Luck and Sports
There are three factors that control human affairs: fate (if you don't believe in supernatural forces or socio-economic determinism, you should at least believe in biology), free will (our choice and action), and hazard (or chance, or luck). In Melville's masterpiece Moby-Dick, Ishmael tells us,
"chance, free will, and necessity - no wise incompatible - all interweavingly working together. The straight warp of necessity, not to be swerved from its ultimate course - its every alternating vibration, indeed, only tending to that; free will still free to ply her shuttle between given threads; and chance, though restrained in its play within the right lines of necessity, and sideways in its motions directed by free will, though thus prescribed to by both, chance by turns rules either, and has the last featuring blow at events."
We don't tend to think of the role of chance in sports too often. We like to think of actions and decisions as the factors which determine a game's winner. But we should never forget that we watch a sport with a really odd shaped ball, that can bounce in all sorts of odd ways in different directions, and which way that ball bounces can determine Super Bowl champions.
Winning on Opponent's Error
Today, it's a lot easier for people to blame the Panthers for defeat than to credit the Vikings with victory. I know--the Vikings have lost several games over the past few years in which it was easier to blame coaching decisions than to credit the opponent (such as the 2004 Seattle game, in which the Vikes, with a great QB and a great WR, and driving for a game winning TD, inexplicably called an end-around pass, taking their great QB and great WR out of the play).
But to win a game, you must capitalize on an opponent's error. Carolina made an incredible mistake on that punt fumble. But the Vikings got downfield and recovered the fumble. They then made a great decision going for the fake field goal. They also executed the fake field goal effectively. They then held Carolina scoreless the rest of the game, and did enough to get their own game winning points.
Carolina did lose that game, but the Vikings did win it.
What to like about the Viking defense
In two games, the Vikings have only given up two touchdowns, and ZERO passing touchdowns.
Two weeks in a row, the Vikings gave up only 3 second-half points.
In two games, the Vikings have now allowed just 7 3rd down conversions.
Coach Trick'Em Gutso
The Vikes were 3-3 on 4th down attempts on Sunday. Twice they succeeded on a 4th and short conversion, and then they called a well-timed fake field goal on 4th down that tied the game (I've seen fake field goals before, but I'm not sure I've ever seen game-tying fake field goals in the 4th quarter).
Brad Childress shows restraint and discipline...and he also plays gutsy football. We're lucky to have him as our coach.
With 3 TDs and 1 INT, Favre is now 21 TDs away from tying Dan Marino's career TD record, and 19 INTs away from tying George Blanda's career INT record.
Julius Peppers is a joy to watch (unless he's playing your favorite team)
There's a reason I only call Steve Smith his team's best offensive player; Julius Peppers is his team's best player. For some reason the Vikings usually let Marcus Johnson face Peppers alone, with disasterous results.
And Texan fans, think about this: the same GM who drafted DE Mario Williams over RB Reggie Bush passed on Julius Peppers to draft David Carr. As the great Dr. Farthing once said, "Hindsight is 20/20, my friend." But still...think about that.
For the second week in a row, Troy Williamson made an important 3rd down catch and run on the Vikes' game-winning drive.
A moment in time
In the KC-Denver game, after a poor Jake Plummer pass, the camera cut to a Bronco fan wearing a Jay Cutler jersey with her hands cupped to her mouth shouting, "YOU SUCK!"
Don Shula, what are you doing?
We're all vexed that a Briscoe High team featuring Urlacher, Polamalu, Vick, and Tomlinson is struggling to beat a high school team. I've got the solution to their offensive problems.
They've got a competent QB, Matt Leinart, just taking notes on the sideline. Why not find a way to get him on the field, then find more creative ways to use Vick? He's a singular offensive talent--they could be moving him around to WR, RB, and QB. He could be destroying these high schoolers. Imagine what Vick could do in the Single Wing offense?