Monday, November 12, 2007

On the Couch, Week Ten

My initial despair over the Vikings is below; "On the Couch" is a chance to explore other NFL games and stories, while also reviving the misery of the Vikings.

Week Ten Scores

Peyton Manning tells me to buy bigger shirts.
I laughed out loud at the new Peyton Manning advice commercial, where he tells us that we can't have a good stomach, and if he were us, he'd buy bigger shirts. His delivery on the final line is as perfect as his delivery of the football into Reggie Wayne's waiting hands (this deliberately hokey sentence is my submission to the Stupid Blog Sentence of the Year awards). But seriously, it's a great commercial, and Manning is hilarious in it.

Strategy at the end of Colts-Chargers
If you're in a tie game, and you get the ball into field goal range with three minutes left, it's not bad strategy to try run time off the clock and kick the field goal at the end. Even if you miss the field goal, it's still a tie game, and you're diminishing your opponents' chance to score.

If you're a bad offensive team, down by two points, and you get the ball into field goal range with three minutes left, it's not bad strategy to try run time off the clock and kick the field goal at the end. If you're a bad offensive team, that field goal try is probably your best chance to win, and you want to give yourself your best chance.

But if you're a good offensive team, down by two points, and you get the ball into field goal range with three minutes left, you should try to score a touchdown. Your offense is good, and you should rely on it. Even if you've had turnovers earlier in the game, you have to trust your good offense more than a field goal attempt, when anything can happen (especially in wet conditions). And maybe when the Colts were running Joseph Addai up the middle three straight plays, they were trying to drive for a touchdown (after all, Addai was only inches short of picking up a first down). But it sure looked like they were playing it safe, running time-killing plays up the middle, avoiding trying to pass the ball into the endzone for a final score.

I trust Peyton Manning throwing for a game-winning TD in the rain more than I trust any kicker making a field goal in the rain.

Minnesota has turned my soul cold.
Later this week, What was that bang? will be writing about the across the board miseries of the Minnesota sports scene. We were chatting about how many games, combined, the Vikings and Timberwolves would win this season. We both agree that there's no way they get to 30. No chance. There's even a possibility they don't combine for 20.

And embracing this atmosphere of despair is a little bit better than having any hope. Just viewing Minnesota sports fandom as a wasteland in which no teams are really going to get a championship is slightly more comforting than having or hearts ripped out and stomped on over and over again. None of our pro teams have reached a championship round since 1991. There's really no reason to think any of them will by 2091. Ours is a lot of despair. It's OK.

I'm not so stupid.
Whenever Adrian Peterson dominates, my friends and family have taken to mocking me for my desire to see the Vikings draft Brady Quinn at #7 in April.

But I'm not so stupid.

No, I'm thrilled the Vikings drafted Adrian Peterson, and we're going to get to see the next all-time great running back's career unfold in front of us.

But quarterback is the most important position in pro football. And the Viking quarterbacks suck. I wanted the Vikings to draft Quinn because I thought they'd be solidifying the most important position in football for the next 15 years (or at least taking their best shot at doing so).

Adrian Peterson is great, so mock me if you like. But the Vikings have no passing game whatsoever, and I wasn't so stupid to want the Vikings to draft a quarterback.

Donovan McNabb will burn your soul.
Aided by Brian Westbrook, Donovan McNabb had a great fantasy week. Was his early season inconsistency merely the recovery period from last season's injury? Was Sunday's performance, like McNabb's early season performance against Detroit, just another "We'll see" from a distracted mother getting kids to hope "We'll see" means they'll be getting ice cream? What does it all mean?

What a brutal season for Dolphin fans.
One reason I despair so over the Vikings is because they've never won a championship. If they had, even if it was 30 years ago, no matter what they did, I'd tell myself, "Well, at least they won a Super Bowl."

Dolphin fans, watching their horrible team continue to lose, can still do that. They won two (they even whipped the Vikes in one of them). But Dolphin fans have also always been able to fall back on the 17-0 1972 team. No matter what the Dolphins did, they always had the undefeated season that nobody else had.

Now their team is 0-9, with a real possibility of 0-16. And one of their big rivals, the New England Patriots, appears to have a real possibility for 19-0.

If both those things happen, Dolphin fans will have to mark 2007 as their darkest time as fans.

Fantasy Football
A week ago, I would have looked at tonight's Seahawks-49ers Monday night matchup and barely cared. I don't ever want to see a .500 team or under win a division, so I suppose I'd be rooting for Seattle. But really, would anything really make me care one way or another who won or which players did what?

And then last week I traded for Matt Hasslebeck and Frank Gore in the Hazelweird Fantasy Football League. Now I'm super excited and super anxious for tonight's game.

That's what fantasy football can do--make you care about things you don't care about.


  1. Anonymous9:35 PM

    nothing wrong with wanting a qb. but wanting brady quinn? as you watch alex smith bumble around tonight try and get inside the mind of a 49ers fan and what that wasted pick must feel like and the knowledge that wasted pick will be forced into action for another year or two out of stupid fidelity to a bad draft choice and 40million wasted.


  2. As you know, I don't get to watch Alex Smith stumble around.

    But I trust stat folks. FO finds Brady Quinn ranking pretty solid in the college-to-pro-success stat indicators (completion percentage, starts). p-f-r noted that ND's suckitude now may reflect pretty well for Quinn (a solidly developed argument I can link to if you're interested). I don't assume Quinn is a bum; I assume he's got a legitimate shot to be a 15 year QB.


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