GLENDALE, Ariz. – "What's happening?"
And with that Randy Moss took to his Media Day podium, in front of which was the largest crowd of any waiting for New England's roster of players and coaches to address the endless journalists on hand for what has become a Super Bowl week event in and of itself.
"I guess I was a little stunned to come out here and see everybody out here, especially waiting here at my booth," Moss said. "It is an experience and I'm enjoying every second of it."
The first year Patriots wide receiver is coming off a season in which he broke Jerry Rice's touchdown reception record while earning All-Pro honors. His 98 catches for 1,493 yards and 23 scores puts 2007 among the most productive seasons in his 10-year career, proving he still has the talent he had when he entered the league with Minnesota in 1998.
But he's never had the chance to display his rare skills on the biggest platform the sport has to offer.
"Before I retired I wanted to have a chance to play on this stage. Not for the, all the publicity and everything, but just playing in a Super Bowl," Moss said Tuesday inside University of Phoenix Stadium. "You hear a lot of greats and a lot of guys making their name as Super Bowl MVPs and being able to win the big game. So that's what I really wanted, I wanted to be on this stage to play the big game, the last game of the season."
As impressive as his regular season was, his postseason has been a bit quit. In two games he's caught just two passes for 32 yards. Looking ahead to Sunday, Moss is ready to have a breakout postseason performance but as he's done all season he'll continue to put team goals ahead of his own statistics.
"I hope so," Moss replied when asked if he was ready for a big game. "I really hope it's a big game from our team as a whole. Because I think that all this season hasn't really been individuals, it's been collectively the way we have been winning. So hopefully from a team standpoint I hope we come together collectively for one last game to really make something special happen."
Moss also points to the way teams have been defending him as the reason for his slow postseason to date. He's generally had success in the playoffs in his career, including 35 catches for 723 yards (20.7 avg.) and nine touchdowns in eight games prior to his work in a Patriots uniform. But he's seen the Jaguars and Chargers go to extreme means to take him out of the games this January, leaving his teammates to pick up some of the slack in the New England passing attack.
"I think that we had a game plan to go out there and make things happen. But I think once teams try to take a certain player out of the game then it's up to other players to step up and make it happen," Moss said. "Last couple of weeks they have been doubling me and somewhat triple covering me. It was up to the other guys – you know it is a team sport – so it was up to the other guys to make things happen. So my thought process of playing four quarters and not receiving the ball or not even seeing the ball was just, 'it's playoff time.' I think early in my career I would have probably gone over there and tried to voice my opinion of certain plays and certain ways to get open. But now I have younger guys such as [Wes] Welker, [Jabar] Gaffney and [Donte'] Stallworth. Those guys, their bodies are a little bit fresher than mine, their legs are a little bit fresher. So I definitely don't have a problem with what they are doing and I never had a problem with any of my teammates. It's just now that I know that I'm a little bit older and their bodies are a little bit fresher than mine. So if I can do anything to contribute to a victory I'm willing."
That doesn't mean he's looking to be held to a single catch for the third time in three games.
"No, not in the Super Bowl. I think what we've done in the past week and a half to prepare, practice, weight training and eating right, things like that, I'm setting myself up to come out here and show the world what I've really got," said the ever confident playmaker.
Moss will get his chance to do that Sunday as the Patriots look to close out the perfect 19-0 season in Glendale. Whether it's as a decoy distracting Giants defensive backs as has been the case in recent weeks or a big play machine as he was for most of the season Moss knows the perfect ending is within reach. In fact it's why he wanted to come to New England in the first place.
"Knowing that I still had a few more years to play football, I wanted to make the best of the next couple of years or however long I had left in this league," Moss said. "Being able to become a New England Patriot is something I never believed would happen. I've always said since the day I got here, that I'm living the dream and I'm still happy. To be a part of something as special as it seems now, I'm still living the dream."
His dream ends in the biggest game of his career on Sunday and Moss is as ready as ever to put on a show.