August 11, 2017

Vikings beat Bills 17-10 in (predictably ugly) preseason action

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

The Vikings broke training camp earlier this week and flew to Buffalo to face the Bills in the first preseason game for both teams on Thursday night. Neither team’s starters were expected to see more than perhaps a quarter of action before yielding to second and third stringers, hoping to solidify their chances at a roster spot after the mandatory cuts at the end of the preseason.

The first quarter was filled with vaguely football-like activities, with both teams’ starters knocking off some of the rust in full-contact play. Minnesota’s retooled offensive line didn’t look great: Sam Bradford was sacked twice before Case Keenum came in at quarterback. Disturbingly, each of the offensive tackles gave up a sack. The backups on the offensive line seemed to do better protecting Keenum than the starters had done for Bradford, but Keenum’s faster release (and the play-calling) probably had a lot to do with that. Other than that, it was the Dalvin Cook show, with the rookie running back seeming to be the only Viking player allowed to touch the ball while the starters were on the field. He ended up with five carries for 13 yards and four catches for 30 yards. Neither team set the scoreboard on fire, with the first half ending in a 3-3 tie. The bad news in the first half was starting cornerback Trae Waynes leaving during the first defensive series with a shoulder injury. Joining him early in the second half on the injured list was running back Bishop Sankey, who suffered a non-contact knee injury at the end of a 10-yard run.

Third-string quarterback Taylor Heinicke didn’t look as strong in this game as he did in the 2015 preseason, prompting this jab:

A few other players who stood out during the course of the game were WR Stacy Coley (three receptions for 67 yards), DE Tashawn Bower (a sack, three QB pressures and a batted pass), FB C.J. Ham (a short rushing TD), and LB Eric Wilson (six tackles).

The next Vikings preseason game will be in Seattle on Friday, 18 August.

November 8, 2015

Who are the drunkest NFL fans? Come on down, Buffalo Bills fans!

Filed under: Football, Health — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

A breathalyzer company conducted a study to determine who are the drunkest fanbases in the NFL, and Buffalo turned in the highest overall score:

Click to see the full-size map at CBSSports.com

Click to see the full-size map at CBSSports.com

Apparently, losing does drive fans to drinking, at least according to a recent study done by BACtrack.

The Breathalyzer company spent the past six weeks anonymously collecting BAC samples and what they found is that Bills fans really, really, really like to drink.

According to the study, Bills fans had an average blood-alcohol level of .076 through the first seven weeks of the NFL season, which was the highest among all NFL fan bases.

If you’re wondering how BACtrack was able to hunt down the BAC level of random fans, they didn’t. The samples came to them.

The company used anonymous samples sent in by fans who were using the BACTrack app on their phone, an app that works as a Breathalyzer.

The company then collected data on Sundays between Sept. 13 and Oct. 25 to try and accurately gauge how much fans were drinking. Only samples sent in between 6 a.m. on Sunday and 5:59 a.m. on Monday counted toward the study.

The data was only collected from geographic locations that were hosting NFL games during the first seven weeks of the season.

There were probably plenty of flaws in the study, but based on what I’ve seen from Bills fans, it’s not surprising they’re No. 1.

I find it amusing that the NFC North’s drunk fan index exactly matches the teams’ relative standings right now, with Green Bay fans the most sober (at 0.042), followed by Vikings fans (0.046), then Bears fans (0.054), and finally Detroit fans (who definitely have reason to be drinking more this season) at 0.069.

July 4, 2015

Which NFL team is the most AMERICA?

It’s the bitter end of the off-season in the NFL: everyone is waiting for training camps to open and there’s no football news at all (except disciplinary announcements). To help fill these empty days, Dave Rappoccio ranks all 32 NFL teams by how AMERICA they are:

32. Bills
Buffalo is basically Canada


15. Vikings
Yes, they are Norsemen, but charging into villages, burning everything to the ground and ruining lives is totally American as hell.


5. Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles are very AMERICA. Bald Eagles? Hell yes, slap our big ass scary national bird on it. The face on the logo faces left! Totally different than every other logo, a special snowflake, just like we think we are! It’s angry, SO AMERICA. They are based in Philadelphia, which was literally our capital city for a while! The liberty bell is there! Why aren’t they higher? Because the Eagles ain’t won sh*t, and America wins sh*t.

4. The Patriots
Giant annoying bullies who talk stupid and are too proud of themselves, so much so that they make their own rules, man. So America.

3. The Cowboys
What? How are they not no. 1? Because no matter how gloriously American the cowboy is, The Cowboys are loyal to Texas, and Texas would be its own country if we let it.

2. The Steelers
Fat, angry, out of work industrial giants. Go America.

1. The Redskins
The Redskins? First? Why? Think about it. They are the actual first Americans. If you want to look at it a different way, the Skins represent all the shaming and systematic oppression of those people, the most American way to treat others! Plus how we totally ignore them and forget to change the name! They are based in Washington DC, the capital of the country, and is run by a greedy capitalistic megalomaniac with no regard for others but claims to support “traditions” which are actually offensive! Plus, we haven’t actually been all that great since the 90s and we have horrible gun related tragedies all the time (Sean Taylor). That is ‘MERCA as Sh*t.

October 20, 2014

Vikings fall to Bills, 17-16 on last-second touchdown

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

This was described by fans of both teams as “must win”, with Buffalo hoping to stay close to New England in their division, and Minnesota hoping to have some faint hope of relevance in the NFC North. Buffalo came in to the game sporting one of the top defensive squads in the league, while the Vikings defence is starting to look at least respectable after a few years of far below average play.

Both teams are starting to look like patchwork quilts, with all the backup players thrust into starting roles, and by the end of the game Buffalo was down to one healthy running back, while Minnesota had to plug in their reserve centre and swing tackle at guard due to injuries to John Sullivan and Vladimir Ducasse.

Ted Glover hands out his Blue Chip Investments:

Jerick McKinnon, RB: Coming into this game, the Bills had the best running defense in the NFL, giving up less than 70 yards a game on the ground. All McKinnon did was go for 103 yards on 19 carries, leading a ground attack that chewed the Bills up for 158 yards. He’s taken over the starting job at running back, and although he’s not going to fill the shoes left by Adrian Peterson’s absence, we’re finding out that once AP’s time in Minnesota is over, the Vikings running game should be in good hands.

Anthony Barr, LB: Barr is making a strong case for Defensive Rookie of the Year, and had another fantastic game against the Bills–10 tackles, two fumble recoveries, broke up a pass, and was generally the Tasmanian Devil from the Looney Tunes cartoons–a mini hurricane that was all over the place. This kind of game is starting to become routine for Barr, and as exciting as that is for us as Vikings fans, I hope it’s scaring the Hell out of the rest of the NFL.

Everson Griffen, DE: I’m not trying to be a braggart when I say this, but I’ve been on a bunch of radio spots and podcasts between free agency and today, and in all those interviews, well, let’s just say I wish I had a nickel for every time I was asked if the Vikings made the right call in keeping Griffen and letting Jared Allen walk. After today, when Griffen had 3.5 sacks and was an absolute beast on the outside, I’m pretty sure I won’t be asked that question anymore. On the season, Griffen now has seven sacks. Meanwhile, in Chicago, Allen has one, and saw his playing time drop today against the Dolphins.

Blair Walsh, K: We really haven’t talked about Walsh much this year, but once again we got a reminder as to why he’s one of the best kickers in the NFL. He was 3/3 on field goal attempts, including a 55 yarder right before the half that might have been good from 65. In Buffalo.

October 17, 2014

NFL fanbase one-downsmanship

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

The Minnesota Vikings will be visiting Buffalo this weekend — unfortunately, I couldn’t arrange to get tickets, so I’ll be watching the game on TV this time. Buffalo fans and Minnesota fans do have some painful memories of their respective team’s sporting misfortunes … enough to prompt a bit of one-downsmanship, says Eric Thompson:

Everyone has the person in their life that’s the consummate one-upper. No matter what you achieve in life, this person is quick to tell you that they achieved something even better. Just got a promotion and raise at work? That’s cool, but this person was already making a little bit more before their better promotion. Did you hook up with that cute girl after the party last weekend? Good for you, because this guy already did a few weeks ago. Set a personal best running the half marathon? Great! But this person beat that time by five minutes and only trained for like a week. No big deal. These one-uppers are the real life version of the Kristen Wiig’s Penelope character from Saturday Night Live.

It’s completely maddening, especially when the one-upper is actually…you know, right. Just when you think you have achieved something worth being proud of, along comes the one-upper to let you know that you aren’t really that special.

When it comes to the Minnesota Vikings and Buffalo Bills, the one-upping tends to go in the opposite direction. Everyone knows that these are two of the most tortured fan bases in the history of the NFL. (Yes Cleveland, we see you. You’re definitely in the mix as well.) It has gotten so bad over the years that Vikings and Bills fans alike almost wear their teams’ failures as a masochistic badge of honor.

For example, the Vikings lost 4 Super Bowls in a decade. But the Bills can easily one-up that: they lost 4 Super Bowls IN A ROW.

Minnesota has made the playoffs once in the past four (about to be five) seasons. The one time they did make the playoffs, they had to start Joe Webb at quarterback. Buffalo fans scoff at that, because they haven’t made the playoffs THIS MILLENNIUM. There are TEENAGERS walking this Earth that have never been alive for a Buffalo Bills playoff appearance.


Of course Bills fans aren’t going to get any sympathy on our end. Our team made their ineffective first-round Florida State QB (Christian Ponder) the third-stringer because he was so bad. Then they started a journeyman without cool facial hair (Matt Cassel). Then they put their other first-round QB (Teddy Bridgewater) in after the journeyman broke his foot into a million pieces. Then after the rookie got hurt, they were forced to put in the aforementioned Florida State guy to get embarrassed on national television. And now we’re back to our second first-round QB of the past four years … and we’re just praying that he isn’t as bad as he was last week. And remember, THIS ALL HAPPENED IN THE FIRST SIX WEEKS OF THE SEASON.

Even if our rookie quarterback is good — we think he is, but we all know how quarterbacks usually work out in Minnesota — he might get himself killed behind our atrocious offensive line! They’re ranked 28th in pass blocking and 18th in run blocking by Pro Football Focus. According to the PFF ratings, Minnesota is the proud owner of the worst tackle in the NFL (Matt Kalil) and have allowed 22 sacks, which is second-worst in the league.

August 17, 2013

This game shows why the preseason is necessary

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 09:37

In a mid-game update yesterday, I said that today’s post “will be equal parts hilarity and doom-mongering”. Let’s see how the sages are reading the auspices…first, here’s ESPN’s Kevin Seifert with a quick overview of the lowlights:

The evening began with left tackle Matt Kalil getting beat for a sack by Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes, and it didn’t get much better, at least for a Vikings offense that again played without tailback Adrian Peterson. Coaches got quarterback Christian Ponder five series of work, but he took two sacks and was jumpy enough to complete only 5-of-12 passes for 53 yards. He led a 62-yard scoring drive, ending in a Blair Walsh’s 36-yard field goal, but otherwise the Vikings gained a total of 20 yards on his other possessions. (Walsh earlier missed from 49 yards.) The Bills’ rush was active, and center John Sullivan launched an early shotgun snap to scuttle one play, but all quarterbacks face adversity during the season. Ponder needed to react better and at times quicker Friday night. If you were hoping for an anxiety-relieving performance from him, this wasn’t it.

For those of you following at home, Matt Kalil’s training camp has been less than stellar according to the various reports … not terrible, but not on the pace he established in his rookie season. Blair Walsh didn’t miss very many field goal attempts last year, so even a miss at 49 yards is somewhat uncharacteristic for him (possibly he’s still adapting to his new holder Jeff Locke). John Sullivan is widely acknowledged to be one of the best centres in the league, so a bad snap from him is also uncharacteristic.

1500ESPN‘s Andrew Krammer averts his eyes from the struggling offence to find a bit of cheer on defence and special teams play:

The Vikings’ starting secondary didn’t get much of a test against the Bills’ quarterback Kevin Kolb, who threw four passes in the first quarter — the second of which was tipped by cornerback Xavier Rhodes, making his NFL debut, and intercepted by safety Jamarca Sanford.

Playing in both the base and nickel formations, cornerback Josh Robinson saw extended playing time at both outside and the slot after just six snaps in the preseason opener. Robinson jumped a route and deflected Kolb’s pass in the second quarter and if he had another step on the ball, could have turned it into a pick-six.


The Vikings only had three penalties, which puts the total at four across the first two preseason games — the fewest in the NFL so far.

No penalty was [as] inopportune as linebacker Tyrone McKenzie’s holding call after receiver Stephen Burton returned a kickoff for a touchdown.

Although he didn’t have a catch Friday, Burton has made a strong case for the 53-man roster this preseason by demonstrating his value as a run blocker, special teams man and solid fifth option at receiver.

Rookie punter Jeff Locke saw extended work with an inept offense — booting seven punts for an average of 40 yards, pinning three inside the 20-yard line with the help of cornerback Bobby Felder.

Felder played a big role in the field position game on Friday, downing two of Locke’s punts inside the 20 and taking a punt return back for 37 yards.

The Daily Norseman‘s Ted Glover wants to put in a couple of sell orders on the NFL stock market:

The first team offense, minus Rudolph: If I could use a WWII analogy, Ponder was France, the Bills were the German Wehrmacht, and the Vikings big uglies were the Maginot Line. Rudolph was the French Resistance, but everyone else? Yeah, pretty much got blitzkrieged. Ponder was running for his life, Matt Kalil perfected the “lookout block” technique, and John Sullivan demonstrated his otherworldly strength by snapping a football 30 yards behind him.

Matt Cassel: The second team offense wasn’t much better, but again, I think a lot of this goes to the Vikings and their decision to concentrate on what they waned to do as opposed to try and counter what Buffalo was doing. But yeah, Cassel threw a pick and was running around so much it looked like he was auditioning for Dancing With The Stars. Pre-season football fever, catch it!


Buy: The new road uniforms. I like them. If I have a beef on anything about the new uniforms, it’s the weird edges on the numbers. But I like the look. Very nice balance between retro and a new look.

Sell: Not wearing the purple pants: One of the reasons I liked the uniform changes in 2006 was because they added the purple pants. I think I’m one of the few fans that actually like them, and with the new striping down the side of the leg, I think they look cool. Hope we see them from time to time.

Buy: Not game planning in the pre season. Look, this is the time where you try and get game reps and continuity with your first team, and not get anyone hurt. It wasn’t pretty to watch, but I understand the philosophy of what the Vikings did.

Sell: Not running at least one screen pass or draw play. I mean, it’s not like the Vikings don’t have screen passes or draws in the playbook, and really, how much valuable information can you glean from the Vikings first team offensive line playing Olly Olly Oxen free the whole time they were out there? Ponder’s lateral running ability, or maybe his backpedal? At least no one was hurt, so we’ll call it a night and get ready for the next game.

Buy: Rodney Smith’s nice TD catch. It was a nice outside shoulder throw by Thompson that Smith had to adjust for by doing a 180. He went up, got the ball at the highest point, and boom, our lone highlight of the evening, for the most part. Nice effort.

Sell: Joe Webb making the team. I didn’t see a noticeable drop in Joe Webb’s play, but I didn’t see any improvement, either. When you combine that with the fact that Stephen Burton has picked it up as a receiver and a special teams guy (had a TD called back on a kickoff return), and guys at the bottom of the roster coming on (Smith and Chris Summers looked good, for the most part), I’m finding it harder and harder for Webb to find a seat at the table when the music stops.

August 16, 2013

Vikings at Bills round-up (just after the half)

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 20:12

Perhaps I dodged a bullet, not being able to watch this preseason game between the Buffalo Bills and the Minnesota Vikings:

Oh, and Jarius Wright is reportedly out with a concussion. On that happy note, I’m going to close Janetter and ignore the game until tomorrow morning. Unless McLeod Bethel-Thompson puts in a QB performance for the ages, I’m guessing the press summary I end up putting together will be equal parts hilarity and doom-mongering.

That figures … Bills vs. Vikings to be blacked out tonight

Filed under: Football, Media — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 08:10

The second pre-season game isn’t usually all that exciting: teams are still trying to evaluate a lot of the players further down the depth chart before the first cut-down date, so you don’t expect to see too much of the starters. That being said, it’s been a long time since the last time I was able to watch the Vikings play, so I was really looking forward to tonight’s game in Buffalo. Until I saw this little piece of news:

And as I discovered last week, even radio feeds are territory-locked, so I can’t even listen to the stream over the web. Well, it’s not like I had important plans for Saturday night…

Update: The Daily Norseman‘s Arif Hasan (who has pretty much taken over as my preferred source of detailed Vikings information from Tom Pelissero) looks at how the Bills will test the Vikings tonight.

Anyone watching the Bills may eventually get tired of hearing about the high-tempo “no-huddle” offense that teams around the league have increasingly adopted. What’s interesting is that Doug Marrone and Nathaniel Hackett have decided not just to implement some of their Syracuse playbook, but dig into the K-gun that made Jim Kelly famous and quickly allowed the Bills to join the Vikings as having four unsuccessful Super Bowl appearances.

Hey, 0-4 is better than 0-0.

But it would be lazy to describe their offense as a no-huddle. That’s not an offense, it’s a tactic.

The Bills will bring a variety of offensive formations and tactics, but will likely keep a philosophy similar to Jim Kelly’s offense in Buffalo, which is fundamentally the Run and Shoot Offense that people think died in the 1980s. Somewhat similar to the scheme run in New York under former ‘Shoot coordinator Kevin Gilbride, I wouldn’t be surprised if the modern twist on the Buffalo offense is also designed to be entirely reactive.

Given that Marrone has spent some time with a heavy ‘Shoot offense like the Saints, don’t be shocked to see similar concepts.

November 10, 2012

The Two Scotts’ NFL picks (beat up on Buffalo edition)

Filed under: Football, Humour — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 11:09

It’s not nice to pick on poor, defenceless Buffalo … but that won’t stop either Scott:

Buffalo (plus 11) at New England

Scott Feschuk: As a Bills fan, I’ve so far refrained from criticizing QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, largely because he represents a genuine upgrade over guys like Trent Edwards and J.P. Losman. Remember Losman? You couldn’t find a more incompetent quarterback if you took Ryan Leaf’s brain, stuffed it inside Matt Leinart’s skull and handed the skull to JaMarcus Russell to throw 12 feet over the head of a wide-open receiver. But enough is enough. Fitzpatrick just isn’t getting it done and the fact that he graduated from Harvard and probably knows how to use a protractor does not make up for the fact HE NO CAN THROWY MR. OBLONG. Right now, the only thing that will save 2012 for Buffalo fans is if it turns out that the Bills’ season syncs up perfectly with Dark Side of the Moon. Fingers crossed. Pick: Buffalo.

Scott Reid: Breaking News — the Buffalo Bills, whose defence has allowed an NFL all-time high forty squinjillion points, has fired its entire defensive team and replaced them with the Muppets and Wall-E.

Head coach Chan Gailey explained that, while unconventional, the technically lifeless Muppets would still represent a substantial upgrade to most positions. “Gonzo played a little Division II ball before he got into show biz and Kermit has great instincts around the ball — as long as we can keep that pig away.” New free safety Animal had this to add in an interview with WNY Sports, “Lurrghh.” In other news, the Bills denied that they’ve been negotiating with Tennessee for the rights to field goal kicker Stuart Little. Pick: New England.

August 18, 2012

Vikings win convincingly over Buffalo in second preseason game

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 08:56

Unlike last week’s game at San Francisco, where you had to look carefully at the right angle and squint just a bit to see anything positive, the second preseason game had all kinds of positive signs. Here’s Dan Wiederer at the Star Tribune:

For all those Vikings optimists out there, Friday might well have been the perfect night just 23 days before the start of the regular season.

All those empty seats inside Mall of America Field? Hey, at least the stadium was half-full, right?

And for those who did turn out for a hype-free preseason game against the Buffalo Bills, it’s fair to say most left with a feeling this team’s glass may be half-full, too.

The Vikings not only built a 10-0 lead at the end of the first quarter of what turned out to be a 36-14 victory, but they did so with style, so many young players flashing the signs of promise that the coaching staff has been advertising since training camp began.

Where do we even start? That is, before rookie linebacker Audie Cole became an instant hero with two interception return touchdowns in the final minutes.

Do we begin with receiver Jerome Simpson, who on the game’s fourth play beat rookie Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore on a short slant, then decided to show off his Olympic-style hurdling skills, leaping over safety Jairus Byrd on his way to a 33-yard pick-up?

Or do you start with Toby Gerhart’s continued power and the 30 yards he rushed for on six attempts?

Or is it easiest to circle back to the obvious command shown by second-year quarterback Christian Ponder, who orchestrated an impressive 80-yard touchdown drive to open the game, then tacked on a 50-yard march on the next possession to set up a Blair Walsh field goal?

December 6, 2010

Vikings win in Turnover Bowl

Yesterday’s game in Minneapolis wasn’t expected to be very entertaining: a 2-9 team visiting an out-of-conference 4-7 team isn’t quite ratings gold. The turnovers started early in the game, as Brett Favre went down to a backside hit while throwing, putting the ball up for grabs. Buffalo got the ball and, at least for a few minutes, the momentum.

Favre was injured and Tarvaris Jackson came in to start the next series. Jackson threw an interception that Buffalo ran back for the first score of the game.

After that, it got entertaining — if you were a Vikings fan, anyway.

A month ago, the play that transpired with 4 minutes, 43 seconds left in the first quarter Sunday would have led to the Vikings’ undoing.

Tarvaris Jackson, in place of injured Brett Favre, threw a pass that Buffalo cornerback Drayton Florence stepped in front of and returned 40 yards for a touchdown and a seven-point lead. Under Brad Childress, that would have been a “here we go again” moment.

But under interim coach Leslie Frazier, Florence’s touchdown ended up as a footnote following the Vikings’ 38-14 demolition of a Bills team that looked every bit a bad as its 2-10 record at Mall of America Field.

Favre’s injury was reported as a sprained sternoclavicular joint and he’ll undergo an MRI today to determine the extent of the damage. Interim head coach Leslie Frazier said that if Favre could play next week, he’d play — that is, there’s no quarterback controversy here.

Rookie Chris DeGeare made his first start, replacing Steve Hutchinson, and only got mentioned for a false start penalty. That’s good: when you don’t hear the names of your offensive linemen, that usually means that they’re doing a good job. Also on the injury list were Percy Harvin and Ray Edwards. Adrian Peterson was a game-time decision with his sprained ankle from last week (he played, gained 107 yards and scored 3 touchdowns).

Sidney Rice played a great game — he’s finally back in 2009 form, going over 100 yards receiving and scoring two TDs. He clearly was the missing element in the first half of the season.

Joe Webb, the Vikings’ third string quarterback was on the active roster for the first time this season, as a receiver/kick returner, but injured his hamstring and left the game. Running back Toby Gerhart was the replacement KR (replacing Webb, who was playing in place of Harvin). This might have created a problem if Jackson had been injured, as neither Favre nor Webb could go back into the game. Luckily, the issue didn’t arise.

It seemed like a good idea, but Webb’s day ended in the first quarter when he suffered a pulled right hamstring while playing on a punt return.

“I was expecting a lot” of action at receiver, Webb said. “The coaches told me during the week. We had a couple of banged-up guys and they were going to need me to lineup there. I just had my chance to do a couple of things. My [hamstring] just gave out on me but it’ll be all right.”

Frazier acknowledged the Vikings had a “package” of plays for Webb.

Webb’s athletic ability is such that the Vikings decided to give him his first-ever reps on kickoff returns Friday and then trusted him enough to have him return Sunday’s first kick. Webb took the ball 30 yards to the Vikings 35.

“I was trying to pop it out,” he said. “That was my first time ever running a kickoff return. Now that I’ve got a chance to see it and know how I can read it up, I’m sure the next one will be a lot different.”

December 5, 2010

Vikings and Bills “proved they didn’t deserve to be among the league’s elite”

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 11:39

John Holler looks at today’s matchup with a jaundiced eye:

The national interest in the Vikings-Bills game likely isn’t going to draw flies. Nor should it. A non-conference matchup between a 4-7 and 2-9 team isn’t the kind of thing that garners a lot of attention. But perhaps there are no teams in the league more snake-bit than the Vikings and Bills.

They have both faced schedules that, while both were considered gauntlets from the outset, have turned in a Murderer’s Row. Neither team has done anything to take control of their own destiny from the start, but the teams that have beat them have been among the league’s elite.

The records of the teams that have beaten both teams is both troubling and impressive. The Vikings’ seven losses have come to New Orleans (8-3), Miami (6-5), the New York Jets (9-2), Green Bay (7-4), New England (9-2), Chicago (8-3) and Green Bay (7-4).

Buffalo’s nine losses have include defeats against Miami (6-5), Green Bay (7-4), New England (9-2), the Jets (9-2), Jacksonville (6-5), Baltimore (8-3), Kansas City (6-5), Chicago (8-3) and Pittsburgh (8-3).

Perhaps the moral of the seasons for both teams is that they have faced the league’s elite teams throughout the season and, on regular basis, proved they didn’t deserve to be among the league’s elite teams

December 2, 2010

The Two Scotts in a split decision

Filed under: Football, Humour — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 07:56

Scott Feschuk and Scott Reid like different results in this week’s matchup between Minnesota and Buffalo:

Buffalo (plus 6.5) at Minnesota

Feschuk: So Buffalo’s Steve Johnson butterfingered a game-winning pass against the Steelers and, naturally, rushed to Twitter to blame it all on God.

Good for Johnson. It’s about time someone had the courage to call out God for the terrible season He’s having. Dude is the Randy Moss of deities — totally going through the motions. Come on, God: we’ve seen you torment the Bills and Lions for the last eon. TRY SOMETHING NEW. And what were you thinking when you let Satan get away with working his evil magic so that both Matt Millen and Joe Theismann are calling the Thursday night games? Not cool, God. Not cool at all. Pick: Buffalo.

Reid: You mean God isn’t a Buffalo fan? This IS news!

Pick: Minnesota.

Feschuk also has an excellent question that the league hasn’t yet answered:

The league’s ruling on Andre Johnson warrants a revisiting of what occurred on the field. Responding to the trash talk and rough play of Cortland Finnegan — the only NFL player whose name sounds like an Irish hotel chain — the Texans’ receiver ripped off Finnegan’s helmet and punched him repeatedly in the head and face.

Johnson’s punishment? The exact same fine that Chad Ochocinco had to pay for tweeting too close to game time. It raises the question: what do you have to do to get suspended by the NFL? Do you have to actually murder a linebacker? Defile the corpse of a Hall of Famer? Fail to gently lower Tom Brady to the ground and tenderly kiss him on the forehead while sacking him?

December 1, 2010

Toronto: where professional sports go to be embalmed

Filed under: Cancon, Economics, Soccer, Sports — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 12:51

Scott Stinson looks at the less-than-impressive results turned in by Toronto’s various sport teams:

It makes business sense, of course, since Rogers, which already owns television networks and other content platforms devoted to sports, would own almost all the city’s sports properties, too. But would Toronto fans be any closer to a winner? Fans in this city have long lamented the inability of the bottom-line oriented current owners, dominated by the giant Ontario teachers’ pension plan and assorted business types, to build winners on the ice and the field. The franchises have been hugely successful in terms of making money, but woefully unsuccessful in the pursuit of championships.

Leafs: Zero playoff appearance since the NHL lockout of 2005. No Stanley Cups since 1967.

Raptors: In 15 years, they have won 11 playoff games. And lost three franchise players.

Toronto FC: Zero playoff appearance since club was formed in 2006.

[. . .]

So maybe Rogers would be different. Maybe it would want winners, since winners drive ratings. But the Jays haven’t sniffed the playoffs since Rogers bought them in 2000 (admittedly a tall order in a division that includes New York and Boston), and Rogers’ other sporting venture, the lease of eight Buffalo Bills games over five seasons, is thought to be a financial disaster.

It’s a pretty stark example of how disconnected the financial success of the business is from the sporting success of the team, isn’t it?

Update: Do check the comments, where “Lickmuffin” is holding forth about the iniquities of professional sports in general. It’s good, entertaining reading.

August 10, 2009

Yesterday’s menu: random thunderstorms

Filed under: Administrivia, Football — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 07:18

I did mean to update the blog yesterday, but the pattern of thunderstorms coming through the area intersected perfectly with other activities, so that I didn’t get the chance.

Right after dinner, I sat down to watch the first NFL preseason game between the Buffalo Bills and the Tennessee Titans. Just after the introduction of the Hall of Fame inductees for this year, the power went out. It came back on again a few minutes later, so I got to see the most amusing fake-punt by the Titans, and a couple of first-down passes to T.O., and the power went out again.

This time, the power was out for about three hours. Much donder und blitzen, with lots of horizontal strikes of lightning, which was visually quite stunning.

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