Quotulatiousness

March 29, 2017

Teddy Bridgewater’s recovery appears to be ahead of expectations

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

The darkest moment of the 2016 Vikings season was the severe knee injury sustained by quarterback Teddy Bridgewater just before the start of the regular season. While initial reports were confused, it appeared that the injury was potentially life-threatening and that Teddy might never play again. Yesterday, Teddy posted a short video to his Instagram account:

At the Daily Norseman, Christopher Gates reacts:

Obviously, he doesn’t look quite the same at this point, but again … he’s seven months removed from his leg almost falling off, so it’s still pretty impressive. We’ve seen Bridgewater doing agility drills in videos previously, but this is the first time we’ve seen him doing what Mike Zimmer might refer to as “football-related activities.”

We know that Bridgewater has a long way to go (and, if he’s attempting to get back for 2017, a short time to get there). But after what he meant to the team in his first two seasons and how many Vikings fans immediately took to him since he was drafted, it’s hard not to be happy as heck to see this.

Hopefully we’ll have more … and continuing positive … updates on Teddy Bridgewater’s progress.

The Star Tribune reported that Vikings general manager Rick Spielman made a surprising comment on Teddy’s recovery (unrelated to yesterday’s video):

How is Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s recovery from a devastating knee injury coming along? This might be a clue: GM Rick Spielman is making a surprising link between Bridgewater’s recovery work and that of former Viking Adrian Peterson during his now legendary comeback. Spielman, at the NFL owners’ meetings, said he watched quarterback Bridgewater last week and was impressed with what he saw. “I know he’s been working extremely hard. As far as a timeline, I know he was in last week and continuing to rehab with our medical staff and [head athletic trainer] Eric Sugarman,” Spielman said. “I can tell you there is no one I’ve seen other than Adrian [Peterson] when he came back from his ACL that has worked as hard as Teddy is working. And this is more significant than just an ACL. “But Teddy is incredible with the attitude and work ethic that he’s put in to get back on the field as quickly as we can.”

March 17, 2017

Vikings free agency 2017 so far…

Filed under: Football — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 03:00

After a pair of big name/big $$$ signings on the first few days of the 2017 free agency period, things got very quiet in Minnesota, leading fans on Twitter to get quite restive. Tempers didn’t improve as free agents moved on from the Vikings to join other NFL teams. Then, inevitably, the Vikings started to sign more free agents, splitting the Twitterati into multiple fractured groups of well-wishers and nay-sayers.

Here, in rough chronological order, are the arrivals, departures, and retentions as reported in the Twin Cities media and on various Vikings fan sites:

  • Retained – OL Zac Kerin (1 year extension). Kerin was an exclusive rights free agent (ERFA), so he had the choice of signing the tender or not playing this year. [Story]
  • Retained – OL Jeremiah Sirles (1 year extension). Sirles was also an ERFA who signed his tender.
  • Departed – LT Matt Kalil (to Carolina). Kalil needed a fresh start, so the attraction of playing on the same offensive line as his older brother Ryan was sufficient inducement for him to sign a big-money deal ($55.5 million over five years, with $25 million guaranteed) with the Panthers. [Story]
  • Departed – P Jeff Locke (to Indianapolis). Although Locke had his best year as a punter in 2016, he did not repay the investment the Vikings made by drafting him. He signed with the Colts for $3.45 million over two years. [Story]
  • Departed – TE Rhett Ellison (to NY Giants). Ellison was the Vikings’ best blocking tight end, but the Giants were able to offer significantly more money ($18 million over four years, with an $8 million guarantee). Ellison’s father, perhaps envying the media attention being lavished on Adrian Peterson’s father, tried to raise a stink about a toxic management/coaching environment in Minnesota. Sorry to lose Rhett, who was almost Kleinsasser-ish in his blocking abilities, but no regrets that we’ve probably heard the last from the senior Ellison. [Story]
  • Arrived – LT Riley Reiff (from Detroit). With Kalil definitely gone, the Vikings had to find someone to man the blind side for Sam Bradford (and hopefully at a later date, Teddy Bridgewater), and that man will be Reiff. Fans may have salivated at the hopes of signing a perennial All-Pro left tackle, but the Vikings really just need something closer to league average, competent play at this position. If Reiff can provide that, the Vikings are a significantly better team in 2017. In exchange for that hoped-for OL improvement, the Vikings are giving him $58.75 million over five years, with $26.3 million guaranteed. [Story]
  • Departed – WR Charles Johnson (to Carolina). The Vikings chose not to tender Johnson, which meant he became an unrestricted free agent (a second-round tender, as the team offered fellow wide receiver Adam Thielen would have guaranteed about half a million less than the $2.2 million/year the Panthers were willing to give him). [Story]
  • Departed – CB Captain Munnerlyn (to Carolina). Many had hoped that the Vikings would retain Munnerlyn (especially after watching his theoretical replacement get exposed in a few games), but Minnesota’s offer could not compete with the Panthers, so the Captain returns to the team that drafted him in 2009. The deal was reported to be a four-year, $21 million contract including a signing bonus of $6 million and $10.5 million guaranteed. [Story]
  • Arrived – RT Mike Remmers (from Carolina). After trying a one-year rental on former Bengal Andre Smith (and getting only a couple of games’ worth of sub-par play), Minnesota needed to upgrade the right tackle position and picked up one-time Viking Mike Remmers from the Panthers. Remmers will earn up to $30 million over five years, with $10.5 million guaranteed. [Story]
  • Departed – LB Audie Cole (to Jacksonville). Cole achieved pre-season superstar status with Vikings fans for back-to-back interceptions returned for touchdowns in a game against Buffalo. Unfortunately, he didn’t get as many opportunities during regular season games, and did not manage to become a regular starter. Still, it’s a very rare thing for a seventh-round draft pick to even make a pro roster, so Cole has done better for himself than most late-round picks ever manage. [Story]
  • Departed – WR Cordarrelle Patterson (to Oakland). Despite lobbying on social media for a return to Minnesota, Patterson eventually signed a deal with the Raiders. He had a rocky career in Minnesota, but started and ended on a high (we can just ignore the other two years). As a kick return specialist, he was the best in the business, but league rules to make kickoffs safer also blunted the impact he could have on a game from that position. As a wide receiver, he really only started to show his abilities last season but might have been more effective used as an occasional running back. [Story]
  • Arrived – DE Datone Jones (from Green Bay). Minnesota has completed their collection of UCLA linebackers, signing former outside linebacker Jones to join his college teammates Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks. Jones will compete for a job on the defensive line rather than at linebacker. [Story]
  • Departed – RT Andre Smith (to Cincinnati). Smith was a phantom figure on the Vikings’ offensive line, playing (badly) for only a few games before going onto the injured reserve list. He now mysteriously returns to the Bengals … and there’s not many who will miss him. [Story]
  • Retained – CB Terence Newman (1 year deal for $3.25 million). Coming back for one more year at age 39, Newman may be asked to fill in for the departed Captain Munnerlyn at the nickel or even to move to safety, depending on the development of Mackensie Alexander. [Story]
  • Retained – WR Adam Thielen (3 year extension for $17 million that could escalate to $27 million). Thielen absolutely earned his contract, having started as an undrafted free agent, joining the practice squad, then the regular roster as a special teams player, then gradually earning playing time at wide receiver. His breakout year in 2016 made it imperative for the Vikings to retain his services. [Story]
  • Arrived – RB Latavius Murray (from Oakland). After toying with former Packer Eddie Lacy, the Vikings signed Murray for a three year deal at a reported $5 million per year (which can void after one year). Hopefully this ends any more speculation about Adrian Peterson returning to Minnesota, although Murray said he will not be requesting jersey number 28 out of respect. [Story]

This leaves, as far as I can tell, the following free agents as yet unsigned with the Vikings or other teams in the league:

  • QB Shaun Hill
  • RB Adrian Peterson
  • FB Zach Line
  • LT Jake Long
  • RB Matt Asiata
  • DE Justin Trattou
  • RG Brandon Fusco
  • RG Mike Harris

March 11, 2017

Free Agency 2017 – the second day

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

Yesterday’s feeding frenzy couldn’t last, so today’s news was less frenzied and a bit more sensible. The Vikings again only signed one player: former Carolina Panthers offensive tackle Mike Remmers (who started his career as an undrafted free agent with the Vikings in 2013). While details of Riley Reiff’s deal from Thursday are still not public [Updated, see bottom of the post], it was announced that Remmers signed a five-year contract for $30 million with $10.5 million guaranteed. Given how offensive line salaries have rocketed so far this year in free agency, $6 million per year seems almost reasonable. Adding Remmers at right tackle means former Riley Reiff is probably locked in at left tackle, so the (pre-draft) offensive line-up is likely:

    LT-Riley Reiff
    LG-Alex Boone
    C-Joe Berger
    RG-Jeremiah Sirles
    RT-Mike Remmers

That’s not going to strike fear in the hearts of defensive co-ordinators, but it’s almost certainly a significant upgrade from last year’s 29th-ranked unit. Let’s be generous and say that could be a mid-teens-level unit. With no other changes to the team, that would probably be the difference between an 8-8 season and a 10-6 season. I, for one, would take that.

If you’re a fan of Pro Football Focus rankings, here’s the comparison courtesy of The Daily Norseman:

Although Remmers and Reiff aren’t the big names that some fans wanted, they are substantial upgrades to what was one of the worst offensive lines in franchise history. But how much of an upgrade? Well, let’s use Pro Football Focus as a baseline … mainly because I can’t find a metric that has the same comparative numbers.

In 2016, PFF graded out Remmers/Reiff and the Vikings tackles like so:

TJ Clemmings 28.3
Matt Kalil 36.9
Andre Smith 39.1
Jake Long 63.9

Riley Reiff 67.5
Mike Remmers 66.1

If you want to make the valid argument that 2016 was an anomaly because of all the injuries, okay. And hey, it’s a legitimate point. So let’s go back to 2015, when the two Vikings tackles, Kalil and Clemmings, were relatively healthy and played all year:

Matt Kalil 68.4
TJ Clemmings 39.7

Riley Reiff 77.5
Mike Remmers 72.1

So the Vikings have gotten some much needed help on the o-line, and at face value, both guys look to be decent to substantial upgrades over what Minnesota had the last couple of years.

Other Viking free agents in the news included WR/KR Cordarrelle Patterson who visited Washington on Friday and was off to talk to the Raiders this weekend. For the record, I’d like to see Patterson stay with the Vikings, but I don’t think the team is planning to get into a bidding war for his services. The Vikings chose not to pick up his 2017 option for $7.9 million (which would have been insane), which made him a free agent this time around, but I could see him signing a deal in Minnesota or somewhere else for a lot more than the $1.009 million he made in 2016.

Charles Johnson is no longer a Viking, having signed a deal with the Carolina Panthers (gee, that team’s name pops up a lot) for $2.2 million … which is a bit of a reach based on his performance in 2016. Johnson had some nice on-field chemistry with Teddy Bridgewater, but couldn’t reproduce that with Sam Bradford under centre.

Disappointingly, the Panthers also announced that they’ve reached an agreement with former Viking cornerback Captain Munnerlyn. I’d hoped that Munnerlyn would be retained, as the player the team drafted to replace him (Mackensie Alexander) did not impress in limited action during the 2016 season. This may improve the chances that the team re-signs Terence Newman (in spite of both his age and his “freelancing” in the Green Bay game at the end of last season).

If free agency ended right now, you’d have to agree that the Vikings have at the very least addressed the biggest weaknesses on the team from 2016. In my uninformed opinion, they still need more depth at guard, tight end, and wide receiver, plus competition on special teams at kicker, punter, and kick returner. That’s not a terrible position to be in coming up to a draft where the team doesn’t have a first round pick, to be honest.

Update, March 11: The details on Reiff’s contract: “a five-year deal with a max value of $58.75 million, per a league source. The contract includes $26.3 million guaranteed, including his 2017 base salary of $6.2 million and his 2018 base salary of $9.1 million.” (Source: Star Tribune)

March 10, 2017

Free agency 2017 – the first day

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 06:00

From the opening gun of the 2017 league year (and also the first day of official free agency), the news was flowing thick and fast … unless you were a certain former Viking first-time free agent running back. Day one of free agency saw a run on offensive tackles, with almost any free agent who’d ever taken a snap at that position being offered incredibly lucrative deals. Tackle, of course is the single weakest position on the roster of the Minnesota Vikings entering the 2017 season, with one former starter at the position decisively choosing to move on from his rookie deal (Matt Kalil signed a less lucrative contract, at least by rumour, to join the Carolina Panthers, where his elder brother Ryan is the starting centre) and others (Jake Long, Andre Smith) no longer under contract.

Minnesota reportedly attempted to sign several other highly sought tackles, but ended up signing only former Detroit Lion Riley Reiff, who will probably be the new left tackle by default (other players under contract include T.J. Clemmings, Jeremiah Sirles, Rashod Hill, and left guard Alex Boone, who could kick outside to tackle if required). Reiff, who was selected in the first round of the same draft after Matt Kalil, can play either tackle position and graded out as an average-to-below-average player for Detroit over his career … which still means he represents an upgrade over the Vikings’ 2016 offensive tackles as a group.

Other former Viking free agents moved on to other teams, including tight end Rhett Ellison, who got a very nice deal from the Giants ($18 million over four years, with $8 million guaranteed), and punter Jeff Locke accepted an offer from the Indianapolis Colts (terms not yet disclosed).

Among the other Viking free agents whose names didn’t get mentioned today, Adrian Peterson clearly didn’t seem to get the kind of buzz he and his agent may have been expecting. Other running backs were busy announcing visits to various RB-needy teams, but no teams appeared to involve Peterson in their immediate plans.

March 9, 2017

Adrian Peterson reportedly feels disrespected that the Vikings haven’t extended him an offer

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

In a move that will undoubtedly endear him even more to the Minnesota Vikings and their fans, Adrian Peterson is upset at the team for not offering him a new contact after they declined his ultra-spendy $18 million option for 2017. At the Pioneer Press, Chris Tomasson got the latest Peterson rant details from the disgruntled running back’s father, Nelson Peterson:

Peterson’s father said his son remains interested in returning to Minnesota. However, he said the Vikings “would have made him feel more appreciated’’ had they given him a contract offer rather than let just let him test the market after passing last week on his $18 million option for 2017.

Nelson Peterson said his son is very interested in the Seahawks because they are a Super Bowl contender and their offensive coordinator, Darrell Bevell, held that position with the Vikings in Peterson’s first four NFL seasons.

“You look at the connections in Seattle, so there’s definitely interest there,” Nelson Peterson said in a phone interview. “Those are some pretty good years (Peterson had under Bevell).”

Peterson had rushing seasons of 1,341, 1,760, 1,383 and 1,298 yards from 2007-10 under Bevell.

[…]

Although Peterson’s dad said his son remains open to re-signing with the Vikings, he said he was displeased they never gave him an offer after deciding not to pick up his $18 million option for 2017.

“The Vikings should have come back with a number if you truly want him back,’’ said Nelson Peterson. “I listened to (general manager Rick Spielman say last week at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis that), ‘We’ll have to see what the market is?’ If you do want him back, give him a number. Is it $9 million? Is it $8 million? That would have made him feel more appreciated. … He’s done too much for the organization to be treated like (that).”

If Peterson honestly thinks his services are going to be worth $8 or 9 million to any team in the league, I strongly suspect he’s got a lot of disappointment in his immediate future. If the Vikings do offer him a deal, it’ll be after he’s got a better idea of what his actual market value is. And after all that the team has done to stick by him during his legal and medical issues, it’s hard to believe that they’re suddenly “disrespecting” him … it’s more that the team has much bigger issues to address and only so much money available to do that.

At the Daily Norseman, Christopher Gates clearly shares my feelings on the matter:

Over the course of his career with the Minnesota Vikings, Adrian Peterson has been the highest-paid running back in the history of the league. Of all of the players that have ever played the running back position, nobody has ever had more money deposited into their bank account by their employers than Adrian Peterson has. Yes, he’s won rushing titles. Yes, he won a rushing title as recently as 2015. In the two years that rushing title was sandwiched between, he ran for a grand total of 147 yards in four games. He made $12 million in each of those seasons. Yeah, he had to pay a fine in 2014. That was nobody’s fault but his, so I don’t care. He still got $12 million from the Vikings.

To say nothing of the way this team stood by Peterson in the wake of everything that happened in 2014. This team could have done a lot of things with Peterson … and what they ultimately did is to give him a contract extension that gave him more money. Now that they’ve decided that, at this point, a 32-year old running back coming off of knee issues isn’t worth (literally) twice as much as any other running back in the National Football League, suddenly the Vikings are unappreciative?

Fuggouttahere with that. Seriously.

Look, it only takes one team to have a General Manager lose their minds and give Adrian Peterson more than he’s worth at this stage of his career. It doesn’t appear as though the Minnesota Vikings are going to allow that team to be them. There’s certainly the possibility that Rick Spielman and company told Peterson to shop around and come back with his best offer to see if the Vikings were interested in matching it. But, if that was the case, why would Peterson’s camp (specifically his father, apparently) let something like this get out there?

Perhaps the best summary of the state of play so far:

March 1, 2017

Vikings decline Adrian Peterson’s $18m option for 2017

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Adrian Peterson will officially become an unrestricted free agent on March 9th, after the Minnesota Vikings chose not to exercise a contact option for the 2017 season. Even if Peterson had played in every game for the last couple of seasons, his salary was way out of synch with the rest of the league, as this Pro Football Talk summary suggests (published before the Peterson announcement):

Under the 2011 CBA, the non-exclusive franchise tenders are determined based not on what any one player made in 2016 or will make in 2017, but on the five-year average of the percentage that the tenders for each position consume under the total cap. For running backs, the 2017 franchise tender will equate to 7.257 percent of the overall cap. At a salary cap of $165 million, that’s a tender of $11.9 million.

NFL Network has suggested that a decision by the Vikings to cut Adrian Peterson will cause that number to drop to $8 million. It won’t. Peterson’s $18 million cap number for 2017 is relevant only to the exclusive tag, which is based on the average of the five highest cap numbers at the position the coming year.

Via Spotrac.com, the five highest running back cap numbers for 2017 belong to Peterson, Bills running back LeSean McCoy ($8.875 million), Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart ($8.25 million), Texans running back Lamar Miller ($6.5 million), and Titans running back DeMarco Murray ($6.25 million). Even with Peterson’s $18 million, the next four drag the average down to $9.5 million If Peterson is cut, Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles replaced Peterson at No. 5, with a cap number of $6.187 million. That reduces the average to $7.2 million.

The best indication that Peterson was going to be overpaid this season is that removing his contract from the franchise tender calculation drops the league number from $11.9 million to only $7.2 million. There’s no doubt that Peterson has been a great running back for the Vikings, but his contributions had been in a steady decline since he won the league rushing title in 2015.

(more…)

February 25, 2017

Your pre-combine, pre-free-agency dose of “Rickspeak”

Filed under: Football, Humour — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

The deadest part of the NFL year is drawing to a close, as the post-Super Bowl quietude slowly changes to the excitement of the Underwear Olympics, the Legal Tampering Period, free agency, and the draft. Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman spoke to the local sports media on Friday, but he spoke in his patented “Rickspeak” mode, which uses ordinary words like finely tuned instruments to conceal rather than to reveal the team’s plans:

The art of deception and lying is one that takes years to master and perfect. Some people never do, and you can tell the second they open their grocery hole they’re a terrible liar. Some people are okay at it, and can tell a little white lie, maybe, but not a big one.

And some people are masters at it, creating a web of bullshit so convincing, so complete, that it’s almost impossible to separate from the truth. These people usually end up becoming politicians, but some become the general manager of an NFL team.

Vikings GM Rick Spielman is one of these people, because with him you don’t know where the truth ends and the bullshit begins. And honestly, when you get to the level of doublespeak (or Rickspeak, as we affectionately call it in this little corner of the Internet), that Rick Spielman is at, you don’t care that you’re being fed a load of crap so massive you could fertilize all of Minnesota’s farmland with it for five years. As a matter of fact, you kind come to enjoy it, in a weird Stockholm Syndrome kind of way.

But still, you want to know the truth, and that’s where we come in, the fine folks that write for The Daily Norseman.* We sift through the bullshit, find out what the true meaning of Spielman’s words are** and translate it for you into common, every day language.***

*By we I mean me, because no one else would do this. As a matter of fact, Eric pestered me on Twitter to do this, because he knows that if anyone is going to get sued, it isn’t going to be him. Eric is smart. I am a dope, so here you go. Enjoy.

**It’s true we read it and come up with alternative answers, but I divine no true meaning. I’m literally making up every word. And seriously, we’re talking about the off-season plans of a football team, not some Zen-level philosophy on how to live your life. It’s just football, Fokker.

***So yeah, this won’t be in Aramaic. You’re welcome.

February 19, 2017

NFL tries to bully Texas … here’s how Texas should respond

Filed under: Economics, Football, Government — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

At Ace of Spades H.Q., Ace offers some advice to Texas or to any other state on the receiving end of some NFL “persuasion”:

Texas Governor to NFL: Worry About Your Own Spousal Abuse Scandals Before You Go Dictating to Us That We Need to Allow Penises in the Ladies’ Rooms

The NFL warned a Texas that a bill proposed in its senate — which would reserve bathroom use to the “biological sex” indicated on the door — might jeopardize Texas from getting to host any future Super Bowls.

Governor Greg Abbot had some words for the NFL.

However, if Texas, or any other state, wishes to bar professional sports teams from ever attempting to blackmail them into what laws they can and cannot pass or enforce, I have a much more powerful corrective.

States should begin proposing this law:

No municipality shall have the authority to issue any bonds, or direct any public monies, towards the construction of any arena, stadium, or venue of any type intended partially for use by a private company, unless permission to do so is first granted by an act of the state legislature itself or a statewide referendum affirmatively permitting such a corporate-enrichment boondoggle.

Municipalities are delegated whatever powers of the state the state wishes to confer upon them. Municipalities, you may or may not know, act with the power of the state when they pass ordinances and tax bills and such — but that power derives from the reservoir of powers the state possesses, and which the state has conferred upon them via charters of incorporation.

Those powers can be circumscribed, expanded, limited, or cancelled.

You don’t have to include that last part, the part about the legislative or popular referendum override of the general forbiddance, but that could be thrown in there for RINOs who really do want to do favors for corporate bullies and who therefore won’t vote for such a bill without an escape clause.

When the states get serious about simply cutting off cities’ rights to issue bonds or directly subsidize, with taxpayer money, the new stadiums these free-riding vulture socialists are always demanding, then you’ll see the NFL and NBA adopt a much less high-handed tone.

Previous posts about the economic idiocy of local or state governments subsidizing billionaire sports team owners here, here, and here.

February 7, 2017

I pity the Atlanta fans, but they’re reliving the Vikings fans’ emotions from the 1998 NFC Championship

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

For the record, I disagree with this take from the Minneapolis Star Tribune: I hated Atlanta for about two seasons (at most) after the demoralizing 1998 NFC Championship game outcome. (However, I still hate the “Saints”…)

The Atlanta Falcons, leading by a touchdown (and two-point conversion) 28-20 in Sunday’s Super Bowl, reached the New England 22-yard-line with less than 5 minutes to play after a remarkable catch by Julio Jones along the sidelines. At that point, all Atlanta *probably had to do, at the very worst, was run a few plays that didn’t lose yardage, attempt a reasonable field goal using a pretty much automatic kicker, and watch the time melt away while New England pushed uphill in desperation against a two-score deficit. If that set-up sounds familiar, dear Vikings fans, it should. Eighteen years ago in the NFC title game, the Vikings led these very same Falcons by almost exactly the same score (27-20) and pushed into Atlanta territory in the closing minutes *probably needing just a field goal from a very accurate kicker to salt the game away. (*Probably in both cases because you never know, but still). And, of course, we know what happened in next in both cases. Last night, Atlanta ran a series of plays that pushed the ball backwards — a sack and a penalty being the most damaging — and got driven out of field goal range. Instead of a Matt Bryant try — he missed just three field goals all year, and only one from inside 50 yards — the Falcons punted. New England predictably took that gift, marched down the field and tied the game. The Patriots then won in overtime. In the NFC title game following the 1998 season, Gary Anderson — who hadn’t missed a field goal all season, a fact that is seared into our brains and adds to the pain — missed his try wide left. Atlanta used that gift to march down the field and predictably tie the game. The Falcons then won in overtime. Vikings fans who secretly (or openly) have been wishing for some sort of revenge for that moment 18 years ago found it Sunday, albeit courtesy of a Patriots team that plenty of fans love to hate.

The Daily Norseman‘s Ted Glover offers words of comfort to ailing Falcons fans:

Not a lot of fanbases could mentally process what happened to the Falcons and come out sane on the other end. Vikings fans have been doing it since the 1960’s. And we’re here to help

Dear Falcons Fans,

Hi. I’m kind of at a loss for words for you guys, but I want you guys to know that you’re not alone. As Vikings fans, we’ve been there. Yes, every year one team loses the Super Bowl, and it sucks, but rarely is a loss this brutal, a collapse this complete; a disbelief this consuming that leaves you in a stupor. And right now it’s a feeling you don’t think you’ll ever get over. You’ve probably even considered cheering for another team after last night.

that’s just reactionary and stupid. You’re a Falcons fan, and you don’t change fandom because of one game. Even if that game was last night.

They say time heals all wounds. ‘They’ are wrong. Some things you will not ever get over, and this will be one of those things. And that’s okay. But time does put distance between what happened yesterday, and as the years pass, time also adds perspective, and will give you an appreciation of what was one hell of a 2016 season.

Even though there’s no way you believe that right now. I understand. I am a fan of the Minnesota Vikings, and processing sports grief is what we do. If I may have just a couple minutes of your time, I think we can help.

Right now you’re feeling a mix of grief, anger, and disbelief, and it’s all justifiable. Virtually no one blows a 25 point lead late in the third quarter, and never on football’s biggest stage. Seriously, how rare was this feat?

That’s just brutal. And in the Super Bowl. Reading that, you’re pissed off all over again, and you think back to one or two plays that, if they go the other way, you win the Super Bowl. After Julio Jones’ eleventy third ridiculous catch, all you had to do was run the ball three times, kick a FG, and it’s over.

But that didn’t happen. And the Falcons lost. And it might have been the worst loss in NFL history, certainly in Falcons history. I’m going to be brutally honest with you, and you might not want to hear this, but this game will gnaw at you for the rest of your life, and you’ll never truly get over it. Most games, yeah, eventually you move on and shrug your shoulders over.

But there are moments that you will never, ever truly put aside, and it doesn’t matter how many championships or big games your team eventually wins.

February 4, 2017

Chris Kluwe apparently believes that when the revolution comes, citizens can simply seize “captured armories or gun shops”

Filed under: Football, Politics, USA — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 10:33

Since leaving the Vikings, former NFL punter Chris Kluwe has apparently developed quite the streak of paranoia about Il Donalduce and is advising fellow progressives to plan for the revolution:

In meltdown mode over the Trump administration, former NFL player Chris Kluwe is conjuring up ways to mount an armed resistance against the government—based on his knowledge of video games.

Known more for his loud opinions than for his athletic prowess, Kluwe is infamous for writing long, profanity-filled rants about gamers and their unwillingness to accept feminism into their hearts.

Since leaving the Minnesota Vikings, where he was a punter, Kluwe has established himself as a writer, penning a science fiction novel and an autobiography. He contributed posts to Deadspin and launched a crowdfund for a card game he designed.

During the election, Kluwe was outspoken in his opposition to Trump, posting innumerable tweets about it. Several of his slams went viral.

[…]

“They do not care about you. They do not care about me. They do not care about anything other than themselves,” he wrote of the government. “History is replete with examples of what happens when people like [Trump] hold the levers of a nation/state/city/village.”

After insisting that a civil war is inevitable, Kluwe offers some survival tips.

He suggests learning how to use a common service firearm, but adds that it won’t bet necessary to own a gun because when the revolution comes, citizens can simply seize “captured armories or gun shops.” Kluwe also offers useless advice on how to survive a combat situation.

On Facebook, John Ringo offers some helpful suggestions:

(Not sure who ‘Coop’ is. Took this from Chuck Bogardus’ page.)

From Coop:
Attention idiots, former linebackers, antifa(g)s, Sarah Silverman, Judd Apatow, and any other completely retarded “revolutionaries”:
1. The military is not on your side
2. You can’t “loot” a gun store or Military/National Guard armory. They’re kind of designed to be hard to loot, especially if you don’t have a couple of guns prior to attempting such.
3. The Trump supporters have most of the guns already. Better guns than the cops.
4. The Libertarian-leaning non-Trump supporters who own the rest of the guns are leaning closer and closer to Trump with every tantrum you throw and media hit job you make.
5. Your mother’s a whore
6. You have no combat experience.
7. The celebrities who are calling to arms these violent, insurgent actions have absolutely no skin in the game. They risk no arrest, they aren’t there being violent with you, they don’t even leave their gated communities, and when they do, they have an armed security detail. But they’re not going to pay your bail when you get arrested. They’re not going to pay your medical bills when someone reacts to you with superior force in self defense. You are their useful idiots.
8. You are either effeminately weak or cripplingly fat. Your enemies are in much better shape than you.

January 24, 2017

“After a drab regular season and shoddy postseason, the NFL owes us a dramatic Super Bowl”

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

Jim Souhan on the survivors of the AFC and NFC title games last weekend:

The New England Patriots will play in the pre-Minneapolis Super Bowl. Tom Brady will try to become the first quarterback and Bill Belichick the first coach to win five Big Bowls.

The historic implication: With a victory over the Atlanta Falcons in two weeks in Houston, the Patriots can prove themselves one of the most dominant franchises in NFL history, if not all of sports.

They will face a franchise, Atlanta, which lost its only Super Bowl appearance, after upsetting the Vikings in 1998. The Patriots will be expected to win, perhaps will be expected to dominate, and yet the most interesting aspect of episodic dynasty is that they rarely dominate in the games that have made their reputation.

In six Super Bowls featuring Brady and Belichick, the Patriots never have won or lost by more than four points. Their composite score in those six games: 135-129.

In Atlanta, they will face an offense that has surrounded star receiver Julio Jones with worthy skill-position threats, which enabled quarterback Matt Ryan to have his best season, one in which he probably will be named the league MVP.

Belichick is known for taking away an opponents’ best weapon, but the Falcons’ dominance and health, combined with the Patriots’ Super Bowl history, hints that Super Bowl LI will be dramatic.

January 11, 2017

“The money paid to footballers is ‘grotesque’, said Corbyn today, in his best irate vicar voice”

Filed under: Britain, Politics, Soccer — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn just proposed a salary cap for professional football (that’s “soccer” to us benighted colonials on the other side of the pond) in the UK:

Is there nothing Jeremy Corbyn can’t screw up? This week his advisers whispered to the press that their leader was about to do a Donald, be more populist, try to connect with the man and woman in the street who might think of him as a bit stiff and aloof and stuck in the Seventies. And how does he kick off this project? By slagging off footballers, the most idolised sportspeople in Britain, cheered by vast swathes of the very people Labour no longer reaches but wishes it could. The money paid to footballers is ‘grotesque’, said Corbyn today, in his best irate vicar voice. Cue media coverage of Corbyn’s moaning mug next to Wayne Rooney (£250k a week, loved by millions). What next in Corbyn’s populist makeover? A call to wind down Coronation St? Close pubs on Sundays? A Twitterspat with Ant and Dec or Sheridan Smith or some other national treasure?

[…]

Labour leftists have never understood this basic fact: ordinary people don’t hate rich people. In fact they admire many of them. They don’t wince when they see a footballer and his WAG posing by the pool in Hello! — they think, ‘That looks like a nice life. Good on them.’ Corbyn bemoaned footballers’ pay as part of his proposal to enact a law preventing people from earning above a certain amount of money. Yes, a maximum wage. ‘I would like there to be some kind of high earnings cap,’ he said. It’s the worst idea a British political leader has had in years, and it reveals pretty much everything that is wrong with the left today.

First there’s the sheer authoritarianism of it. It will never come to pass, of course, because Corbyn’s footballer-bashing and bodged populism and general inability to connect with anyone outside of Momentum and the left Twittersphere means Labour won’t be darkening the door of Downing St for yonks. But that Corbyn is even flirting with the notion of putting a legal lid on what people can earn is pretty extraordinary. It would basically be a stricture against getting rich, a restriction on ambition, a state-enforced standard of living: you could be comfortable and middle-class, but not loaded. There’s a stinging moralism, too. Labourites complain about those on the right who look down on the ‘undeserving poor’, but what we have here is not all that different: a sneering at the undeserving rich, a prissy concern with the bank balances and lifestyles of those who’ve made a bomb.

Colby Cosh boldly speaks out for a tiny minority of Canadians

Filed under: Business, Cancon, Football, Media — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

For some reason, Colby Cosh has decided to drag out Rocinante to defend the rights of Canadian broadcasters to continue substituting the same fricking commercials they play all year during the Super Bowl:

I am here today to speak for the voiceless. To embolden the powerless. To raise awareness of the nation that lives unseen among us. I am referring, of course, to the invisible SimSub race: Canadian Super Bowl viewers who may actually prefer to have Canadian commercials broadcast on TV along with the football game.

For years we have remained in the shadows while opponents of “simultaneous substitution” dominated the conversation. The antis won a great victory in 2015 when our federal broadcast regulator, the CRTC, ruled that the Super Bowl was a unique TV event — one in which the expensive ads on the originating American broadcast were conceptually inseparable from the rest of the show. The Super Bowl ads, the CRTC said, ought not to be obscured by boring, artless commercials for Canadian tire stores and investment accounts.

The first Super Bowl broadcast to be non-simsubbed by CRTC fiat is scheduled for Feb. 5. But Bell Media, which bought the Super Bowl TV rights expecting to be able to show bad Canadian commercials to Canadian viewers, is joining up with other threatened interests to ask the Liberal government for an extreme, last-minute ministerial intervention in favour of another year of simsubbing. I am trying very hard not to describe this as a “Hail Mary pass”, but, well, there is a reason that metaphor is popular. And Hail Mary passes sometimes work.

I am kidding about the existence of a pro-simsub constituency — kind of. The CRTC made its decision partly because everyone agrees that the substituted advertising is always disappointing. It gave the commission the opportunity to do something populist that would reverse its own political reputation as a force-feeder of dismal CanCon, a drearifier of Canadian media.

January 2, 2017

Vikings win final regular season game against Chicago, 38-10

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 11:13

Sensibly, the Canadian TV schedules omitted this game as having no bearing on the playoff standings and chose to broadcast games that still mattered. Neither the Chicago Bears nor the Minnesota Vikings had anything left to play for, aside from pride and perhaps a minor shift in final draft standings for 2017. The Vikings finally played the kind of game fans had been waiting for since week six of the season, producing the season’s highest score (with some significant help from the defence).

Sam Bradford set a few records during the game: the NFL record for completion rate at 71.6%, and the Vikings single-season record for completed passes (395, beating Daunte Culpepper’s 379 in 2004) and lowest interception percentage (0.9%, beating Brett Favre’s 1.32% in 2009).

Also setting records was Kyle Rudolph who moved into first place in team history with his 29th touchdown reception by a tight end, previously held by Steve Jordan. Overall, he also passed Joe Senser for most catches by a tight end with 83 for the season.

(more…)

December 29, 2016

Another ongoing NFL problem

Filed under: Football, Media, Sports — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Colby Cosh asks why the NFL puts up with field-invading streakers (even if the TV cameras avoid showing the incidents):

I don’t have hard data, but the TV policy does not seem to be diminishing the number of field invasions in NFL and college football games. In our social-media panopticon world, this was foreseeable. The remarkable part is that the instant justice almost always dealt by the security guards does not seem to be discouraging the practice either.

Field invasions are a serious matter, because you never know when someone might be carrying a knife and a grudge. The idiots who run out onto the field don’t think of themselves as inadvertently rehearsing the possible murder of an athlete. But they all have to know by now that they are inviting a hard tackle, experienced without padding, from a beefy, motivated stranger.

If you have ever been a 22-year-old male, you understand that this may easily be part of the fun. It is the nature of a dare to be more impressive when the stakes are higher. I don’t know that all NFL streakers are actually drunk, but I am certain that nobody ever runs onto the field during a game without first having had a conversation with his friends — one usually involving the words “Hold my beer.”

So why are spectacular tackles of narcissistic morons by security guards tolerated by the teams that employ them? The apparatus of the NFL does not seem to have developed a nonviolent cordon approach to field invaders. If it has one, it is obviously not very consistent about applying it league-wide. As often as not, the security guards seem to be showing off their special-teams gunner skills for the audience.

It might be expensive to develop and practice a formal method of peacefully capturing rowdies who elude security and reach the field of play. (I suppose a lasso would be too theatrical?) But lawsuits are expensive, too, and we cannot be too far from the day when a security guard breaks some cretin’s neck at a game.

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