The New York Jets: Week Two21/09/2010
By Morgan Meis
Few players have ever glided across the field like Randy Moss. Moss is the wide receiver for the New England Patriots. I sometimes imagine him playing in slippers. He’s just gotten up from a long winter’s sleep. He is heading out in the snow to pick up the morning paper. And then, he drifts out on to the field of play, lifts up his long right arm, and into his fingers drops the oblong spherical object we call a football. He has scored a touchdown, and he hasn’t even spilled his coffee.
He did that against the New York Jets. He slid down the field in his slippers and raised his arm to the heavens. In dropped the football. He didn’t even bother to use his other hand. All he needed was the gentle lift of his right arm. One or two fingers were enough. An absolute economy of motion. A beautiful thing. A beautiful thing. Like the hand of an angel. For a moment it did not bother me that the Patriots had pulled ahead 14 to 7.
There is a back story as well. Moss was being covered by Darrelle Revis, the greatest cornerback in the game, our saint from Clairvaux. During the off season, Revis had famously, infamously, called Moss a slouch. It was a mean comment from a saintly man whose genius allows him to utter harsh truths on occasion. It is probably true that Moss stopped working, a couple of years ago, as hard as he might. Maybe when you have the power of divine gliding you forget to practice so hard, to hone your skills. You slide past the hard times. You take the easy way, because you can. Wouldn’t we all be tempted, wouldn’t we all falter, now and then, if it were so easy for all of us to make it easy? Revis beat up on Moss in the two games from 2009. He erased the great glider as he has erased so many others.
Alas, Moss was hurt. He smarted from the indignities on the field and the further indignities in the press. Hard and hurtful facts from the real world were penetrating into his universe of buttery smoothness and he didn’t like it. It was making him feel bad. After the first game of the season, a beastly drubbing of the Cincinnati Bengals, Moss decided to speak on these matters, if obliquely. In a rather unusual press conference, Moss spoke about respect and feelings. He voiced the opinion that he wasn’t much appreciated in New England and that his boss, in particular, hadn’t said anything nice to him lately. We all like to hear that we are doing a good job, he said. We all like to get a little praise. This is a man who will one day, assuredly, find his final resting place in the Football Hall of Fame. This is a man who has scored the fourth most touchdowns in the history of the game. This is a man who is paid more than three million dollars a year to do what he does. This is a man who currently holds the record for most touchdown receptions in one season (23). One could go on. He is one of the greatest wide receivers of all time. And yet, he hurts. He doesn’t understand why his coach refuses to say something nice about him. I find this fact extremely moving.
Darrell Revis pulled up with a touchy hamstring in the midst of that touchdown pass to Randy Moss. This let everyone off the hook. Moss could be great, Revis could be great. Sometimes the perfection in things shines through. The perfection finds a way, as it did last Sunday, when Randy Moss glided down the field without a care in the world and the football landed in his outstretched hand as if it had belonged there from the dawn of time.
The rest of the game was dedicated to the great confirmation of Mark Sanchez. His solidity, his talent, his mental strength. There is something Roman about the young man. Can you see him marching out toward Gaul with a freshly trained Legion? What was that little flip pass, on the run, over to Tomlinson just before getting sacked? A dangerous play. But as Tacitus would say, the desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise. The little Roman. He will be just fine.
After the first drive, a three and out, it seemed as if The Jets might never convert a third down for the rest of eternity. Everything had become impossible. Why, I cried out, Why. There was simply no way to move the ball, ever. There was no way. It was the end of offense in our time, the final collapse. Death. Was it death? It may very well have been death. I wanted to die, a little bit. What is the point of anything? But, then, it was all OK. Mark Sanchez, my little Roman, is made of heartier stock. Thank the Gods that he is made of such stock. I will prepare the choicest parts of a lamb as a burnt offering. Thank the Gods. Everything is OK.