GLENDALE, Ariz. — The rank and file New England Patriots ask us to disbelieve our eyes. Ask us to suspend reality. Ask us to dismiss the notion that Randy Moss and Wes Welker, their arsenic and strychnine receiving duo, form an odd couple.
Forgive us. We were confused by their size; Moss is 6-foot-4, Welker 5-foot-9. Confused by their speed; Moss is a blazer, Welker a shifter.
Confused by their skin color (black, white) and confused by their pedigree (Moss entered 2007 with 101 NFL touchdowns, Welker a lonesome one) and confused by their age (Welker 26, Moss almost 31).
Confused by their pasts. Moss has found trouble at all stops; Welker is half Eagle Scout, half Opie Taylor, as any Oklahoma Citian will testify. Confused by their personality; Moss is brash and outspoken, Welker unassuming.
Not the odd couple? Then neither were Oscar Madison and Felix Unger, Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley, or pickles and peanut butter.
But for Super Bowl purposes, Moss and Welker are alike in the manner that matters most. Production.
This is a flanker duo of epic performance. In New England's historic unbeaten regular season, Welker had 112 catches for 1,175 yards and eight touchdowns, Moss 98 catches for 1,493 yards and 23 TDs.
And that's all their New England teammates seem to see. At Super Bowl media day Tuesday in University of Phoenix Stadium, no Patriot would bite on the Oscar/Felix theory.
"Don't believe that,” tailback Kevin Faulk said. "They both work hard. They both understand the game of football. They both want to win. Those two guys, all they want to do is play football. Not do anything else.”
Offensive tackle Wesley Britt laughed at all the similarities.
"They're both fast,” Britt said. "They're both receivers. They're both Patriots. They both wear the same color jerseys. Both two hands and two feet. Both great receivers, both great teammates.”
Before this New England 2007 juggernaut, you certainly couldn't get a quorum around the league on that last sentence.
Great receiver? Welker didn't fit the bill. The Chargers cut him and the Dolphins traded him away for two chinstraps and a partridge in a pear tree.
Great teammate? No way would the Vikings or Raiders sign off on Moss. Moss didn't start forest fires like Terrell Owens, but he played half-speed when things didn't go his way, which is not very popular in NFL whirlpools.
But in New England, great has been an accurate description.