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Keidel: Gathering Moss

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Wide receiver Randy Moss #84 of the Minnesota Vikings takes his first practice after re-joining the Vikings at Winter Park on October 7, 2010 in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)

Wide receiver Randy Moss #84 of the Minnesota Vikings takes his first practice after re-joining the Vikings at Winter Park on October 7, 2010 in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)

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By Jason Keidel
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The conga line of Jets fans celebrating the departure of Randy Moss may add me as a symbolic member.

Whom must we thank for the trade?

The Giants.

Yes, the New York “football” Giants, who did the whole world a solid by beating the unbeaten Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. Beyond battering the quarterback and outscoring the Patriots by three points, the Giants blasted the aura and slapped the sense off the team.

It seems you do strange things when you’re no longer the best team, coach, and QB of all time just 60 minutes after you were all those things. The wreckage rendered them 18-1, and spawned a civilization of poor Central American kids who wear shirts thinking they went 19-0.

Anyone who saw Moss gallop past Darrelle Revis and make a balletic, five-finger grab in the end zone – one of 50 touchdowns he scored in 52 games with the Patriots – knows he still has plenty of game. And the Vikings got Moss on the cheap (third-round draft pick) and didn’t have to sign him to an extension.

There aren’t too many players left from the last time New England won the Super Bowl (2004). The two most important pieces (coach and quarterback) are still intact, but it feels like they lost their mojo.

Have we thanked the Giants lately?

Some folks learn from their mistakes. Bill Belichick, as warm and talkative (and well-dressed) as Jason Voorhees, has calcified into the man who knows it all. It was his hubris that led him to trade his best man not named Brady.

Belichick is taking an odd approach to football these days: conceding seasons and gulping draft picks for a big run at some abstract moment. Assuming most of those picks turn into starters, they won’t be very good for about three years, when Brady turns 36. A lot happens in little time around the NFL, where paying cash today beats amortization any day. Brady could get hurt again. And let’s be honest, Brady is the reason the Patriots won three rings.

Sure, the Patriots are 3-1, but they were spanked by the Jets and the Jets should only get better with a healthy Revis. The Ravens, who mauled the Patriots in New England in January, are lurking. As are the Steelers, also 3-1 and just substantially improved with Ben Roethlisberger returning from suspension.

The Jets fleeced my beloved Steelers for Santonio Holmes – a Super Bowl MVP in his prime You’re about to find out how good he is, provided he keeps his face off the police blotter.

The Patriots have remained competent, nipping at the playoff periphery since they were bruised by Big Blue. But they’re just not all there. Belichick hasn’t coached like Belichick and Tom hasn’t been terrific in a long time.

It reminds you of a boxer losing his belt to an underdog and never reclaiming it, his desire to fight leaving the ring with his title. Marvin Hagler comes to mind. Hagler (also from Massachusetts) vanished after losing a decision to Ray Leonard.

Success – particularly in sports – takes equal portions of luck and skill. The Patriots’ brass is banking on the latter, ignoring that little happenstance of landing a legend in the sixth round of the 2000 draft while trading his favorite target.

Have we thanked the Giants lately?

Feel free to email me: Jakster1@mac.com

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