The meaning of Moss and the mask

The video above is the (feel-good) moment* of the Patriots season, in its entirety, shot by a fan. It’s tremendous — it has Randy Moss’s third touchdown of Sunday’s game, Jack Del Rio’s ridiculous challenge (was he scheming a 35-point play?) and the video board give-and-take with a fan wearing a Moss mask and an Afro wig. The 2:12 mark is where the fun starts.

(* — What do you think the moment, period, of the season is? I’d say the most memorable thing that happened this season was the fourth and 2 in Indianapolis. Any other good ideas?)

As has been widely documented, Moss’s reaction showed how fully engaged he was and made for a nice, redemptive storyline following what happened in his last home game. The scene also underscored something else from Sunday: The Patriots had fun.


They punctuated big defensive plays with flying chest bumps and dogpiles. That is sort of a chicken-and-egg thing — they didn’t have much to celebrate while they eked past Carolina and Buffalo. But it seemed from the opening plays of the game the Patriots brought to the field Sunday an energy that had been lacking the past few weeks.

Maybe it stemmed from their week of practice. Bill Belichick has twice mentioned the Patriots had one of their best weeks of the year, and they were particularly sharp Thursday and Friday. Whatever the reason, the Patriots played with swagger again Sunday.

You could maybe call that argument to play the starters Sunday and keep the momentum. You could definitely call it an excuse to post that video in this blog.

  • Kudos to’s Chris Price, who tracked down the kid behind the mask, 12-year-old Josiah Shumaker of New London, Conn. According to Price, Shumaker is a Moss fan who was taking in his first Patriots game in person with his father, James, from their second-row seats in Section 135. Shumaker said he bought the Moss mask at the Patriots Pro Shop.
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