Tuesday, August 2, 2011

This Is Pretty Wonderful

The football world was rocked yesterday by the announcement that Randy Moss was announcing his retirement, which sparked the reaction from most of "he was still playing?" and the reaction from me of "What will NBC do during the Triple Crown now?"

I kid.

Randy Moss was the most physically gifted receiver I ever saw -- and maybe in the history of the game -- so seeing him walk off into the sunset is a) a bit strange and b) a sign that I'm getting older. Anyone who remembers how much he lit up the NFL during his rookie season in 1998 could not possibly forget what it was like to watch a phenomenon like that, and over the course of his career he put together a first-ballot Hall of Fame resume that included both his record-breaking 23-touchdown season in 2007 and some of his lesser, but hilarious moments as you can see to the right.

Also, he had some great hair.

But in one of the bizarre aspects of the modern game (and also to help make the segue to what I really wanted to write about today) Randy Moss hit up several stops in his career even though he will primarily be associated with Minnesota and to a lesser extent New England. Moss was a Viking, a Raider, a Patriot, a Viking again for four weeks and a Titan. If you forgot that he was a Titan and a Raider, it's ok. So did he apparently. What's interesting to note in all of this however, is that Randy Moss had three different numbers in his career, 84, 18 and 81, a peculiarity because as my old college roommate Pat Dorsey has noted on ESPN.com, taking your uniform number with you at whatever cost is a time honored tradition in the NFL, with numerous players cutting lucrative deals to give their number up when a star who wants it arrives in town.

Moss, who must not have been interested in dealing with the petulant Jerry Porter, didn't do this, but yesterday his former team got in the mix in one of the best, most fun videos I've ever seen between two professional athletes, as Vikings punter/rock star/total nerd Chris Kluwe made an official deal with new quarterback Donovan McNabb to surrender over his No. 5 jersey.

Now, I have made fun of Donovan McNabb before, a casualty of his epic, underappreciated career with the Eagles, and his inability to know basic NFL rules, but he generally comes across as an affable, dedicated, talented, professional quarterback with a pretty good sense of humor. But given his relative star power and track record, it's a safe bet he would want his No. 5, and Kluwe knew it, so pre-empting any controversy, he laid out his terms on twitter.
What this led to was an impromptu press conference yesterday that was posted on Vikings.com in which the pair forged an agreement on how to transfer the digit. In the end the two hammered out a three pronged deal that will benefit both parties involved and help out some of the less fortunate on the side. And lest you think this could be broken by either party, think again. There's a very real official seal on the agreement.

The terms essentially broke down as such: Chris Kluwe gives his No. 5 to Donovan McNabb and in exchange McNabb makes good on the following requirements:

1) McNabb must mention Kluwe's band Tripping Icarus in five non-consecutive press conferences
2) McNabb must donate $5,000 to Kick For A Cure, a charity that benefits Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
3) McNabb must buy Kluwe an ice cream cone

And he will really enjoy that ice cream cone.

This is amazing. Why, you ask? Well it's pretty simple. McNabb gets his number, money goes to charity, and both Kluwe and McNabb get to showcase their senses of humor. Plus, you really can't underestimate the value of that ice cream cone, though given my recent travels to Europe I'd be more on board with gelato. In any event, I have nothing else to add to this because the humor and greatness speaks for itself, but it seems pretty clear to me that the world would be better off with more sports celebrities that have the sense of humor and self promotion of Kluwe. Besides, it's a way better number transaction than when Plaxico Burress paid to build Jeff Feagles an outdoor kitchen and then stiffed him on the bill.

On this one, everybody's happy.

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