Air-Time Moss

Randy Moss is having a record-setting season again, perhaps his best as a pro. Still, his casual aura on the field and introverted attitude when it comes to the media has some wondering how much better he could be ... at least when it isn't a nationally televised game.

Is the media too tough on Randy Moss?

He has 106 catches for 1,576 yards and 16 touchdowns. The receiving yards are a team record, the catches tie a career high and the touchdowns are one away from a team record he shares with Cris Carter.

In other words, he's producing. Big-time.

But is he doing the best he can? That's a question columnists and analysts pose just about every time Moss short-arms a pass or seems to shift into a cruising gear.

Is that fair?

It's nearly impossible to get Moss' side of the argument. He rarely talks to the media, and hasn't spoken to any reporters in more than a month. He even turned down an interview request from Hall of Famer Marcus Allen last week.

Moss is on record as saying he plays when he wants to play. Considering his numbers, the inclination is to argue he has wanted to play a lot this season.

Then again, the Vikings are 9-6 after a 6-0 start, and still haven't secured a playoff spot. Could Moss have done more?

Moss caught seven passes for 111 yards and two touchdowns in Saturday's 45-20 rout of Kansas City at the Metrodome. He was as pumped for the game as any this season.

Why? Teammates say it's because the game was on national television.

Moss wanted to put on a show. He and some teammates loosened the braids in their hair so that they could sport 1970s-style Afros for the cameras. It was as much a party as a game.

"When it's a nationally-televised game, Randy is coming to play," quarterback Daunte Culpepper said. "He has that look in his eyes. It's something special. I just wish he had that look in his eyes all the time.

"But when you're that good, it's tough to get up for games and for practice. He's done a great job this year and he's maturing, and I'm glad to be playing with him."

Culpepper's intent was to compliment Moss for playing hard in the big games. But his words actually fuel the argument of those who say Moss, as great as he is, could be even better.



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