Let me tell you about my favorite Santana Moss memory. I was sitting at a table at the old Willie and Reed's bar in downtown Bethesda. It had been a long Monday night. The Redskins were in Dallas. The game was 3-0 in favor of the Cowgirls at halftime, but the Redskins quickly gave up a big play to Terry Glenn in the third quarter. With somewhere around nine minutes to go in the game, Dallas kicked a field goal that all but sealed the deal at 13-0.
I was there with maybe eight or nine people, but my ride was a buddy of mine from Baltimore who roots for the Ravens. He suggested leaving. I convinced him it was important to continue drinking so that we could all achieve some level of acceptance that the Redskins' offense really was incompetent.
When Mark Brunell connected on the first touchdown pass to Moss, I remember being more excited about the fact that we scored at all than having any chance to win. The home team could have run out the clock. They didn't. By the time Santana Clause finished off the 70-yard touchdown play that gave the Redskins a one-point lead and win, I was hooked.
I love me some Santana Moss.
People will argue that one day's work can't cement any kind of legendary status. I disagree. People accuse me all the time for loving Santana Moss too much because of one game he had against the Cowgirls. Did you SEE that game? It was ridiculous. Every bar emptied. People were honking their horns and dancing in the street. Santana Moss will forever be linked to that.
And no ... it is not simply one game that made Moss a fan favorite. There is the overtime touchdown catch against Jacksonville. There are the punt returns where Moss was asked to go out and make something happen to secure victory. And we can't forget about all those wide receiver screens he ran for first downs and more.
But it would be unfair to hint that Moss' impact was/is limited to only on Sundays. He emerged as a leader off the field. He cared. Redskin fans have appreciated his passion since he arrived on the scene. He has never been a "paycheck player." You could tell he took losing personally. You could tell that his numbers meant less to him than whether we won or lost.
Brandon Banks, among others, indicated this week that it was Moss who showed him the ropes in the big leagues. We always got the sense that Moss cared about the growth and development of his teammates because he understood that in order for him to have a chance to win, he had to be instrumental in bringing them along.
In an era of mind-numbing mediocrity, Santana Moss put forth maximum effort and invested his heart and soul into representing Redskin fans on the field on Sundays. That is more than we can say for many of the men who suited up for us.
While some uncertainty still exists with regard to the immediate future for No. 89, one thing has not been in doubt for a long time: our respect for a player that has fought through year after year of insanity on a team that has specialized in chaos.
If and when the day comes to officially say goodbye to Santana Moss, it will be a sad one indeed. My hope is that we will have the chance to pull for Moss in the playoffs next year for a contender that is able to properly use his skills. We know that on the big time stage, Moss will rise to the occasion. He always did for us.