Quotulatiousness

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.

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

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.

December 26, 2016

Vikings’ faint postseason hopes dashed in 38-25 loss in Green Bay

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 11:37

Yes, the game was played nearly 48 hours ago … I had better things to do with my time on Christmas Day than to conduct an autopsy of the Packers game. But I guess I can’t put it off much longer, so I’ll hold my nose as I dip into the media and fan coverage of the last letdown in Lambeau.

For a start, let’s briefly touch on the one player who did everything in his power to carry the team to victory, with Adam Thielen’s career performance at wide receiver: 12 catches for 202 yards, and two touchdowns, moving him past Stefon Diggs as Minnesota’s leading receiver for 2016. Thielen is a restricted free agent next year, so we can safely assume signing him to a new deal will be high on Rick Spielman’s list of priorities for the off-season.

If you’re a fan of signs, omens, and portents, you hit the jackpot even before the Vikings made it to their hotel on Friday evening, as the team’s chartered plane slipped off the runway after landing in Wisconsin and the team had to be evacuated from the plane, two-by-two by fire department cherry-pickers. It was several hours before they were all re-united at the hotel, so team meetings had to be cancelled in favour of allowing the players and coaches something like a normal night’s sleep.

(more…)

December 19, 2016

Adrian Peterson’s return sparks … nothing much

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 10:25

The Minnesota Vikings’ historically bad running game was supposed to get a big boost when Adrian Peterson returned to the line-up after spending most of the season on injured reserve. To be kind, that’s not what happened on Sunday. The Indianapolis Colts came in to US Bank Stadium desperately needing a win to stay relevant in the AFC playoff race, but the Vikings appeared to already be thinking about what they’ll be doing in the offseason. There were a few individual efforts that merit praise, but the team as a whole looked unco-ordinated, unsynchronized, and unmotivated. Andrew Luck is a good quarterback, but the Viking defence made him look like the league MVP — when they weren’t giving up bone-headed penalties and playing out of position. Without safety Harrison Smith in the defensive secondary, the Colts’ tight ends and receivers seemed to be open all game long.

Before the game started, the TV announcers emphasized how much trouble Indianapolis would have against the Vikings’ fearsome defensive line, especially as the Colts would be starting three rookies at centre, right guard, and right tackle. Yet once the game began, a strange thing happened: Andrew Luck remained upright and almost completely untouched until the fourth quarter when Tolzien came in for clean-up duty. No turnovers, no sacks, and almost no pressure made Luck’s day a very easy one.

Adrian Peterson, activated from injured reserve on Saturday, got the start for the Vikings but was unable to do anything behind Minnesota’s historically bad offensive line. His longest run of the day ended in a lost fumble that the Colts turned into a touchdown. It would probably have been better for Peterson and the Vikings if he’d waited until next week to make his return: Jerick McKinnon was much more effective in both the running and passing game after Peterson was benched.

(more…)

December 16, 2016

Fixing the NFL’s Thursday Night Football problem

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

At 1500ESPN, Matthew Coller suggests a (pretty obvious) solution to the NFL’s ongoing problem with Thursday Night Football:

On Nov. 20, the Minnesota Vikings had the type of game that turns a season around: A 30-24 win over the Arizona Cardinals at US Bank Stadium. On Nov. 24, they were on the road playing on national TV against the Detroit Lions. The Vikings lost a hideous, good-thing-you-didn’t-pay-to-watch-that-one game in the Motor City by three points. The game essentially cost them a shot at winning the NFC Central.

It’s hard to take that result seriously.

There are several lenses in which we can look through when discussing the misguided way the league has implemented Thursday games. The first is player safety. Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman recently attacked the hypocrisy of the league claiming the game is safer, then pushing players back on the field without proper time to heal.

He wrote on the Player’s Tribune:

    I just don’t understand why the NFL says it’s taking a stand on player safety, then increases the risks its players face by making them play on Thursday, before their bodies are ready.

    My Seahawks teammates and I are playing in one of the last Thursday night games of the season this week, so we’re one of the last teams to be exploited in 2016. One of the last to be taken advantage of. One of the last to get the middle finger from the NFL.

    But as long as the NFL is using that same finger to count Thursday Night Football dollars, I don’t think it really cares.

The solution seems so easy. Why can’t TNF begin in Week 5 and have the schedule set up to give the two teams the previous week off? Bye week. Thursday night. Then 10 day break until the next game.

That scheduling tweak would almost certainly make a huge difference for the individual teams assigned to the TNF slot: it’s like a mini-bye-week.

December 12, 2016

Vikings beat Jaguars 25-16 to keep playoff hopes (barely) alive

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 09:07

I knew I wasn’t going to be able to watch Sunday’s game even if it was broadcast in the Toronto area, as I’d promised to head down to Burlington to bring my mother to our place for the holidays. This means my Twitter feed was completely empty of my traditional game-related tweets on Sunday afternoon (you’re welcome, guys).

After dropping two games to the Detroit Lions, the Vikings are looking at a wildcard rather than the NFC North title to get them into the post-season. Even getting the wildcard pretty much requires the Vikings to win all of their remaining games (and still will likely need some help), which will be a challenge with an offensive line consisting of a hay bale, a regional champion mannequin challenge player, a scarecrow, a mime with a nasty makeup-related skin condition, and young Bobby McFarlane (the backup right tackle at Our Lady of Hopeless Causes High School in Mankato, MN). Honestly, it’s a genuine miracle that Sam Bradford is still alive at this point in the season … and keeping him alive for the last quarter of the season will be a double miracle.

(more…)

December 7, 2016

NFL time is weird

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

Dave Rappoccio on the least likely event that just apparently happened in the NFL:

What I think is funny is an irony that I don’t think anyone else has picked up on yet. Andy Reid, a coach with quite possibly the worst reputation for time management on final drives, now effectively, in a way, holds the record for fastest game winning comeback drive in an NFL game.

It is. It’s the fastest. The only way a comeback can be faster is if the exact same thing happens but the guy runs to the endzone slightly faster. There is no way to score a faster comeback. Extra Points or conversion attempts do not take time off the clock. Effectively, the Falcons, despite scoring the go-ahead touchdown…were never actually ahead. When the clock started again, the Chiefs had the lead. The Falcons lead was maybe a minute of real time, but in game time sits in a weird vacuum between dimensions, never to be found. This is the fastest game winning drive in NFL history, and the man who owns it couldn’t call a timeout properly if his lunch date depended on it. Andy Reid, a man who is so baffled by clocks he’s still trying to understand how daylight savings works, owns this record. This might low-key be the most amazing thing that happens all year. Sometimes football can deliver in ways you’d never expect.

December 2, 2016

Great defensive effort wasted in Vikings loss to Cowboys, 17-15

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 09:41

The Dallas Cowboys visited Minnesota on Thursday night, bringing their NFL-best record and a ten-game winning streak. They left town with their streak still intact, but it came down to the last minute of the game to secure the win.

With Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer resting at home after emergency eye surgery, special teams co-ordinator Mike Priefer was acting head coach, to allow offensive co-ordinator Pat Shurmur and defensive co-ordinator George Edwards to concentrate on their respective areas of responsibility. The Vikings got a few key players back from injury, with wide receiver Stefon Diggs and cornerback Terence Newman both suited up for the game.

The game was very close from start to finish, which meant that minor miscues could have huge ramifications on the scoreboard. I missed most of the first quarter, but my Twitter feed provided all the “T.J. Clemmings is garbage” content during that time to assure me that things were back to their putrid normal on the offensive line. Cowboys quarterback phenomenon was shown to be merely human through most of the game, and his biggest contributions to keeping drives alive were on scrambles (aided by some pretty blatant holding on the offensive line, especially against Brian Robison).

Both of the Cowboys’ touchdowns came after a minor glitch gave Dallas an opportunity and they were able to capitalize. Other than that, the Vikings defence kept the lid on all game. One was a mistake in coverage, as Harrison Smith was too aggressive in covering Dez Bryant, and the second was a fumbled punt by Adam Thielen deep inside Viking territory.

(more…)

November 25, 2016

Vikings fall short (again) against the Lions, 16-13

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 10:37

The Vikings played the early US Thanksgiving game at Detroit yesterday and were in reach of a win in the final minute of the game, but a rare interception of Sam Bradford gave the Lions the win instead. With top wide receiver Stefon Diggs on the sideline, Bradford depended on getting the ball out as fast as humanly possible to Adam Thielen, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Kyle Rudolph, as the patchwork line lost yet another starter with center Joe Berger out with a concussion (and a hip injury to backup tackle Jeremiah Sirles).

(more…)

November 21, 2016

Vikings beat visiting Cardinals 30-24

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 12:48

With the CFL’s Eastern and Western conference finals being played, there was no Canadian broadcast coverage of the Arizona Cardinals visiting Minnesota that I could access, so I had to follow the course of the game on Twitter. Many Vikings bloggers were billing this game as a make-or-break for the Vikings season after enduring a four-game losing streak and yet more injuries on the offensive line. It would be especially important because the team is playing again on Thursday in Detroit. Another loss and a short week before facing the Lions at home was probably going to be too steep a hill to climb.

During the pre-game introductions, a Fox sound technician had an unwelcome encounter with the Vikings defence:

Despite the violence of the collision, he was able to continue working after the hit, and had a brief cameo during the halftime coverage.

(more…)

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