Sunday, December 28, 2008

Week 17 Blizzard

Sports are a lot about luck and timing. The '76 Vikings got to the Super Bowl, where they got blown out by the juggernaut Oakland Raiders. The '77 Vikings didn't get to the Super Bowl, where they would have blown out the Denver Broncos. Swap those years, and I'm 6% less neurotic.

Some seasons an 8-8 team makes the playoffs, and some seasons a 10-6 team misses the playoffs. Sometimes a 9-7 record will win you a division title, and sometimes a 12-4 record will earn you a Wild Card.

I believe pretty strongly in the power of Hazard, but even I'm appalled that an 11-5 team isn't making the playoffs but an 8-8 team in the same conference in the same year is.

The Vikings-Eagles game is the last game of Wild Card weekend, at 3:30 Sunday.

Drew Brees and Dan Marino
I'm glad Brees didn't break Marino's yardage record of 5,084 yards, but I'm even disappointed Brees became the second QB to break 5,000 yards.

Dan Marino's 1984 season was better than Drew Brees' 2008 season in every conceivable way. Not only did Marino throw 48 TD passes that season (14 more than Brees threw this season), but Marino threw for 5,084 yards while leading the Dolphins to a 14-2 record--that's six more wins than Brees' Saints. Marino averaged 9.0 yards per attempt and had a 108.9 rating. Drew Brees averaged 8.0 yards per attempt (very good, but a full yard under Marino) and had a 96.2 rating. Marino is better than Drew Brees in every way, and his 1984 season was better than any season Drew Brees will ever have.

Colts and Chargers
Here's the difference between the 8-8 San Diego Chargers and the 12-4 Indianapolis Colts: the Colts won close games. The Chargers were 2-7 in games decided by seven or less, and the Colts were 8-1 in games decided by seven or less. I don't think the quality of these two teams is very different. Certainly the Colts were luckier. Maybe Peyton Manning is a clutch QB (at the very least, he's an elite passer and he remains an elite passer when the game is on the line in the fourth quarter). But this should be a good playoff matchup.

2008 Stat Notes
Adrian Peterson wins the rushing title with 1,760 yards.

Peyton Manning threw for 4,002 yards and 27 TD passes. It was his ninth 4,000 yard season, and in each of his 11 seasons he's thrown for 26+ TDs.

Brett Favre led the league in interceptions for the third time; it was his sixth season with 20+ interceptions.

Ed Reed led the league with nine interceptions; it was his second time leading the league and his sixth time in the top-10 in interceptions.

Kurt Warner has now had three seasons with 4,000 yards and 30 TDs.

"No, they weren't all happy days."
Some reasonable complaints about Brad Childress at Grant's Tomb.

"The call is from heroism. Do you accept the charges?"
Pat Williams returns?

It feels like a successful season: 10 wins, a division title, and a home playoff game, all for the first time since 2000. But let us remember the 11-5 1992 Vikings, and the 10-6 1994 Vikings: they each got blown out in home playoff games. Feelings can turn sour quickly. The Vikes have won a bunch of division titles, but those division titles don't keep me warm in the cold, dark night.


  1. Anonymous9:20 AM

    i think in many ways this is the worst possible matchup for the Vikes. jim johnson is prob the best DC in all of football and will do a great job of mixing up coverages and come with every blitz package imaginable to confuse tarvaris.

    i am still perplexed at why AD does not have more runs of 3 to 8 yards. man if he had the holes that tatum bell had in the 1H of the denver game he could run for 300 yards. just don't think our line does a very good job. AD is not just a home run hitter.

    madieu williams needs to pick up his game. i have been watching him the last 2 games and thought he played pretty terrible. every time he is in position to make a play at the line of scrimmage he dives for the runner's ankles and they run right through his tackle. he needs to show some toughness and hit some people.

    that said no one in the NFC really scares me but the Vikes will need to bring their A game which they don't often do. Go Vikes !

  2. Anonymous10:22 AM

    Actually, having an 8-8 division champ makes it more likely that a team with a very good record will miss the playoffs. The last time an 8-8 team (1985 Browns) won their division was also the last time an 11-5 team (1985 Broncos) missed the playoffs.

    The reason is pretty simple: all those losses in the sucky division translate to wins in the other divisions, making the cutoff for wild card consideration a game or two higher.

  3. That's true. I'm glad to see there's a precedent for this. It's rare, but I guess it happens.

  4. I'd just like to point out that Peterson had 1760 yards, which is also known as a mile. Congratulations.

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