Wednesday, April 12, 2006

A few football notes

The meaning of the draft
I've been putting off writing an essay-length post on the metaphysical, existential meaning of the Minnesota Vikings. In the meantime, I'm wondering: what is the meaning of the NFL Draft to a football fan?

Back in February at Free Darko, there was a discussion on the nature of "potential" and NBA fandom. I suggested that the in the NFL, the season is devoted to pure actualization with little talk about potential, and the offseason is devoted to pure potential.

Why is the NFL draft so popular? The fact is, on draft day nobody wins a game and nobody loses a game, but the draft provides us with the perception, the potential, of winning games. It's all about hope. The season may disappoint, but we get to dream. It is tremendously meaningful to NFL fans because it is the only day of substance devoted to hope. During the season, what matters is the season. There's no rebuilding during the season: your team is what it is, be it good, bad, or mediocre. Certainly we are free to hope and dream about the future of our favorite teams at any point, but most of our time as spectators of NFL events is devoted to the now. For one day, we get substance of the future.

The Vikes scored big in the Daunte trade is suggesting that Daunte Culpepper may miss most or all of 2006.
So let's get this straight. The Vikings had a 29 year old QB who had won 2 playoff games. He is recovering from a serious injury that may prevent him from ever being as good again. He may not be able to contribute at all for a full season.

And the Vikings got something for him?

It is possible that the Dolphins gave up a second-round pick for the right to a 30 year old player available in 2007 who has recovered from a career-changing injury and has never been a proven winner.

Adulthood and Responsibility make Pacifist Viking a Sad Fan
I try to use this blog to write about sports, not myself, but occasionally the intersection of sports and my life gives me reason.

I'm an 2nd year adjunct college professor, which means I have no tenure, no seniority, and I get paid per credit I teach each semester. Because I'm in the process of buying a house (a purchase that will soon limit my cable access, cancel my home internet access, and severely limit my football and basketball card collecting), I need to make money. And the good news is that I got my tentative fall schedule, and I'm tentatively scheduled for four classes.

Why mention it here? Because indeed, I am scheduled to teach a class 5:00-8:00 central time on Mondays. I will miss most of the Vikings' season opener (hello, VCR). I will miss parts of the Vikings' Monday Night game vs. the Patriots (unless I can score me some tickets; you better believe I'd give some happy students the night off for that). I guess that might be all the Monday Night Football I miss because of class, since I probably won't have ESPN at all.

So indeed, adulthood and responsibility will seriously limit my fandom in 2006. Life responsibilities have always in some way limited my fandom; the proof that I am an adult is that I'm more than willing to let them.

The precious record
Dan Marino currently has 420 TD passes. Brett Favre has 396. It seemed like when Marino approached Tarkenton's previous record, it was talked about a great deal. So too when Emmitt Smith approached and broke Walter Payton's rushing record.

Why isn't this mentioned in the articles about Favre deciding whether to retire or not? Is Favre being treated like he is above such statistical concerns? I just don't know why nobody even talks about it as potential motivation for returning. It's one of the most hallowed NFL records. If Favre returns, he has a fair chance to break it (he also has a fair chance to break a different record).

I'm just a little curious why this is being ignored, especially since so many writers and broadcasters love to heap praises on Favre.


  1. Two things. First, Brett Favre obviously doesn't care about the TD record becasuse "he's just a kid out there", "he'd play for free", "he just wants to win", "he's a throwback". Second, any mention of the TD record would necessitate a mention of the INT record (even by a serious knob-slobber like Petey King) so you're better off just mentioning neither. Oh, and did I mention how much Brett Favre just wants to play?

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