Randy Moss' first year with the Minnesota Vikings was about as good as it gets.
The Vikings' first round draft pick set the league on fire with 17 touchdown catches in that 1998-99 season, a rookie record that still stands. And the team was historically good, too, going 15-1, and reaching the NFC Championship game, where ... uh, something happened with a field goal, and the Vikings lost 30-27 in overtime to the Atlanta Falcons.
If Moss could go back in time, that would've been his last game with the team.
The sure-fire first ballot Hall of Famer said as much to Kevin Garnett last night, as the two former late '90s Minneapolis stars reunited on KG's "Area 21" talk show. First they watched some of each other's commercials and had some laughs.
Then things got pretty heady.
"I wanted to ask you," Garnett said, "if you could do it all over again, would you have left 'sota -- cuz you did leave it -- and when would you have left? Or if it was up to you would you have stayed the whole time?"
Ever candid, Moss said he thought he only had one ally in the Vikings organization.
"When I was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings, coach [Denny] Green pulled the trigger. We had a bond, it was more like a father-son bond. And I felt that he wanted me there, in Minnesota. But after he left, it felt like they did not want Denny's players there in Minnesota anymore. So if I could go back in time and change things, I probably would've left after the 15-1 season. That's just crazy, that's how football is. It's not the game, it's the business. Coming from college, it's just football. Then when you go to the pros, it's football plus x, y, and z. Like I said, I had to learn on the go, but like I said, I was loyal to the Minnesota Vikings, I was loyal to caoch Green and that organization. For them to ship me out [after] six years, and not understanding the business -- what I do know now, I'da probably got outta there my second year."
Interestingly, both Moss and Garnett ultimately sought greener pastures in the Boston area: Garnett with a short-lived Celtics super-team, and Moss with the New England Patriots. After years toiling on a bunch of middling Timberwolves teams (and one good one), Garnett finally got his championship ring.
Moss, meanwhile, topped even the heights of his rookie year with the Vikings, catching a record 23 touchdowns on a Patriots team that went 16-0 and reached the Super Bowl, where they lost to the New York Giants.
Moss' answer about wishing he'd left Minnesota earlier is doubly interesting because, of course, he came back to the Vikings for a second stint. That time also ended badly. Perhaps he's blocked it out of his memory.
Watch the full segment with Moss and Garnett below.