Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss may have been giving Green Bay Packers fans a dose of their own mooning medicine when he pretended to drop his pants at the Lambeau Field crowd after his second touchdown in the Vikings' playoff victory over the Packers on Sunday.
According to Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, a handful of Packers fans stand outside and often "moon" the opponents' team bus after games. Dungy, who was the Vikings defensive coordinator from 1992 to '95 and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' coach from 1996 to 2001, saw it firsthand during his 10 years coaching in the same division as the Packers.
"I thought (what Moss did) was kind of humorous. It's not the kind of thing you want to see on national TV, but I understand what it was all about," Dungy told reporters Monday in Indianapolis. "Anyone who has played in the NFC Central
(or North) knows what that's about. The fans in Green Bay have a tradition in the parking lot after the game where they moon the visiting team's bus. It's kind of a unique send-off."
Vikings coach Mike Tice said Monday he also has seen Packers fans do it in the past. Tice also took issue with some of the things fans behind the Vikings' bench yelled at his team.
"I always felt that Green Bay fans had a tremendous amount of class. I didn't see that displayed particularly often (Sunday)," Tice said. "Some of the things that I heard were unlike Green Bay fans, and maybe they weren't the normal season-ticket holders. I don't know."
After the Vikings took a 17-0 lead with 6 minutes left in the first quarter, the Fox television cameras caught Moss apparently good-naturedly exchanging words with fans behind the bench, holding his hand up to his ear and smiling. Then, Moss pointed to the scoreboard, and while there was no sound on the broadcast, his lips could be clearly read: "Take a look at the (expletive) scoreboard," he yelled twice.
Moss did not speak to reporters Monday, but as he left the field after the game, he told Fox he was "just having a little fun with the boys. I hope I don't get in trouble by it, but if I do I'll take the heat."
Packers safety Darren Sharper called the Moss mooning incident "downright disrespectful" and "a disgrace."
"He knows the rivalry we have, and I thought he'd have more respect for our team and our fans and the guys he was going against," Sharper said. "I don't think he necessarily did it as a smack in the face to the guys on the field, but that was degrading."
Moss, whose base salary for this season is $5.75 million, likely will be fined $5,000 by the NFL, as Denver Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer was for making an obscene finger gesture at a heckling fan in Denver last month. Tice confirmed the league had contacted him about Moss' behavior but refused further comment.
"The league has called me, and they're going to handle it, and that's it," said Tice, adding he didn't see what Moss did until Sunday night on TV.
Television officials, who have been criticized for Janet Jackson's exposed breast during the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show last February and a steamy "Monday Night Football" introduction earlier this season featuring Philadelphia receiver Terrell Owens and "Desperate Housewives" star Nicolette Sheridan, condemned Moss' behavior.
Fox did not show a replay of Moss' display during the game, as a spokesman said doing so would have been "inappropriate." When it happened, Fox play-by-play announcer Joe Buck said, "That is a disgusting act by Randy Moss. And it's unfortunate that we had that on our air live." ESPN did not show replays of it Sunday but did replay the incident several times Monday.
It is the second time in as many weeks that Moss has been embroiled in controversy. Last week, he left the field with 2 seconds left in the Vikings' loss at Washington, drawing the ire of teammates.
"In all honesty, I'm glad that the pressure and all the talk was about me, because I can take the (negative) criticism," Moss said after catching four passes for 70 yards and two touchdowns Sunday.
"But you didn't hear one thing in the paper this week talking about the Washington loss. All you heard was Moss walking off the field, so that was a good thing. I felt very comfortable with being able to take the heat."
\ Contact Jason Wilde at firstname.lastname@example.org or 252-6176.