February 4, 2018

Randy Moss (deservedly) makes it into the NFL Hall of Fame on his first try

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

Randy Moss, with all his baggage, was not the kind of player you’d traditionally expect to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but his record was just too good to ignore:

Randy Moss elected to the Pro Football Hall Of Fame

Randy Moss has found his final NFL end zone. Moss, the former first round draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings, has been elected to the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.

Taken 21st overall in the 1998 draft by head coach Dennis Green, Moss instantly transformed the Vikings offense, led the NFL with 17 touchdown receptions, and was part of an offense that scored 556 points, which was an NFL record.

Moss was electrifying on the field, and there had never been a receiver to come into the league with the combination of size and speed that Moss possessed. He utterly dominated games at times, and he saved his best for the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys. In an effort to try and contain Moss, in 1999 the Packers spent their first three draft picks on defensive backs.

It largely failed. Some of Moss’ biggest games came against the Packers, including his 1998 Monday Night Football coming out party, and the 2004 NFC Wildcard playoff game, the infamous ‘Moss Moons Lambeau’ game.

But for all his talents on the field, he could be a polarizing figure off of it. He had run-ins with the law both in college and with the Vikings, and at the end of the 2004 season his distractions came to a head, and he was traded to the Oakland Raiders by owner Red McCombs, who was in the process of selling the team. I’ve said this before and I will maintain until my dying day that McCombs traded Moss out of spite due to his inability to get a new stadium, and that was his last middle finger to the Vikings fans and the state of Minnesota on his way out the door.

He had two lost seasons in Oakland before being reborn in New England, and in 2007 the Patriots, led by Moss and Tom Brady, broke the 1998 Vikings scoring record. Moss had over 1400 yards and a mind boggling 23 TD’s, as the Patriots went 16-0, but lost the Super Bowl in the final seconds to the Giants. In his first Super Bowl appearance, Moss had 62 yards receiving and a touchdown that looked to be the game winner with under three minutes to play.

In 2010, he was famously traded back to the Vikings, but age had caught up with him and QB Brett Favre. They did have one notable highlight, though, as Moss caught Favre’s 500th TD pass. However, head coach Brad Childress famously deemed Moss a ‘programmatic non-fit’ less than a month after trading for him, and released him.

Less than a month after that, Childress was fired.

I loved what Moss could do on the football field almost as much as I feared what he might do off the field. But if we only judge him on his NFL career, this is a well-deserved honour.

January 31, 2018

How the Vikings plundered Minnesota

Filed under: Economics, Football, Government, USA — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

By all accounts, the Minnesota Vikings’ new stadium in Minneapolis is a wonderful structure and fans have been very happy with the amenities provided. However, as Steven Malanga explains, the non-fan taxpayers in the city and the state have a right to feel plundered by the Vikings:

Fans of the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles will travel to the frigid northern city this week because the NFL granted a Super Bowl to Minnesota as a reward for stepping up with more than half a billion dollars in subsidies for the home-state Vikings’ U.S. Bank Stadium, which opened in 2016. For a city whose mayor recently described it as a “shining beacon of progressive light and accomplishment,” this is some feat, and a reminder that the NFL, whatever its troubles, maintains a firm hold on the taxpayer’s purse in many places.

Vikings owner Zygi Wilf, a New Jersey real estate developer, began pushing for a new stadium soon after purchasing the team in 2005. His supplications became more earnest after the roof of the Vikings’ old home, the Metrodome, collapsed in December 2010. Wilf originally proposed contributing just one quarter of the new stadium’s $1 billion cost, a spectacularly low-ball offer in an era when backlash against stadium subsidies for professional teams increasingly force owners to pony up a bigger share of construction costs. Wilf claimed that he couldn’t afford more, but he wouldn’t release the financial details of his real estate empire. A Minnesota state investigation, undertaken after a New Jersey judge ruled that the Wilf family had defrauded real estate partners in a local project and had to pay them $84.5 million, determined that the family could afford to pay up to $500 million for the stadium.

Even after Wilf upped his offer, the road to the stadium deal was paved with controversy. Minnesota financed a portion of its share of the costs by introducing a state-licensed electronic-gambling game to generate construction revenues, but the game proved a clunker with local residents; to fill the financing hole, Minnesota drew on revenues from its tobacco tax and increased corporate taxes. Then Wilf announced that he’d help finance his part of the deal by charging season ticketholders a seat license fee — prompting a threat from Minnesota governor Mark Dayton to pull government financing. Dayton soon changed his tune, explaining that sports financing has its own ineffable logic. “I’m not one to defend the economics of professional sports,” he said. “Any deal you make in that world doesn’t make sense from the way the rest of us look at it.”

Though it lent its balance sheet to the deal, the city of Minneapolis, according to critics — including one former city councilman — has been “hosed” by the Vikings. The city officially contributed $150 million to stadium construction, but these observers contend that that figure doesn’t include expensive infrastructure improvements that Minneapolis was forced to make. As part of the stadium package, Minneapolis also agreed to send $7.5 million a year in operating subsidies to the authority running the facility, which amounts to $225 million over the course of the deal. City taxpayers also apparently remain on the hook for any shortfalls in the revenues that back the bonds used to build the surrounding infrastructure. Residents understand little of this financing because, as the Minneapolis Star Tribune noted, the stadium deal “was as transparent as the Berlin wall.”

I’m a (very) long-term fan of the team, but that doesn’t mean I approve of the taxpayers being robbed blind so local fans of the team get to watch the game in a corporate welfare palace. Reason has posted several videos exposing the crony capitalist roots of stadium financing, including most recently this one. I first heard of “seat licenses” in 2014 and they sounded like a bad idea to me then. Back in 2012, when the public support was announced, I was not happy about it.

January 25, 2018

The wisdom of Zim Tzu, post-NFC Championship edition

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

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer doesn’t like talking to the press even on a good day, and the day after his team lost the NFC title game is pretty much the definition of not-a-good-day. Despite that, league rules require head coaches to speak to the media, and coach Zimmer complies. Grimly, impatiently, unhappily. Among the reporting on the press conference, one always stands head-and-shoulders above the rest because while other outlets merely report on the actual words said, The Daily Norseman‘s Ted Glover deploys his unique skills to unveil the real intent behind Zim Tzu’s words.


January 22, 2018

NFC Championship game – Vikings at Eagles … well, that happened

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

For the first couple of drives, it really did look like the Vikings would earn their first ticket to a Super Bowl in decades, but it didn’t last long. Turnovers on the offensive side of the ball and some real head-scratching missed tackles on the defensive side meant that the Eagles could do very little wrong and ended up with a 38-7 win to seal the NFC title.


January 20, 2018

Looking toward the NFC Championship game on Sunday

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

This Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings go to Philadelphia’s Linkin Park Lincoln Financial Field to play the Eagles for the chance to go to Super Bowl LII. Neither team has ever won a Super Bowl title, and both fanbases are feeling the pressure of “destiny” for this year. The Vikings are the first-ever team to advance to the Conference Championship with hopes of playing the big game in their home stadium. Everyone expects this game to be decided more by the ferocious defences than by any heroics on the offensive side of the ball. At The Daily Norseman, Ted Glover explains why “destiny” is a poor basis on which to predict an outcome of a football game:

What do the Vikes need to do to come home with one more game to play?

Destiny. That’s a dangerous word, and it’s used a lot right now, by both the Minnesota Vikings and the Philadelphia Eagles. After the Minneapolis Miracle, it’s hard not to think there’s something special going on in Minnesota right now, yet the Eagles have continued winning without Carson Wentz, and dispatched the defending NFC Champions last week. Both franchises have storied yet unfulfilled histories, and both fan bases firmly believe fate and destiny is on their side this time:

Destiny and fate aren’t going to bring home a win on Sunday, though. Solid, fundamental football will, and if the Vikings are going to get to the Super Bowl, here’s what they’re going to need to do.

Survive the initial wave of emotion. In the aftermath of the Saints game Minneapolis Miracle, a lot of folks asked me who I would have rather the Vikes played, Atlanta or Philadelphia. My answer was and still is Atlanta. Matt Ryan is better than Nick Foles, but the rest of the Falcons team isn’t as good as Philly, and Atlanta would have been a home game. Lincoln Financial Field is going to be a madhouse, and the energy level will be off the charts. The Eagles are 7-1 at home this year, and have scored first five times.

My big worry with this game is that the Eagles will feed off of that, jump out to a quick lead, and then the Vikings will start pressing. Things will then compound and steamroll, and we’ll be in for a long day. Minnesota’s 6-2 road record is impressive, but consider: their two losses came at the hands of two playoff teams, Pittsburgh and Carolina. In both games the home team jumped out to quick leads, and the Vikings could never dig themselves out of a hole.

In all eight of their road games this year, the home team scored first in six of them, and that is something the Vikings must avoid at all cost on Sunday.

But the flip side to that if the Vikings can survive that wave, and maybe get an early lead in Philly, it’s really going to affect that crowd. Look, in some ways, these two fanbases are kindred spirits in terms of their team’s fatalism and belief in being cursed. We don’t boo Santa or throw batteries at him like Philly Fan, but if Minnesota can go up say 10-0 or 14-0 early, that crowd is going to get uneasy. If the crowd can get taken out of the game, they could even start to turn on the home team the later the game gets. That could be an advantage for the Vikings and it might make Philly press, and hopefully things will start snowballing in the wrong direction for them.


Prediction: Last week, I felt supremely confident that the Vikings would handle their business against the Saints, and do it by a fairly comfortable margin. At halftime, I felt like a genius. With 10 seconds left in the game, I was questioning every life decision that brought me to that point in Vikings fandom.

The last time I had that much of an emotional swing in that compressed amount of time was in Afghanistan, in 2001. I’m 100% serious. Now granted, the emotions I felt were kinda sort different (abject misery to pure bliss in 10 seconds vs. stark raving terror, the most relieved I’ve ever been X1000 that I’m still alive, then utter fury at those bastards so let’s bring the bad attitude right f***ng now boys in about half a second), and I never want to go through that kind of swing again.

I won’t avoid it this week either, at least I don’t think so. This game is going to be a nail biter, the two best teams and the two best defenses going toe to toe for three hours. It’s going to come down to the last possession, and someone will make a play we’re going to talk about for years.

Vikes win, 16-13.

Skol. Let’s Bring It Home.

My crystal ball has been cloudy for most of the season, which is why I’m only at number 27 of 98 in the DN Pick ‘Em NFL pool, but I see the outcome a tiny bit higher-scoring at Minnesota 17, Philadelphia 14. I desperately hope we’re both right about the winning team this time around.

January 19, 2018

The ineffectiveness of the NFL kneeling protests

Filed under: Football, Liberty, Media, Politics, USA — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

In the Wall Street Journal, Shelby Steele explained (among other things) why the NFL protests went nowhere and seemed to have so little positive effect … unfortunately, that essay is behind a paywall, so Rod Dreher has pulled out some key excerpts:

… Steele reflects that black protest has lost its power to change minds in our culture. Steele says the self-defeating nature of the NFL kneeling protests — they have not only failed to change minds, but have ended up hurting the league. He says that unlike Martin Luther King and the civil rights protesters, these wealthy players took no serious risks. Nevertheless, because black protest has in the recent past been so incredibly effective, it makes sense that they would follow this model:

    It is not surprising, then, that these black football players would don the mantle of protest. The surprise was that it didn’t work. They had misread the historical moment. They were not speaking truth to power. Rather, they were figures of pathos, mindlessly loyal to a black identity that had run its course.

    What they missed is a simple truth that is both obvious and unutterable: The oppression of black people is over with. This is politically incorrect news, but it is true nonetheless. We blacks are, today, a free people. It is as if freedom sneaked up and caught us by surprise.

    Of course this doe not mean there is no racism left in American life. Racism is endemic to the human condition, just as stupidity is. We will always have to be on guard against it. But now it is recognized as a scourge, as the crowning immorality of our age and our history.

    Protest always tries to make a point. But what happens when that point has already been made — when, in this case, racism has become anathema and freedom has expanded?

Steele goes on to say that black Americans, victims of four centuries of grinding oppression, weren’t ready for freedom.

    [F]reedom put blacks at the risk of being judged inferior, the very libel that had always been used against us.

    To hear, for example, that more than 4,000 people were shot in Chicago in 2016 embarrasses us because this level of largely black-on-black crime cannot be blamed simply on white racism.

Steele makes the interesting and important point that freedom “is a condition, not an agent of change.” It doesn’t mean things get better for you automatically. It only means that one has the liberty to change one’s life. And with freedom comes responsibility.

January 17, 2018

The wisdom of Zim Tzu, NFC championship edition

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

After every regular season and post-season game, the NFL requires that the head coach of each team address the media. Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer is not a fan of this rule, but he follows the rules as needed. His lack of enthusiasm for dealing with media swine is noteworthy, and his carefully guarded words are crafted to avoid both giving away essential information to upcoming opponents and avoid facing NFL fines. Under the circumstances, a high quality fan publication like the Daily Norseman would be well advised to employ a highly trained Zimspeak consultant to tease out the real meanings of the zen-like koans that fill a typical Mike Zimmer press conference. Unfortunately, like most fan publications, DN doesn’t have the budget for fripperies like that so instead they get Ted Glover to provide his own unique view of what Zim Tzu really meant:


January 16, 2018

Vikings-Saints Stock Market Report by Ted Glover

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

Due to the later finish in Sunday’s Vikings-Saints divisional round game, I didn’t get to include the Daily Norseman‘s Ted Glover assessing the game in his patented Stock Market Report format. Belatedly, here’s the Buy/Sell section for this game:


January 15, 2018

Vikings beat New Orleans Saints 29-24 in improbable finish to advance to NFC Championship game

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

The first half played out pretty much exactly as Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer game-planned it, allowing the New Orleans Saints no chance to score and reaching halftime with a 17-point lead. The second half didn’t go as anybody game-planned it, right down to the so-improbable-that-no-movie-director-would-ever-script-it last-second winning touchdown to clinch the game for Minnesota:


January 12, 2018

The wisdom of Zim Tzu, pre-divisional round edition

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

This Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings will host the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Divisional round. By league rules, the head coach of each team must address the media at least once before the game, and despite his deep revulsion for all things media-related, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer held the obligatory press conference earlier this week. As always, Zim Tzu does not dispense his wisdom lightly or to those who are incapable of comprehending the totality of his vision. For those benighted souls, the Daily Norseman gets their only black belt Zim Tzu disciple to provide an informed and educated translation of the guru’s brilliance, appropriately interpreted for the unwashed masses:


January 3, 2018

The wisdom of Zim Tzu, early postseason edition

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

After each Vikings game, head coach Mike Zimmer is contractually obligated to talk to the local press for at least a few minutes. Although he’s getting better at hiding it, this is the part of his job he likes the least. As a result, he resorts to speaking a certain coded language that only The Daily Norseman‘s Ted Glover is fully conversant with, and he generously shares his dynamic translation skills with the rest of us in the unwashed masses:


January 1, 2018

Chicago Bears end season on losing note at Minnesota, 23-10

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

On Sunday afternoon, the Vikings had already locked up a playoff berth, but could clinch the number two seed (and get a week off to prepare) with a win. The Bears were out of the playoff race weeks ago, but had been showing marked improvement over their early-season form, and were likely to offer the Vikings at the least a good test for the post-season. It took some trickery, but the Bears at least forced the Vikings to keep their starters in for the whole game, before getting stuffed at the goal line inside the final three minutes and turning the ball over on downs to end their hopes.


December 24, 2017

Vikings pitch a shutout at Lambeau to beat the Packers 16-0

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 13:01

For the first time in over twenty years, the Vikings held an opponent scoreless, which is always a bonus when you’re the visiting team. Lambeau Field is a very cold place to play in December, and Saturday’s game was reportedly the coldest game played in the NFL this season.

Vikings safety Harrison Smith was snubbed for a Pro Bowl spot this year, but demonstrated just how good he is with a dominant defensive performance including two interceptions and a perfect rating from Pro Football Focus. The Vikings had a couple of injuries, the most sigificant being guard Nick Easton who is out for the remainder of the season with a broken ankle. Jeremiah Sirles will probably replace him on the offensive line. Long snapper Kevin McDermott went out with a shoulder injury, so tight end David Morgan was called in to replace him. Morgan had never snapped in a game at any level until Saturday, so it was a very good effort on his part that only one of his five snaps was “iffy”, but Kai Forbath scored the field goal anyway.

December 20, 2017

Zim Tzu reflects on facing his former mentor

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

After every Vikings game, head coach Mike Zimmer speaks to the local media. To some, his words are merely conveying ordinary common wisdom, but for the Daily Norseman‘s Ted Glover, Zim Tzu speaks in a secret code that only he can translate for the benefit of the unwashed masses:


December 18, 2017

Cincinnati Bengals blown out by the Minnesota Vikings, 34-7

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

The Minnesota Vikings, having finished a tough set of road games, returned home to Minneapolis to face the Bengals with the NFC North title on the line. The Vikings got some much-needed reinforcement along the offensive line, as right tackle Mike Remmers and centre Pat Elflein were able to return after missing time. Tight end Kyle Rudolph was also active, although he didn’t see much action during the game. The very first play was a sack of Case Keenum by Geno Atkins, but after that the Bengals didn’t show a lot of life.

Other than the win itself to clinch the NFC North, the high point of the game for me was when Teddy Bridgewater came in during the fourth quarter to finish out the game. I’m not lying: tears. Sadly, he didn’t do well (unsurprising after so long out of the line-up), throwing an interception on his first passing attempt (which the Bengals eventually turned into their only points of the day) and having the receiver drop his second pass that would have extended a drive — oh, and losing rushing yards on those kneel-downs to end the game. Vikings twitter reacted as you’d expect:


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