Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

08 Oct 2010

Simmons: Moss Trade the Right Move

I'm sure there were more than a few people out there waiting for Bill Simmons to give his take on the Randy Moss trade, and it's a good one. Simmons is right: What made Moss special was just how much fun he made it to be a Patriots fan over the last three and a half years. That was the biggest takeaway, more than all the wins in 2007, more than making Matt Cassel look good in 2008, more than the worries about whether Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez will be less open now. For the record, I've spoken to a few people behind the scenes and while I can't give specifics, believe me that everything you've heard about Moss arguing with coaches this season is about half as bad as it actually was. From a stat analyst perspective, the trade makes no sense, but from a team psychology perspective, it had to happen.

(If anyone is upset that I can't divulge details, I'll remind you that I don't befriend people in the league so that I can report rumors. I befriend people in the league so that they will suggest improvements in the stats, or teach me what the safeties do to key that they're playing in Cover-2 or Cover-3, and other things that will allow FO to give you better overall analysis.)

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 08 Oct 2010

84 comments, Last at 13 Oct 2010, 10:43am by Mr Shush


by crack (not verified) :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 12:48pm

I'm fine with you not divulging. Just say which Florio rumors jibe with what you've heard. I'm sure he's already got all of them out there.

by bingo762 :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 12:49pm

How many times does he crowbar LeBron and/or Tiger into this column?

by chemical burn :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 1:33pm

1 LeBron. Zero Tigers. And 1 huge peek into his deep-seated issues with women.

But there's a good FO call-out, so i don't mind FO linking to it...

by dbostedo :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 1:38pm

He definitely mentions Tiger once as well.

by chemical burn :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 1:42pm

Indeed. The pointless "hitting the pin" comment. My bad.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 2:59pm

Don't forget the obligatory casino gambling reference as well.

by Spielman :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 5:36pm

"And 1 huge peek into his deep-seated issues with women."

Jeez. Yeah.

by Still Alive (not verified) :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 6:22pm

There certainly are crazy chicks like he describes out there (I knew one once who was dating my best friend yet made a concerted effort to seduce me for no reason (I don't even think she liked me that much)).

But this whole column mostly reads like a "why someone should never date Bill Simmons article. He clearly has issues.

by Xeynon (not verified) :: Sat, 10/09/2010 - 8:27pm

Simmons is married, by his own account happily, and has two kids. And if you read his serious takes on the occasional celebrity-athlete sex scandal (e.g. Tiger), he comes across as a pretty normal, well-adjusted adult. I'd guess the crazy chick analogies are more a part of his fratboy-meets-sports-columnist professional schtick than they are a window into his soul.

by chemical burn :: Sat, 10/09/2010 - 9:46pm

Really? His constant refrains "this is why you don't have kids" and his depiction of his wife as an unpleasant, humorless, shrill woman don't strike you as off-putting? Obviously, there's no way of knowing what's a shtick and what's not, but I personally never read his columns and think "what a measured and pleasant view of women." This one just continues his traditional of pushing (some might saying crossing) the "creepy" line...

by tuluse :: Sat, 10/09/2010 - 10:08pm

his depiction of his wife as an unpleasant, humorless, shrill woman

You know, I don't get a lot of that. In fact he seems to think his wife is quite funny most of the time.

Also, parents pointing out that having children is hard work has to be one of the oldest comedic devices in the universe. Did you also find Married with Children to be creepy?

by chemical burn :: Sat, 10/09/2010 - 10:15pm

I didn't find Married with Children to be a depiction of a happy and/or healthy marriage. And are you really using it as your example of "totally cool with women?"

And if a comparison to a sitcom famous for its deeply unpleasant, sexually fucked-up characters is the best you can say for Simmons, then you've proven my point.

by tuluse :: Sat, 10/09/2010 - 10:50pm

I'm saying he says things he doesn't mean to generate laughs.

by chemical burn :: Sat, 10/09/2010 - 11:42pm

I'm saying the things he says to generate laughs reflect on his issues with women, regardless of whether he "means" them or not.

by chemical burn :: Sat, 10/09/2010 - 10:17pm

Also, the extent to which pop cultural in general relies on a lot of deeply creepy, unpleasant depictions of women is a different discussion altogether and probably violates the "no politics" rule in some oblique way.

by Led :: Sun, 10/10/2010 - 10:16am

You must be reading different columns than me. I get the sense Simmons worships his wife and dotes on his kids. I don't think he "has a problem with women" in general. But he definitely divides women into normal/wives/sisters, on the one hand, and crazy chicks/tramps, on the other, in a way that one can take issue with. He would never be mistaken for a feminist.

by chemical burn :: Sun, 10/10/2010 - 12:45pm

Yup - the mother/whore split is the classic example of "issues with women" and pretty much what I am referencing. And not to get all womyn's studies up in this thread, but there's a reason that feminist theory first identified that false dichotomy as one of the things that absolutely had to go if women were to be reasonably treated as human beings equal to men.

Anyway, a football website is pobably not the best place to advance such an uncontroversial assertion...

Anyway, that Tiger Woods sure loved those dirty, dirty whores, amirite? Karate Kid 2 is a like a crazy chick that just wants to humiliate you, but Karate Kid part one is like the dutiful wife that makes you miserable!

by Xeynon (not verified) :: Sun, 10/10/2010 - 5:59pm

With all due respect, I think you're taking all this a bit too seriously. I find some of Simmons' humor juvenile and chauvinistic, but it is just that - humor. It's not necessary or warranted to deem him a stunted human being or a servant of the patriarchy because of it. Unless, you know, you insist on dividing men into enlightened sensitive types and unenlightened cro-magnon cavemen, which is a dichotomy just as dumb, artificial, and counterproductive as the virgin/whore one IMO.

by Martial (not verified) :: Mon, 10/11/2010 - 4:03pm

Some people, like me, don't find sexism funny. "It's just humor" doesn't cut ice when the result is to normalize attitudes and behaviors that essentialize women.

I find Bill Simmons generally to be quite an astute observer of our popular rituals. The way he injects himself as a willing participant in those rituals is his schtick and he's good at it. But something of character is revealed by what is put in and left out. He chooses - and his editors allow - the use of the idea of the "crazy chick". He'd be just as effective a writer if he chose a different, equally culturally resonant metaphor.

Real choices by a real human being to act in a certain way. Raising questions about Simmons' choices isn't essentializing him - it is treating his actions with respect. He means to write that way. It is legitimate to ask "Why?"

by Mr Shush :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 10:43am

There really exists a small but highly visible minority of women, most of them young and attractive, whose behaviour around and towards men, however complex the underlying psychology, is almost exclusively what Simmons would characterise as "crazy hot chick" and Wayne Campbell as "psycho hose-beast". I'm pretty certain, based on the several that I've known relatively well, that nearly all of them are deeply unhappy and many of them are mentally ill. I feel very sorry for them. I'm the sort of idiot who feels a very powerful emotional instinct to try to help or "rescue" them, even while being fully rationally aware that this is a terrible idea because a. It is guaranteed not to work and b. They almost certainly don't want it. This minority is certainly over-represented in popular culture, but I'm not sure we need to go to patriarchal oppression to explain that fact: this sort of behaviour inevitably creates conflict, and conflict is the lifeblood of both drama and comedy. It may also be fair to say that this type of woman is disproportionately highly represented in the circles that successful showbiz types meet socially. Heck, even as-yet unsuccessful showbiz types like my jobbing theatre actor/director self. Callous or unthinking cynicism and lack of empathy, at least as much as chauvinism per se.

I do think there is some misguided chauvinism in the fact that men displaying equivalent charismatic turbo-slut behaviour are frequently idolised when in fact they are, I suspect, at least almost as likely to be deeply unhappy and mentally ill.

by billsfan :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 3:03pm

I don't think I've read a single thing by Simmons since 2004.

(I also like the Eagles)

by Led :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 2:02pm

Belichick called the story about discord on the plane ride back from Miami "a total fabrication" and said "[t]here was never any incident or discipline problem with Randy . . . . There never has been one with me in four years." he specifically said you can rule that out as a reason for the trade. I assume Aaron's (and Simmons' and everybody else's) sources are right. So what are we to make of Belichick's statements, which appear to be outright lies? It's standard for teams to be less than completely honest in terms of game plans, contract negotiations, draft boards, i.e., things related to stuff that's going to happen in the future. But it's not at all standard in my experience for teams to lie about stuff that has already happened. Does this trouble you guys, or is it just me? I'm not saying Belichick had any obligation to discuss the internal affairs of the team. He could have chosen not to comment.

by Nathan :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 2:09pm

someone call arlen specter

by PatsFan :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 2:10pm

There never has been one with me in four years.

Belichick (pointedly?) didn't say anything about incidents with other staff or players.

by DGL :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 2:35pm

Indeed, Belichick has a lawyer's skill in stating precisely what he means, no more, no less. "Moss has not had an incident or discipline problem with Belichick" means exactly that. It doesn't mean he's never sulked, or argued with an assistant coach, or put in less than 100% effort, or been a general locker-room cancer, or a host of other things.

by PatsFan :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 2:38pm

Although that is a bit of lie, come to think of it.

Least year Adalius Thomas, Derrick Burgess, Gary Guyton, and Moss arrived late to practice on the day of a snowstorm. Belichick threw them out of practice and sent them home.

by Tom Gower :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 2:15pm

NFL coaches are in the job of running a football team, not telling the media the truth. I assume everything a coach tells the media is because it's what he wants the media to believe; the only semi-exception to this are injury reports, where the NFL has a policy about truthfulness.

The real message of Belichick's presser: (a) it's not true; and/or (b) even if it is true, I'm not going to tell you about it, so don't bother asking me.

by Led :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 2:30pm

I don't think a public figure being interviewed has an obligation to tell the whole truth, but everybody has an obligation not to say things that aren't true. In other words, don't lie. If you don't want to confirm something, just don't comment. Otherwise, why bother having press conferences if the whole thing is a charade? If folks in the media share your level of cynicism, that explains a lot.

by Tom Gower :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 3:08pm

The point of the presser was "here's your opportunity to ask me about the Moss trade, so you don't have to talk about it later."

NFL coaches normally do tell the truth, or something quite close to it, at least from a certain point of view. It's quite possible that Belichick never individually had a confrontation with Moss, but that members of the Patriots coaching staff have, in which case Belichick didn't lie at all.

From reading and listening to/watching pressers, most answers tend to get a pretty truthful response; either something is easily checked and confirmed or denied, or there's no advantage to be gained from lying about it. When it comes to intra-team disputes and team management issues, though, NFL teams absolutely do not like to talk about those at all, and many players respect the near-sacrosanct nature of locker room disputes. Stuff occasionally leaks out, but insiders talk about things like locker room fights and e.g. the Cable punching incident as being much, much more common than media reports about them are.

Disclaimer: AFAIK, I've never spoken to an NFL coach, head or assistant, and while I write for FO, I don't conduct interviews or consider myself a journalist (obviously, this is not the case for all FO staffers). My general observation, and from talking to people I've known who are journalists, is that journalists tend show a reasonable level of caution in taking at face value the statements of people who as part of their profession deal regularly with the media.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 2:51pm

Not to be dismissive, but yeah, it's just you. "Football coach lies to media" = "dog bites man".

That said, if you're looking for some explanation as to WHY he would want to lie in this specific case, I'd point you to the Pats/Vikes tilt later this season. Perhaps he thinks he can get Moss to be slightly less fired up for that game. I'm guessing it won't work, but whatever.

by JFP (not verified) :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 3:51pm

I'm not troubled my Belichick's actions, but I'm also a Pats fan so maybe I'm biased. If Belichick lied so what? It's none of my business what happened between Moss and BB. I'm disappointed Moss is gone, but I certainly wouldn't want people knowing every detail of my relationships.

I also think choosing not to comment lends itself to people speculating about what really happened. Of course this happened anyway despite Belichick's rather positive comments on his relationship with Moss so what do I know.

by johonny (not verified) :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 2:07pm

As far as I can tell the "just doing business Pats, ran into the just doing business Moss" and both made their business transaction. Moss will get the money he wanted and wasn't going to get from the Pats. The Pats avoid the risk of a longer deal with a 30+ player like they always do. The move just seems like business. People overplay all the behind the scenes drama *.

by David :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 2:14pm

I'm not upset that Aaron can't divulge details, but stating that you have details, and that you can't divulge them, just comes off as something of a twat, frankly: "Nyah, nyah, I know something you don't know!"

Although still significantly less twattish than "I only befriend people in order to learn more and improve this website, I do not befriend for personal interaction or improvement as a person", which is both twattish and, y'know, creepy

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 2:33pm


How did "I don't befriend people in the league so that I can report rumors" turn into "I do not befriend for personal interaction or improvement as a person"?

by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Sat, 10/09/2010 - 4:22am

I read it as someone who is a comfortable statistician and less-comfortable, professional journalist covering himself in a professional manner in a field that he's less familiar with (the Schefter / Florio side of NFL reporting). Nate Silver at Five Thirty-Eight would probably do the same.

by speedegg :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 2:42pm

I think there's a difference between discipline and good teammate. Moss probably knows how to get right up to the point of discipline, but doesn't cross it and causes trouble for teammates and coaches.

The hot, crazy girlfriend example is great! She isn't breaking the law, but is making your life miserable, so it's time for her to go. I hope Moss enjoys the Vikings next season....

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 2:57pm

So Simmons likes a move the Patriots made? There's a real shocker.

by chemical burn :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 3:05pm

Be fair: there was also the possibility that he could have called it "the all-time worst decision in the history of decision making." And then compared it to The Karate Kid.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 3:13pm

Good point. This trade is a lot like The Karate Kid, whereas "4th-and-2" was like The Karate Kid 3.

by V. Barbarino (not verified) :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 10:26pm

Shawshank Redemption.
I'm a Simmons fan, but he's beaten these things into the ground for about seven years.

by Samson 151 (not verified) :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 3:04pm

For several perfectly good reasons. Such as:

1) it's a personnel issue. Those are confidential confidential in most workplaces. I'm trying to think of one large organization where you're allowed to give details to the press about an employee's disciplinary history, and I'm not coming up with one.

2) Randy Moss is an independent contractor with a contract that may also include language about a possible trade and the circumstances in which it can occur -- including what each side can say about the other.

3) The League doesn't like teams badmouthing players. They think it makes everyone look bad.

4) If you were an agent, would you want your player to sign with a team whose coach confirmed rumors about your client's poor conduct?

5) Aside from gobbling up rumors, it ain't none of our business.

by Will Allen :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 3:19pm

Minor quibble: NFL players, for purposes of employment and tax law, are employeees with contracts governed by a CBA, not independent contractors.

by Will Allen :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 3:37pm

People are sometimes reluctant to acknowledge that a trade is a very smart move good for both of the teams involved, but that is likely the case here. Randy Moss is the greatest non-qb offensive player I've ever seen, in terms of what a player can dictate to the opposition, and what he can do even when the opposition is conceding to what he dictates. Consider what it meant, or could have meant, if Brady had been given a bit more time in the closing moments of the Super Bowl, when the Giants and every other football conscious human being knew that they ball was going deep to Moss; the guy still mamnaged to get considerable seperation, behind the dbs, and if the ball had been delivered, it might have been the single greatest offensive play in the history of the game. He is a nearly unbelievably talented player.

Having said that, he is a completely unmanageable employee when he is not in the mood to cooperate, and thus when that timre arrives, he has to be traded. What I don't know, and what I think happens more frequently in the NFL than people acknowledge, is whether anybody in Patriots management was disingenuous with him in terms of how his contract concerns would be eventually addressed. I do think that players get lied to with substantial frequency, although I don't know if that happened here. If my talents were in as much demand as Moss' are, and I was lied to, I would expend great energy to make life a miserable hell for those who lied to me, so I am not willing to make a blanket condemnation of guys under contract who become difficult to work with. If you think GMss and owner in the NFL are always dealing with players in good faith, I think you are being naive.

by JFP (not verified) :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 4:03pm

I had this argument with a fellow Pats fan who said the Pats lost and the Vikes won in this trade. I disagreed and said that it wasn't a zero-sum game.

I think the Vikes got the better of the deal in the short term. It should bolster their SB chances this year, and Randy may have a career day on Halloween. However, I think the Pats made out as well in the deal. They got some really good years from Moss, and got back a third round pick when they gave up a fourth to get him. Seems as though all involved Vikes, Pats, and Moss got what they wanted.

by JonFrum (not verified) :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 5:47pm

I can't imagine that Moss wouldn't speak out if he thought he had been lied to. And I expect that players are actually lied to very rarely. What's in it for the team? The team has business people doing their end of the business. There's no need for them to lie to players. More likely, the players find a difference between "We'll take care of you" and what they want. We'll take care of you is not we'll break the bank for you. The player - an amateur at contract negotiations - is far more likely to make a mistake than team management in these things. Mankins said that Kraft lied to him. Kraft says that he NEVER talks money with players. I'm betting on Kraft in that case - his statement passes the sniff test.

Moss didn't want to take on the risk of playing the rest of the year with no contract - one injury and he never gets paid again. He also wanted the upfront signing bonus sooner rather than later. So he shot his way out of town. Given his performance in Oakland, we all know he's not shooting blanks.

by Will Allen :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 6:18pm

Well, when lying gets a guy to be satisfied with the status quo for a while, and that period of time is what is the primary concern, then lying gets the team quite a bit. Also, if you think a lie can only take place in the legal or technical sense, I disagree. It is quite possible to willfully deceive people while being able to maintain technically that a lie was never told, and it is most likely to happen when the person being deceived is far less experienced. I suspect this happens with frequency in the NFL.

by JasonK :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 8:58pm

On a bit of a tangent, but I'll stand up for the Giants' DBs. When you're running with Randy Moss on a 'go' pattern, you know that he's going to get separation at some point because he can simply run faster than most humans. The whole point as a DB is to get enough of a head start to make sure that he doesn't do so while you're within his QB's effective range. It's not an accident that Brady's pass fell a little short. The Giants' DBs (IIRC, Corey Webster and Gibril Wilson) did exactly what they were supposed to do-- Moss did get behind them, but not until he was far enough downfield that Brady couldn't get the ball there.

by BSR (not verified) :: Sat, 10/09/2010 - 1:41pm

Watching the video that was linked in the article, it looked like Moss should have made the catch. It looked like he was trying to keep his feet though, probably so he could run with it after, but then didn't put himself in the best position to make the catch. I always thought that he should have jumped up for the ball.

As for the throw, it was a seventy yard pass, I don't think anyone would have expected the pass to go that far.

by shah8 (not verified) :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 4:36pm

When it comes to WOs, I'm always dubious about people talking about locker-room cancers.

Teams simply don't want to acknowledge that experienced and good WOs are almost as necessary as the QBs and deserves to paid and respected as such. So they consistently, over the years I've ever followed football, state that WOs are cancers and tempermental and divas--whether that be Andre Rison, Michael Irvin, Keyshawn Johnson, Terrell Owens, or Randy Moss. And seriously, the latter two have been pretty key in giving young QBs the cushion they need to mature and the big years with which to get paid. Owens or Moss over their careers are worth more than any QB not in the top 12 or so. Moreover, none of these guys have ever been malignant characters even to the extent Santonio Holmes is.

If your team has a young QB, and *especially* if said young QB is black, you as a fan have to not put up with the bull. It is *vital* for young QBs to have veteran receivers that create feedback success. Don't let your FO get away with just drafting WOs. Pay them the money, and increase the chances that your young QB won't bust!

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 4:59pm

"*especially* if said young QB is black"

And that matters, why exactly? I was following you up to that point. The asterisks would seem to indicate that you felt this was of particular importance, so I'm just curious as to why.

by shah8 (not verified) :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 5:42pm

Over the years that I've watched football...pretty much from about '92, it's been a consistent pattern that ownership will not trade for or sign expensive WOs when they have black QBs. Randall Cunningham took Rob Johnson's WOs. Steve McNair has only had Dyson (as far as I can remember) who was a decent to good WO. Vince Young and Michael Vick's careers in general has been significantly about counteracting the terribleness of their receiving corps. McNabb, almost the same if one forgets the one year Owens experiment. Culpepper, who was the luckiest one, played with well developed home grown talent. When I've seen Jamarcus Russell, it's hard not to notice just how putrid his WOs were. There were lots of bad routes, tons of dropped balls, and all out bad play. When Russell has had Schilens and Miller in, he, while bad, doesn't look quite as horrible.

On the other hand, when the QBs are white, the FO is more willing to make big-time trades and signings for veteran WOs. Atlanta got Tony Gonzalez for Matt Ryan. Dallas got Owens and they consistently as a team tradition keep the WO larder stocked anyways. The entirety of Keyshawn Johnson's career is about making bad white quarterbacks look not quite so bad. He did a lot of nice blocking as a result. Lost temper alot too, and I think this played a role in his early retirement.

The vast majority of young QBs really, really, *really* need that one reliable WO that creates a real chance for being consistently "in sync". Good receivers are an essential vitamin for every young growing QB, and one thing fans really have to watch out for, because this is true for most young QB, white, mexican, black, whatever, that the FO will cheap out on getting the expensive talent to make things work. Pay up to the left tackle and perhaps RG. Pay up for at least one good WO. And tell them to shut up when they whine about how much of a "cancer" some star receiver is being.

by Rocco :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 7:05pm

The Falcons tried to get receivers for Vick. No matter how good they were, they did nothing when Vick was the QB. Peerless Price had 94 catches his last year in Buffalo before the Falcons got him. Revisionist history has him as a total stiff for his entire career. They drafted Michael Jenkins (who's been better under Matt Ryan). Oddly enough, Roddy White took a quantum leap forward when Vick was no longer his QB. I'm sure that's just a coincidence. People went/continue to go out of their way to absolve Vick of any problems in the passing game and blame the receivers.

The Eagles went and got receivers for McNabb in Jackson and Maclin. They brought in a bunch of receivers but had a hard time finding good ones.

The Titans signed Yancey Thigpen who'd been a Pro Bowler and had a 85 and 79 catch season. He never caught more than 38 passes with the Titans. They drafted Derrick Mason (you may have heard of him, since he's been good for a decade) and had Frank Wycheck on the roster. And however bad the Raiders receivers may be, they've looked less bad when people other than Russell have thrown to them over the last two years.

I'll let older people/Eagles fans speak to that team under Cunningham, but I'd bet that had less to do with Cunningham being black and more to do with Buddy Ryan not believing in offense. I'm not sure where you get the idea teams want black QBs to suffer with bad receivers. Generally teams try to get weapons for their QB no matter the skin color. Better QBs usually make receivers better.

by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Sat, 10/09/2010 - 5:08am

I have to agree with the above - I really don't see a pattern with owners not wanting to shell out for receivers because they have a black QB. Case in point - Tarvaris 'Deer Stare' Jackson was drafted in 2006. In 2007, Purple Jesus in Round 1 and Sidney Rice in Round 2. In 2009, Percy Harvin in Round 1 (and keep in mind, the draft was in April; Favruh wasn't hired on until August).

The Falcons/Vick argument has already been soundly debunked, above. The Eagles traded for Owens - basically admitting to themselves and the world that they suck at drafting WR talent - to help McNabb. It didn't work out as hoped. You can't talk about how the Cowboys went and got Owens (for Romo), while dismissing the Eagles doing the same for McNabb.

NFL owners are largely businessmen. Their front offices are almost entirely businessmen. When they invest a fat wad of money into a young 'franchise' QB, they typically don't want it to be wasted. So perhaps if you look less at QB color, and more at specific teams' front office ineptitude, you might see more correlation.

You might also have to acknowledge that some of the QBs just weren't accurate (Vick was an electric athlete, but early on, he sucked at a wide range of throws; JaMarcus Russell was a complete was of oxygen in Oakland, but thankfully the fans there have apparently been bred for low oxygen environments). You might also look at the offensive systems they were part of - for example, Tennessee was based on defense and ball control, with Eddie George. Vince Young now plays for the same coach on the same team.

Finally, if you want your young QB to have a career, I'd say you start with the O-line before the receivers.

But most importantly - next time I'd recommend you run a few numbers (research) before running your mouth about some vast racist conspiracy.

by shah8 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/09/2010 - 11:10am

Well, I'm not bothering to reply mostly because I've really heard it all wrt Vick, a specific rebuttal--Peerless Price hasn't replicated his success anywhere else other than Buffalo because, like Nate Burleson, he got a lot of reflected glory from elsewheres.

I'm going to ignore all the replies that involve star receivers that blossomed after...given that this was part of my point and was in my OP. Drafting receivers is not a solution. They take time to grow and they have a strong risk of busting.

I am also going to ignore the inaccuracy bull. Plenty of cases where that's right, but plenty of people abuse that, as well as "staring down the receivers" to hate on QBs they don't like, so I don't pay attention.

What's really more important, despite the racial aspect (which had to be discussed, in my opinion) is the original point in that WOs are significantly more important to a QB's success than the FO, and often fans are willing to credit. This can be injurious to young QBs regardless of race. The treatment of Matt Ryan is *all*about*how*they*&&^%^-up*with*Vick. They got a real line, a real coaching staff, a great running back, and a veteran WO corps, and Ryan had a great rookie season, and he isn't visibly sucking during the requisite wait time that it takes for a QB to grow up. That's what Sanchez got too. B'more has been investing in WOs for Flacco. Chad Henne got Marshall (what a waste).

I cannot wait until the salary cap is busted. I really miss seeing complete teams.

by Rocco :: Sat, 10/09/2010 - 12:17pm

So drafting receivers doesn't count, but bringing in receivers doesn't count either if they had bad years? There aren't a lot of quality receivers available every year in FA. The easiest way to get a WR is to draft one. Do they flame out? Yeah, but so do FA receivers.

The fact you ignore whether a QB is inaccurate says you don't really have a point. Vick wasn't an accurate passer in Atlanta. I'd forgotten- they also brought in Ashley Lelie as a deep threat. He didn't help, though I'm sure you'll tell me why he doesn't count. Michael Jenkins and Roddy White had more catches in 2007 with a poo-poo platter of QBs than they did in 2006 with Vick. Accuracy doesn't matter?

Further, the Falcons had a quality line for Vick. They brought in Warrick Dunn. They drafted Duckett and Alge Crumpler. They tried to surround him with weapons, just like almost every team that's ever had a talented QB has done. They didn't have to bring in veteran WR's for Ryan- they had Jenkins and White who weren't good enough for Vick but Ryan didn't seem to have a problem with them.

It's well accepted that receivers are important to a QB. No one argues that. People usually make excuses for a QB by saying the receivers aren't good. It's also true that a quality QB elevates his receivers. And I've never known a team to intentionally not bring in receivers for a QB because he's black, which was your point.

by Mr Shush :: Sat, 10/09/2010 - 3:51pm

Hate to break it to you, but the salary cap's coming back. Parity's worth too much to everyone.

Elite veteran wide receivers come on the market only very rarely. Generally speaking, they will be signed by the teams that believe they are ready to compete for a championship now, not the teams that believe they have just drafted or are soon planning to draft their quarterback of the future. It is far more common to draft a receiver to grow with the quarterback than to acquire a veteran. I see no evidence that the ethnicity of the quarterback of the future in question is a factor in the decision-making.

Nor do I see any evidence that a lack of receiving talent early in a quarterback's career tends to permanently retard his development. Of course quarterbacks produce better when they have better receivers, but that's not what we're talking about. Was McNabb's career derailed by the crappy receivers he had early? Is Brady only good because the Patriots committed the resources needed to acquire studs like . . . Deion Branch and David Givens? Do the Rams have a sensational receiving corps that's responsible for allowing Bradford to succeed? I'm pretty certain that when it comes to quarterback development, the order of importance is something like 1. the player himself, 2. the coaching staff, 3. the offensive line and 4. the receivers, and that there are big gaps in importance between each. If you want to say Vick failed in Atlanta because Greg Knapp was too inflexible to adjust the offense to suit his skill set and not a good enough teacher to fix his deficiencies, you might be making a sensible point. The notion that he failed because the receivers the Falcons front office invested a ton of resources in were too young is, frankly, bonkers.

by BigCheese :: Mon, 10/11/2010 - 8:34pm

Forget the draft (since he DID specificaly say they weren't bringing in big-money veteran WRs for balck QBs as opposed ot white ones). Sticking to Minnesota though, I guess Bernard Berrian and TJ Houshmanzadeh (who ran the other way as fast as he could once he met Tarvaris, but the Vikings definitely tried to bring him in - I guess TJ is racist as well) don't count because... well I have no idea why.

And I guess Kyle Orton, Sam Bradford, Matthew Stafford, Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Jay Cutler, Kurt Warner, Matt Leinart, Eli Manning, Alex Smith, Aaron Rodgers, Jake Delhome, Matt Moore, Drew Brees, Phillip Rivers, Matt Cassel, Derek Anderson, Brady Quinn, Chad Pennington and freakin Brett Favre for his entire career right up until last week are all black since I can't think of a single high-priced WR being aqquired by their teams either...

When you have an axe to grind, EVERY singel thing that happens can be attributed to your particular delusion, even if it has nothing to do with it.

- Alvaro

by Humil (not verified) :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 4:42pm

Why would anyone be so surprised about Belichek being less than genuine? Records show that he appears to be one of the magnificent cocka's in the biz, with taping opponent practices and that surly non-handshaking sour loser bit under belt. Probably just a tip of iceberg anyhow, but not difficult to make the leap that he similarly plays games with his own players, in order to game whatever he's got in mind.

Nothing to be proud of, but sick pleasure wells up when sensing the impending disintegration of Pats' prolonged success... One unlikable primadonna player, two unlikable (exclude winning-bandwagoners and die-hard fanbase)teams, quite the matches made in heaven.

by Jon Frum (not verified) :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 5:48pm

We'll all be sure to take you seriously.

by BJR :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 6:07pm

I just don't understand how this trade reflects poorly on Belichick or the Patriots. Moss wanted a contract extension; the Patriots didn't want to commit to paying a significant amount to a 33 year old having just signed their quarterback to the biggest contract in league history. Same sh1t goes on all the time in the NFL. In fact the Pats seem to have acted with great magnanimity allowing Moss to go to a potential championship rival for a relatively small price. I'm guessing they could have tried to command a higher price, or simply forced Moss to play. Even if he was distracted and half-hearted, he's the type of player who just having him out on the field in uniform provides value.

by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Sat, 10/09/2010 - 5:16am

Does Belichek rub his hands together and say 'muhahahahaaa!' as well?

by CDB (not verified) :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 5:50pm

"What made Moss special was just how much fun he made it to be a Patriots fan over the last three and a half years."

Bullshit. What made Moss special was how damn good he is at playing football.

Simmons knows very little about football (even less about baseball). The article was nothing but a Boston fluff piece.

by K (not verified) :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 6:14pm

Turns out, rooting for a transcendent talent is one of the most fun experiences a fan can have.

by Pat Swinnegan (not verified) :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 7:29pm

The article was nothing but a Boston fluff piece.

I had to laugh out loud that anyone could click through to a Bill Simmons article and react with such indignation upon discovering "nothing but a Boston fluff piece."

("Why, this gazpacho is nothing but cold tomato soup!")

by ChicagoRaider :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 6:28pm

Randy Moss wants a career closing contract. The Patriots were not up to that at the level Randy wants. So at least they have the draft picks next year to be sure to get a replacement. And they get a better third rounder than they would get for Moss departing as a free agent.

As a Raiders fan, I can tell you that an unhappy Randy Moss is neither good for a team, nor particularly useful.

by fakeninjitsu :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 6:52pm

Love you Simmons, but Randy Moss had nothing to do with the Pats not winning the SB in these past few years. They lost the SB because their OL got dominated and Asante Samuel dropped the game clinching pick, Moss had nothing to do with Brady's torn ACL and he sure as hell has nothing to do with their recent problem; the Pats terrible defense.

by Pat Swinnegan (not verified) :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 7:26pm

Love you Simmons, but Randy Moss had nothing to do with the Pats not winning the SB in these past few years.

I fail to see where Simmons insinuates otherwise... If anything, he's giving Moss too much credit for the fact that the Pats were ever in position to win one. (Aside from the offense, the defense and injury luck were also historically good for the 2007 Pats... guess which of the three gave out in the end?)

by Semigruntled Eagles fan (not verified) :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 9:49pm

The Patriots defense of 2007 was nowhere near "historically good." They ended the season with DVOA of -5.0%, good for 12th in the League, with a weighted DVOA of .9% (good for 19th). The Patriots also nearly lost to teams quarterbacked by A.J. Feeley and Kyle Boller on consecutive weeks in the regular season, requiring 4th quarter comebacks in both games.

The Patriots defense of 2007 was a moderately above-average defense capable of generating turnovers and stopping teams that had fallen into predictable playcalling patterns from the pressure of being two or more scores behind arguably the best offense in the history of the NFL. It could reasonably be called a good defense, but to call it great or historical is an exaggeration.

by Illmatic74 :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 9:17pm

Looks like Bill Simmons took the bait from the Patriots PR machine hook, line and sinker.

by dmstorm22 :: Sat, 10/09/2010 - 3:40am

Don't think you need to be a master angler to reel in Billy boy. The Raiders PR "machine" could reel him in.

by tuluse :: Sat, 10/09/2010 - 4:32am

I'm pretty sure no PR machine has ever reeled him in. He's just a fan and sees things the way he does. It's pretty easy to talk yourself into thinking that letting a 33 year old receiver go is good for the team.

by funkdoc (not verified) :: Sat, 10/09/2010 - 9:42am

did you read his column on vick's comeback? i have to think that constitutes being "reeled in"

by dmstorm22 :: Sat, 10/09/2010 - 1:20pm

Its not football, but he definitely bought the Red Sox "we're gonna win with sabermetrics, and defense and pitching." Sure, injuries ruined their season, but before the injuries, they weren't in first, and Bill was already complaining for believing everything the Red Sox were telling him.

by CoachDave :: Sat, 10/09/2010 - 9:45am

So you mention "sources", then throw out a generalizing statement of "is about half as bad as it actually was"...to justify/rationalize the trade as "it had to happen" and then refuse to give specifics and then give some ridiculous rationale about "I'm a stat guy" so that's why.

No, I don't buy it at all.

Aaron, if you want to play the "I can't, I'm the stat guy" card then speak with a statistical analysis POV. If you want to throw out unsubstantiated rumors (a la Florio) and then back away from what are obvious questions of specifics and curiosity of people who would read such statements, then don't be surprised when people start questioning your ability to do what I believe is the core competency of this website.

by Jerry :: Sat, 10/09/2010 - 8:57pm

Aaron is trying to let us know that he's heard from people who he believes that Moss was more disruptive than has been publicly stated. I don't blame him for not wanting to lose access to the people he talked to.

You can believe Aaron or not. I do.

by PatsFan :: Sun, 10/10/2010 - 10:28am

Same here. On both counts.

by Dennis :: Sat, 10/09/2010 - 12:26pm

This is where I think Aaron is wrong: "I'm sure there were more than a few people out there waiting for Bill Simmons to give his take on the Randy Moss trade".

I find it hard to believe anyone was thinking to themselves "Gee, I can't wait to read what Bill Simmons says about the Moss trade".

by tuluse :: Sat, 10/09/2010 - 7:03pm

You'd be wrong.

by Ben :: Sat, 10/09/2010 - 7:53pm

You're right, he probably should have said:

I find it hard to believe anyone who is not a Patriots fan was thinking to themselves "Gee, I can't wait to read what Bill Simmons says about the Moss trade".

by mathesond :: Sun, 10/10/2010 - 1:46am

You're absolutely right. I find it nigh on impossible to believe that a columnist with a reputation for cheering on his hometown teams, who also manages to get hundreds of thousands of pageviews each month and whose podcasts are among the most downloaded, would have a portion of his readership large enough to want to read his opinion on his football team's trade of a controversial Hall of Fame player

by Nathan :: Sat, 10/09/2010 - 8:51pm

i actually like simmons... some of his schtick is a little stretched but he has an occasional gem of an article. the correspondence ones with malcom gladwell (another writer whose schtick can grow tiresome) were particularly good.

by billsfan :: Sun, 10/10/2010 - 7:26pm

You could probably create a simple algorithm to generate Bill Simmons's response to pretty much anything. That's why it's hilarious that A) there are people waiting to hear his opinion and B) there are people who think there are other people waiting to hear his opinion. Now if it were, "For those of you playing Bill Simmons Bingo, see which predictable tropes he uses in his latest column," then I'd probably agree.

As I said earlier, it's been years since I've read any of his stuff. If it was predictable and repetitive then, I can't imagine it's gotten any less so.

Sure, his podcast is highly downloaded, but so is [political demogauge you disagree with]'s podcast.

(I also like the Eagles)

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Mon, 10/11/2010 - 9:35am

"You could probably create a simple algorithm to generate Bill Simmons's response to pretty much anything."

EXACTLY. When I read the "I'm sure people couldn't wait to hear Simmons' take" line, my first thought was "I'm pretty sure I already know Simmons' take without even reading it." He's TMQ with an everyman style (forced IMO).

by Yaguar :: Sat, 10/09/2010 - 2:43pm

I thought it had to involve character. Consider that the Pats front office was willing to give up a 3rd and a 5th for a then-31-year-old Derrick Burgess.

If you really think the Pats front office believes that Burgess is (slightly) more valuable than Moss, raise your hand. Anyone?

Thought so.