming a Viking. It seemed he only spoke because he was being punished when he didn’t speak.

Moss also talked about missing his old team, the Patriots. But of course he would miss them. His first year working with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady arguably saved his career. Many thought his career was finished after his short stint with the Oakland Raiders. Sure, you can argue that he stepped out of line criticizing his coach, but recently Childress has not been doing his job well. Maybe a little criticism, rather than blind obedience, is a good thing.

On Tuesday, news began trickling in that Vikings owner Zygi Wilf was never on board when Childress made the decision to drop Moss. How does a coach drop a player without the approval of the man who, not only signs his checks, but who must also pay out the duration of Moss’ contract? None of this makes sense and, truthfully, it’s disgusting. It seems that it wasn’t Moss who deserved the axe but Childress himself.

I was surprised when Randy Moss returned to the Vikings. Back home in Minnesota, it was a running joke that pigs would fly first. When Moss returned, excitement ran high as Favre and Moss, both of whom had expressed desire to play together, would make Moss’ second coming highly memorable. Moss was even the one to catch Favre’s record 500th touchdown pass. All of this falls in comparison to my immense shock when I learned Monday that the Vikings, once again, ditched Moss. Quite simply, Moss should not have been fired. Coach Childress or even Favre (not fully serious here) should be dropped sooner than Moss. Fire Childress, not Moss.