Jared Allen‘s name has been called more frequently of late and we footballogists have a phrase for that: We call it A Very Good Thing. Cause God knows, we’ve needed him.
Better late than never, I guess.
The Strib‘s Chip Scoggins has a quote from Allen that is illuminating: “”At this point, people’s character get tested. You find out when you’re in a bad situation who really likes football. Who loves football and loves to go play and who’s going to put it on the line every single week — win, lose or draw.”
It’s true. One of the most enjoyable things about playing football is those games where you utterly and soundly defeat your opponent; those games where there’s nothing they can do to stop you.
You get two reactions in those situations: 1) Teams who turn on themselves and ultimately collapse and 2) teams who believe they can come back and who give it their all, regardless of how hopeless the game may seem.
With the teams that turn on themselves, after you get a big lead on them, they start pressing which leads to more mistakes and if you capitalize on those mistakes, a bigger lead.
Halfway through the game, you typically get a guy who starts shouting at his teammates, accusing them of playing poorly and not doing their jobs. This guy is usually someone who makes plenty of mistakes himself but will never admit it.
You leave him alone for the time being; there will be plenty of time to deal with him.
First, you go after the guys who he’s yelling at because they probably are playing poorly. If you can get some big plays against those guys it both serves to further demoralize that player but it also makes the guy who’s excoriating everyone that much louder.
You continue to pick on the players he’s yelling at until they start yelling back.
Then you go after Mr. Loud because he’s usually the easiest one to beat. You get a couple of big plays against him and the whole team is thinking about how satisfied they are that he’s getting burned rather than focusing on the game.
By this time, the team has been utterly demoralized and has given up. They’re just going through the motions, don’t give any more effort than is needed to complete the game.
Then there’s the opposite reaction: The team that believes they can come back, the team that works together to try and find a way to do so, team that plays with joy.
You can tell these teams not just by the way they fight till the final whistle, but by the smiles on their faces. Not the type of disinterested-in-the-game, laughing on the sidelines type of smiles but the smiles of the players who are on the field, giving their all in a losing effort because they simply love playing the game.
In baseball, that type of player’s name was Kirby Puckett. On the current Vikings roster, I’m thinking Antoine Winfield.
You’ve always got a chance with teams who boast a roster of people who play with joy.
One way or another, we’re gonna find out soon enough what type of team this year’s Vikings have.
This comes after Brad Childress threatened to shelve Rice if he did not play, so, as much as it pains me, you gotta give Childress credit for this one.
So we’ll see what we get out of Rice.
At least the Packer’s have no tape to go on.
The Star Tribune has put together a fantastic package about the Vikings/Packer’s 50 year rivalry. Included in the package are:
- Mark Craig‘s history of the rivalry
- A list of all 100 games
- A reprint of Jim Klobuchar‘s (yes, the father of our current Senator) piece on the first game of the rivalry in October, 1961 & the box score for the game
- The 10 strangest games between the teams
- All-time rivalry leaders & fantasy teams
- Cliff Christl of the Green Bay Post-Gazette looks at the pre-Favre history of the Packers’ messy divorces
- A list of the Vikings/Packers side-switchers
- The best of Brett
- Brett Favre‘s broken-thumb performance
- Vikings’ great Jim Marshall‘s thoughts on the rivalry
- Packers’ great Jerry Kramer‘s thoughts on the rivalry
- The short, miserable career of T.J. Rubley
- Jim Souhan concludes on a downbeat, of course
- Patrick Reusse recalls the Bud Grant era
- Ryan Longwell compares Minnesota and Green Bay
Best quotes from the series:
The Vikings barely escaped with a 3-0 victory at home against the Packers in 1971. Packers running back John Brockington rushed for 142 yards as the Pack entered the red zone five times only to come away with nada. The Vikings offense was as miserable as the defense was stout, gaining 87 total yards and only five first downs.
When questioned about the Vikings poor performance after the game, Vikings head coach Bud Grant said: “Statistics are for losers.”
Vikings defensive end Jim Marshall on the Packers’ fans: “They have the tradition of mooning us from the time we get off the plane. Going into the city, virtually every window you would pass, every car you passed, somebody’s showing you their rear end. And that was during the years when they sold glass bottles in stadiums. The fans would throw the bottles at us, so you’d be going down the concrete tunnel and bottles would be bouncing off and breaking all over the place.”
SHANK ON ROME
Vikings tight end Visanth(e) Shiancoe gave a fairly candid but sometimes diplomatic interview with ESPN’s Jim Rome about the state of the Vikings and Sunday’s game against the Packers. [WATCH the Jim Rome interview with Visanth(e) Shiancoe].
Vikings great, Hall of Fame defensive tackle John Randle will be awarded his Hall of Fame ring this Sunday during halftime ceremonies that will honor his career as a Viking and as one of the NFL’s greatest.