Randy Moss is an honest dude. Two quotes of his stick out in my mind over the years: “I play when I want to play,” and “Straight cash homie!” Those two quotes translate to: “I want to feel like a valued employee,” and, “It’s all about the Benjamin’s baby.”
Management of talented people can be a difficult proposition, but it can be done effectively by simply listening. No matter what the industry or area of life, people want to have their voice heard for the value that they think they can provide to others. People like to help. People like to be involved. People don’t like feeling like pawns. That’s Management 101.
The NFL is an industry predicated on the athletic talent of its players. Thus, when you have especially talented players, you want to make for dang sure that you listen to them for whatever input they may have. Included in Moss’ complaints after the Vikings loss to his former team, the New England Patriots, was mention that he tried to provide insight into the tendencies of the Patriots’ game planning. Moss mentioned that players on the Vikings team suggested that the things he said proved true during the game. Athletic Competition 101 will tell a coaching leader that players love to perform against their former teams. It’s no different than ex-lovers parading around with their new lady or beau in front of their ex. It’s human nature.
Though Tom Brady may have been stroking Randy Moss’ ego when he said that Moss was one of the smartest players that he has ever played with, the fact of the matter is that Brady has won three Super Bowls, and he said it. Thus, if Brad Childress didn’t go out of his way to nurture some information from Randy Moss with regard to beating the Patriots, then that’s just plain not smart. That’s like being unemployed and having a friend that is a headhunter and not giving them a call.
Now beyond the nuts and bolts use of Moss and his possible wisdom against opponents, Childress obviously did not properly plan for the dynamic personality that is Randy Moss. Moss speaks his mind and acts out when he is upset. This much has been proven for more than a decade now, and the only reason the Vikings were able to draft Moss in the first place was because he “got to trippin’” while he was in college. Thus, if you are bringing Moss onto your team, you need to know that there is a unique “country boy” sense of respect that you need to extend to him so that he constantly feels welcome and appreciated, and subsequently doesn’t “get to trippin’.” Childress, apparently, didn’t do this, and a familiar movie unfolded. So it is not that Childress made a “poor decision” it is that he poorly managed an extremely valuable asset. Part of me thinks that Childress thought he would use Moss as a pawn, while waiting for receiver Sidney Rice to get back from injury. Country boys smell the pawn treatment a mile away, and I think that is why you heard Moss say, “I don’t know how long I will be here” as soon as he got here only a month ago. And with Moss being “All about the Benjamins”, he didn’t mind trippin’ because he knew he was gonna get paid anyway… “Straight cash homie.”
Now I often try and blow sunshine in people’s ears and eye’s, but occasionally you gotta call ‘em like you see ‘em. In 2007 Childress docked Troy Williamson’s pay for missing a Sunday game due to attending his Grandmother’s funeral on the Monday immediately following. A lot of players, and people, including myself, didn’t dig on that too tough. Williamson’s Grandmother basically served as his Mother in childhood, and most folks would probably miss work the day before their Mother’s funeral. Childress called it a “business principle.” Many employees of the world are familiar with “business decisions”, and it doesn’t bring up good feelings.
As the song lyrics go, “Mindblowing decisions, cause head-on collisions.” Childress and Moss seem to need an etiquette class to explain the proper usage of a butter knife, steak knife, and meat cleaver; they all serve a purpose. Management 101. My bet is that Vikings owner Zygi Wilf already took that class…if you know what I mean.