|Moss Mystery Fan Unmasked||12.29.09 at 12:33 pm ET|
The masked man who had Gillette Stadium laughing on Sunday was actually a 12-year-old fan attending his first-ever Patriots game.
Josiah Shumaker is from New London, Conn., and was attending his first NFL game with his father, James. The two were sitting together in the second row of Section 135 at Gillette Stadium when the cameras caught Shumaker in his Randy Moss Mask — which he picked up before the game at the Patriots’ Pro Shop — celebrating Moss’ third touchdown of the day in a 35-7 rout of Jacksonville.
“I thought it was pretty cool,” Shumaker told WEEI.com Tuesday morning. “I was just trying to have some fun at my first game.”
Moss and Shumaker went back and forth — Shumaker started with Moss’ signature “separation” move, drawing cheers from a sold-out Gillette Stadium. Moss saw what was going on, and responded with a move of his own, drawing more cheers. Shumaker continued the celebration, pumping his fist and getting the crowd louder and louder. Moss, egged on by his teammates, continued the interaction. (To see the complete exchange, click here.)
And as officials continued their review to see if Moss has crossed the goal line, Gillette Stadium erupted with a chant of “Ran-dy! Ran-dy! Ran-dy!”
Shumaker’s shared celebration with Moss was undoubtedly the lightest moment of the season at Gillette Stadium, and quickly became a hot postgame topic in the Patriots locker room.
“It was entertaining,” said Moss, who finished with four catches for 45 yards on the day. “You know, I had a lot of teammates wanting me to mess with the guy. He put a little humor into it and I enjoyed it, man. That’s the thing about having fun. When things go right, you get the fans in the game, you get the players in the game. So it was a stadium full of fun today and I think we all enjoyed it.”
“I’m looking for one of those masks on eBay. I don’t know if I can pick one of those up,” said quarterback Tom Brady. “Yeah, it was hard to miss that.”
“You don’t so much see the fro and things like that; it’s pretty extraordinary,” said wide receiver Wes Welker. “Plus, what he does out there is extraordinary.”
After the game on the way out of Gillette Stadium, Shumaker was a celebrity.
“I walked out the stadium, and people were asking me for pictures and stuff,” said Shumaker, who hopes to get to a playoff game. “I couldn’t get out of the gate.”
Shumaker, who is a running back and linebacker in his youth football league back in Connecticut, just moved to New England from Florida, and has been playing the last five seasons. (According to his father, he has 37 touchdowns in his last two seasons playing in New London.) The youngster is a big Moss fan, saying the receiver “has a good attitude toward the game — he can make plays.”
He also believes the Patriots still have a shot at the Super Bowl, and has a message for Moss.
“I would tell him don’t worry about what other people think,” Shumaker said. “Just play your game.”
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