By Larry Fitzgerald
Childress makes a costly emotional decision
I give up. I have seen it all over the last three decades come full circle: Vikings founder Max Winter and team President Mike Lynn’s ownership fight, Pecos River, the Herschel Walker trade, the Love Boat cruise, the Dennis Green years, Head Coach Mike Tice scalping Super Bowl tickets.
Fifty years of Vikings football, and the celebration of that fact has now blown up in the Vikings’ faces. Emotional decisions cost you big every time, and that’s the bottom line. When Bud Grant cut Alan Page years ago, it was wrong.
The Vikings are 2-5 and are tied with the Detroit Lions in the NFC North â€” that is the reality of losing close games week after week. After all the drama of the streak, 292 consecutive starts last week and Brett Favre playing with two fractured bones in his left ankle, now Randy Moss returns to New England from where, just 26 days ago, he had been traded.
We should have known that the combustion chamber that is the Vikings locker room would explode. This season has become bigger than a game of football, and we are watching it crumble before our very eyes.
This team has lost eight straight road games, four in a row this season. When you make emotional decisions, you will make the wrong one 100 percent of the time.
That’s what Randy Moss did when he stepped to the post-game interview podium with his black Boston Red Sox hat on, and that’s what Brad Childress has done by cutting him. “Definitely down that we lost this game,” said Moss, “because I didn’t really expect for us to lose this game knowing that we had a few things to clean up. I wish we could’ve had that three at the end of the first half. Maybe it could have been different. Maybe not.”
Those words “you can bet on” are why Childress cut Moss.
Two weeks ago, Childress threw his quarterback, Brett Favre, under the bus for throwing interceptions in the Packers loss. That was wrong, and the entire Vikings locker room told me so.
They did not like the fact that Childress climbed all over Favre after the game like that publicly. Privately, yes, but not in front of the world. He is your quarterback, is he not? He is your leader.
First, the football game: If you believe that the Patriots are better than the Vikings, you’re wrong. They did win the game. If you believe that the Green Bay Packers were better than the Vikings two weeks ago, you’re wrong again. Why are the Vikings continuing to lose games that are in their grasp?
Two weeks in a row the Vikings have surrendered. Up 17-14 just before the half to the Packers, and they lose 28-24. Sunday the game on the road was tied 7-7 with just over a minute left, first half, Vikings have the ball on the one-yard line on fourth down, and Childress decides to go for it. Against Bill Belichick?
Was it the result of the emotional baggage of that failed decision by Childress, or was it what Randy said about that decision that led Childress to cut Moss? “This decision was made based on what we thought was in the best interests of the Minnesota Vikings, both in the short and long term,” Childress said. The Vikings are on the hook for $1.5 million of Moss’s $6.4 million salary.
If Moss is claimed, the team that signs him is responsible for the rest. If he clears waivers, he can sign as a free agent. The Vikings gave New England a third-round draft choice next year for Moss in the trade less than a month ago. Now that’s crazy.
This decision will cost the Vikings a lot more in the locker room and with fans. It’s a desperate act by Childress.
Clearly Moss was emotional with what he said and the way he said it. You want loyalty? Buy a dog. You score 50 touchdowns in four years in New England and lose a Super Bowl in the last minute on an 18-1 team, maybe the greatest in NFL history? You score 23 touchdowns in one season, an NFL record, and you are not allowed to have emotion? Moss was an emotional wreck all week. All he needed from Childress was compassion.
Give me a break. Moss is human. He was caught in the middle playing for the team that drafted him and traded him and brought him back the Vikings. And four weeks later he was playing against his former team and the coach he has great respect for.
Childress, this is an emotional decision that will cost you. You can count on that.
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, and on WDGY-AM Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm; he also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Larry welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.