Monday, January 25, 2010

Vikings' Misfortune

I know we have a regular blog reader who is a longtime Vikings fan, going back to Joe Kapp and, of course, the legendary Bud Grant. My condolences to this fan after yesterday's travesty. The Vikings dominated the game statistically, only to be undone by an inordinate amount of inopportune turnovers, as well as a ridiculous, costly penalty. The fact that, as a Bills fan, I can manage sympathy for fans of a team that made their conference championship game should give you an idea of just how snakebitten their franchise seems to be.

The aforementioned Vikings fan and I have discussed this curse many times, and yesterday's game was just the latest example of the Minnesotans' knack for bad fortune in big games. At the beginning of the year, we discussed how due to karma, the Favre-Viking marriage was destined to end badly. So, really, yesterday's outcome may have been inevitable.

And, the way the pundits are writing it, the loss falls squarely on the shoulders of #4, due to his bad interception at the end of regulation. However, let it be noted here that it was not Favre's fault (I don't think) that 12 men were on the field previous to the play, resulting in the penalty that knocked the Vikings out of semi-comfortable field goal range and forced Favre to try the ill-fated pass in the first place. I mean the guy was playing on a very bad ankle and had just made a spectacular pass a few plays earlier to move the ball across midfield. It really came down to them asking him to do too much (especially those who keep asking, why didn't he just run for five yards?)

Anyhow, that's probably enough of a Favre apology. As I said, he kind of called the bad karma down upon himself, with enablement/help from the Vikings. I guess, as painful as it is for Vikings fans, who generally seem like a good lot, the team probably got what it deserved.

Final note: I really would like to see Favre come back next year for a couple of reasons:
1. He really had a great year and a second year with the same teammates has the potential to create even better results.
2. I'd hate to see his career end on that miserable interception.

However, you have to wonder if he can take it physically anymore. He seemed fine during the regular season, but the the conference championship looked like another level. The Saints really punished Favre, and I almost hate to see what the Colts (and their great pass rushers) would have done to him in the Super Bowl.

All said, it was an interesting season up in Minnesota and truly a great drama, albeit a bit tragic, played out for the Norsemen!


Anonymous said...

It's a curse that I've been dealing with since the underdog KC Chiefs (with little-known Len Dawson) beat the Vikings in Super Bowl IV.

The Vikings were heavily favored. The Purple People Eaters had been raining down pain on opponents all season long. Then, in the Super Bowl, it was like the unfolding of a bad dream.

It's been like that for them in big games ever since...always a bad dream.

I don't think they were favored last night, but the certainly had every opportunity to win that game. They beat the Saints in nearly every statistical category, including, unfortunately, turnovers and bone-headed plays.

For example, they should have scored at the end of the first half, after the Reggie Bush muff, but they decided to fumble instead.

Then--as Ralph pointed out--they were basically in field goal range at the end of the game when they were hit with a "12-men-on-the-field" penalty. Are you kidding me? The Super Bowl is on the line and you are making preseason-type errors?

I was braced for it. It has happened to me so many times before that I would have been shocked if they would have kicked a field goal for the victory at the end of regulation. I've seen them grasp defeat from the jaws of victory so many times that I've come to expect it.

The last time we went through this was Gary Anderson's missed field goal against Atlanta in 1998. Anderson hadn't missed a field goal all year until that one. And it was only from 39 yards.

(Here's the headline, if you want to Google it: "Anderson's first miss of season proves fatal to Vikings").

I don't want to take anything away from the Saints, however. They capitalized on Minnesota's mistakes and punished Favre throughout the game. They made big plays when they had to.

I'm hoping for a good Super Bowl.

As for Favre, I don't hold it against him. He was asked to do too much, and that's a recipe for disaster for any QB.

Ralph said...

Now, you did win some playoff games in the 70s at least....but I know what you're saying. Regarding Favre, I guess if you think about, he kind of does set himself up for people expecting too much from him - with his huge ego and all, and then almost delivers...but, I think it's his failings that humanize him and make him such a beloved figure for the most part...He's truly Greek. As for your coach, the best I can do is compare him to Wade Philips. He seems to be a good ball coach but not to understands nuances like clock management. Wade never understood special teams in Buffalo. Now the rumor is that he wants to bring Donovan McNabb, another notorious playoff choke, into Minnesota next year. Can't wait.

DrD said...

Terrific lead on this story, by the way. Some of your finest work.

Can I share it with my Journalism classes?

Ralph said...

It's all public domain. Please do. If you want an example of a great column on this topic, check out Sports Guy's latest:

Ralph said...

It's all public domain. Please do. If you want an example of a great column on this topic, check out Sports Guy's latest: