Monday, December 31, 2007

Best of 2007

This doesn’t follow a pattern really. Some sports & things are discussed that have different categories that I enjoy more than the traditional lists. I was trying to mix it up a little. It’s just the topics that came to my mind when re-hashing the year that was 2007. If you don’t like it you can kiss my ass. Happy New Year to you all…

National Sports-

Best NBA player- Lebron James. I know Dirty Dirk Diggler won the MVP but he wasn’t the best player last year in the association. He had a great regular season, which is why he won the MVP and I get that. Howeverrrr, LBJ had almost as equal a regular season as Dirty Dirk and had an exceptional playoff run, something Dirk didn’t have thanks to G-state. This kid (yes he’s still a kid) has been hyped more than any athlete we’ve seen. He was on the cover of ESPN the magazine in high school for God’s sake. Yet, year after year he seems to get better and get more tattoos. If anyone can match the Big O’s triple double season average it’s Lebron. He’s so good and so fun to watch. I don’t do the whole “he’s the next Jordan” thing because I don’t like it. There is only one Jordan and it’s looking we might be saying the same thing about Lebron. There’s only one Lebron…

Best NBA story
- Robert Horry’s body check against Steve Nash. We didn’t have a Melee or a crazy new rule by the commissioner this year to debate but Mr. Stern’s decision not to overrule a ridiculously stupid formality rule was the best story in my mind. This caused a genuine uproar with 99.9% of people taking the same side. To suspend two players that were crucial players (this factors in, I don’t care what anyone says) for taking 3-4 steps towards a fallen teammate in a human reaction type movement was ludicrous. This is the playoffs for fuck’s sake. He played the whole “a rule is a rule” card but get a clue! Horry went NHL on Nash and Amare & Diaw reacted humanely but nothing happened one bit in the end. Yet you couldn’t use your power to step in with some flipping common sense and assess the situation rightfully? Come on! Surprise, surprise San Antonio won the next game and eventually the series. Bad play David, bad play.

Best NFL team
- New England Patriots. With respect to the Colts who won the Superbowl last February, the Patriots just finished a 16-0 regular season that is almost an impossible feat in my mind. Billy boy might be an arrogant prick but he knows how to coach football. He’s been the dominator in the 2000’s and this season is over the top. The last 3-4 games they’ve had some “trouble” but the first 11 weeks of the season they were on cruise control. Is this the best team ever? I think so but it’s hard to compare past teams to current teams. If they go 19-0 how can’t you pick them?

Best NFL game
- Indy vs. New England- AFC Championship game. There were a few pretty hyped games in the 2007 regular season but none beat the AFC Championship game last year. One of the better games I’ve seen in years. With New England’s undefeated run this year it seemed like all the big games revolved around them. However, the Dallas, Indy and Pitt games didn’t measure up. But last January’s AFC title game was unreal. 38-34 in favor of Peyton Manning & company. The main image from this game was watching Manning sitting alone with his head down on the bench while Brady tried a late game comeback.

You know he was saying prayer after prayer. Brady ended up throwing a pick that finally got the monkey off Peyton’s back for winning a big game and the Colts eventually went on to winning it all.

Best NFL 3rd year guy
- Braylon Edwards. Every list is always “best NFL player,” which involves the same people: Brady, Manning, LT, Ray Lewis, Moss, Owens, etc... But picking the best 3rd year player is more of a hoot. It’s that magical year that players seem to breakout especially the wide receiver position. This year it rings true with Edwards getting the nod. This guy was awesome at Michigan and then went to a lowly Browns team that no one cared about. He was outside the radar until a no name QB Derek Anderson brought life back into that football team. Braylon and his sweet beard have reaped the benefits. You put him on a big market team and he’s 20 times more known. But his stuck in Cleveland that doesn’t rock.

Biggest MLB story
- Mitchell Report. This could have been a lot bigger if the ex-senator George Mitchell had any subpoena power but he didn’t. He only received names from pretty much two guys. Either way this was still a very damaging report. To no ones surprise Mr. Potato Head Barry Bonds made the list as did another future hall of famer, Roger Clemens. The word around the baseball insiders is that this was about half of the people that are doing them. Hopefully this report pulls Selig’s head out of his ass and strengthens the testing policy so we can finally clean the game up. Please.

Best MLB game
- This one is easy. It had to be the one game playoff between the Rockies and Padres at the end of the season. Colorado ended up winning the game 9-8 in 13 innings. I don’t think anyone outside of the San Diego area was rooting for the Padres to win that game. Colorado was the hot story that went on that ridiculous run to even get to a one game playoff and ended winning in 13 innings. Like I said, this one was easy.

Hottest NHL player’s wife/girlfriend- Sean Avery. He plays for the New York Rangers and currently broke up with this lassie below in August 2007 but he still gets the nod for dating the “girl next door” for a least a little bit. Here she is:

Best NHL player
- Sidney Crosby. Also known as “The Next One or Sid the Kid.” He won the scoring title and MVP last year in his second year as a pro. He’s one of the few hockey players in the league you can actually pronounce. Half of these guys it hurts to even try to say their names. Not Crosby. He’s a machine on the ice that’s easily recognizable. Oh yeah, he was born in 1987.

Local Sports-

Coolest Viking coach
- Eric Bieniemy. Look, he’s the running back coach who gets to work with All Day Peterson. Not a bad gig. Also, he had one of the better Chris Bermanisms back in the day. Eric “don’t get caught sleeping with” Bieniemy. And since Omar Epps, I mean Mike Tomlin left, Bieniemy takes this prestigious award.

Best Viking rookie not named AP
- Sidney Rice. Minnesota’s own “Sid the Kid.” Taking another South Carolina receiver left everyone a little doubtful on how good he could be. We were suckered into thinking Troy “speedy Gonzales” Williamson was the replacement to Randy Moss. After the millions of dropped balls and a Nike vision trick that didn’t work, Troy Boy sucks ass. Thankfully, Sidney Rice doesn’t. His stats aren’t that sweet but you can tell he has NFL receiver potential.

Best Viking individual performance
- AP vs. San Diego. I couldn’t go much longer of a “best of 2007” without mentioning Mr. All Day Peterson. He’s the shit and 90% of Minnesota men have a severe man crush on this guy. Well, at least I do. I’m closer to 30 than I’d like to be but when I got an AP jersey for Christmas I was legitimately excited. Anyways, his record setting day when he ran for 296 was easily the best individual Viking performance. Here is a highlight reel of that game. The last touchdown around the 3:30 mark is fucking awesome. Check it out.

Best Twin Piranha
- Alexi Casilla. Let’s get this out of the way: this whole piranha thing is gay. I hate it. These “little engines that could” type players having a nickname and marketing it. Are you kidding? No wonder we don’t make the World Series. Well, I have to pick one of these fruitcakes as the best piranha. It was a hard pick because out of Punto, Tyner, Ford, Rodriguez and Casilla there is about 1 ¾ of a ballplayer total in that group. Casilla wins be default because he doesn’t suck as much as the other chodes.

Best Twin Player
- Torii Hunter. This is no surprise here. You might be saying to yourself, what? With Mauer coming off a batting title, Morneau off of an MVP and Santana off another Cy Young picking Hunter would have been a hell of a call. I’m not saying I did but the stars were aligned for Hunter this year and I should have known. Actually one star was aligned: contract year. Hunter has never been shy about admitting he’s always dreamed about getting a big contract. Being an unrestricted free agent after years end was his best & last chance at getting a fat paycheck. Finished with the highest batting avg. on the team and second in HR’s & RBI’s which led to a lot of coin from the Angels.

Best T-wolves story
- KG getting traded. It’s not my favorite story but it's definitely the best. Last years season was one of the most boring and pathetic seasons by a basketball team in history. They were a mediocre team that only hung around in games if KG played really well. Watching Mike James walk the ball down the court, lobbing it into KG who would either shoot or pass to a shitball like Ricky Davis to shoot was a worthless offense. The only thing that kept your interest was the slew of KG rumors toward the end of the season. It was apparent that McHale wasn’t going to surround him with talent so they needed to bottom out. Even though the meat grinder that was the process of the KG trade was hard to watch it was very compelling. Similar to the Johan trade stuff now...

Best hated T-wolves player
- Ricky Davis. I don’t know where I heard it but this line puts it well: “His name should be Rick Avis because he has no D in his game.”

Best Wild playoff game
- Game 4. To avoid a sweep the Wild came out firing in game four to win 4-1. That’s not even the whole story. The story in that game was Derek “Bogeyman” Boogard threatening the whole Ducks bench at the end of the game for a cheap shot earlier. It was truly amazing. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. I think the Bogeyman would have fought the whole team like Neo did against the Agent Smith’s in “The Matrix.” This youtube clip captures it a little bit.


Best show
- LOST. Personally, I thought the best show I saw was season three of LOST. Everything built up to the finale that was a two-hour dandy. It was like watching a two-hour perfect highly entertaining movie. It was done so well and they completely flipped everything (spoiler alert) with the flash forwards. It’s been three seasons and I’m pretty sure they haven’t answered a single question yet. It is one of the most debatable shows I’ve ever watched. I also enjoy shows more if they have an ensemble cast. The more people the more stories. LOST has great characters from Jack, Sawyer, Locke, Sayid, Hurley, Ben, Kate, etc... Can’t wait until it comes back in a few weeks...

Best TV character
- Anyone from the Wire. I’m serious. Pick one...anyone. It’s the most real TV show on television and it’s not even close. It’s a huge ensemble cast and you’ll recognize about 10% of the faces. However these no-names are very good at their craft and are what make the show so real. I’ve never been so sold on acting performances in any other TV/movie shows. I truly believe these actors are these characters they play and don’t want to see them any other show. It would ruin it.

Best Movie I saw
- SuperBad. I thought “Knocked Up” was overrated and I think “SuperBad” is underrated. As far as raunchy 10th grade humor goes, this takes the cake. It’s not going to win any movie awards but this movie is really funny... “Yeah, that’s nuts...that’s funny.”

Best Movie character
- Anton Chigurh in “No Country for Old Men” played by Javier Bardem. He better win a fucking Oscar. Period.

Best Country song
- Lost in this Moment. Is it kind of girly? Yes. Is it kind of sappy? Yes. It is a good song? You bet. But it comes from Big & Rich and not a Faith Hill type. Rascal, Kenny and Paisley all released new albums this year but I thought this song pound for pound was the best I heard.

Hottest music newcomer
- Rihanna. This Barbados native is pure gorgeousness. She’s only 19 and she dates white guys. Good news for most if not all the writers and readers from TKOT. Plus her “Umbrella” hit single was one of the biggest guilty pleasure songs of the year.


Best Blog
- Deadspin. Great reads everyday.

Best Breakout blog
- TK on Toast. Obviously.

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Under Review: Week 16

With the Holiday season upon us, this was hard to get out on our normal day, Tuesday. That was Christmas if you recall. So this will be questions involving week 16 and the last week coming up this weekend.

How disappointing was the Vikings loss to the Skins? Were you thinking it was a nice run but expected it to end at some point or thought we choked it away? What % do you put us getting in?

Fuzz: It was horrible. The Twins and T-wolves didn’t even sniff the playoffs and then the Vikings go on this mini-run that has everyone acting stupid & shit. Breaking down playoff matchups and thinking we might actually have a shot in Dallas with a smart game plan. Well, that pretty much went like a fart in the wind. It’s gone…kind of. We still have one scenario to get us in but I don’t see it. I do think they choked it away but they put themselves in this position in the first place. It’s their own damn fault. They should have won at Detroit, KC and home against Philly. All were games they should and had to win. They win one of those creampuffs and we’re fucking in. As you can tell, I was sold on the playoffs and now I’m extremely pissed. I have a scenario no one is talking about...Washington loses and we lose! Knowing our history I'm not eliminating this possibility. I put their playoff chances at 13%.

Q: On a scale of 1-10, last Sunday night's loss ranked a 246 in terms of its depression level. I guess part of me kind of expected it because 1) Minnesota teams always get our hopes up and then blow it, and 2) we couldn't realistically expect to win 7 straight games, especially with our lack of a passing game. It was only a matter of time. That said, if we win in Denver this week, regardless of whether we get into the playoffs or not, you have to consider this a good year. 9-7? I think that's at least 2-3 wins higher than most people around here expected back in August. At the very least, we've established an identity, created a superstar in AD, and will have the experience of a run at the playoffs to use as experience/motivation going into next year. Plus, there's no way Jackson could play any worse next year, could he?

Dogg: I wasn’t disappointed at all with the loss because I figured it was going to happen sooner or later. This Vikings team isn’t that good and they have a bad QB at the helm right now so once you get down a score or two it’s pretty much lights out. They played a 4-4 all game which means they were basically holding up a sign that read “we will stop the run” but TJ still couldn’t find a way to get the rock to our WR’s downfield. That might be on our WR’s as well but he made several inexcusable throws again, namely the one that got it all started to ex-Viking Fred Smoot. There is 0% chance we make the postseason. Denver at home will not be easy no matter who they put on the field and Washington won’t lose to Brad Johnson and Co.

Does New England complete the 16 game sweep? New York won’t cause a problem will they? How do you beat these guys? Can you?

Dogg: New England does complete the 16 game sweep because they are still hungry to win. Most teams in the NFL have either clinched a playoff spot or just simply don’t care anymore because their team was mathematically eliminated 2 weeks ago. NY will be playing without Shockey, a limited Burress, a limited Jacobs and just an average QB in Eli Manning. You beat them by playing better than they do. They have more talent than anybody in the league and have one of the best schemers of all time in Bellichick so you simply have to show up and outplay them. It’s not easy but somebody can do it. Will they? Probably not but I hope every team from here on out leaves everything they possibly can on the football field.

Q: Absolutely they finish the regular season 16-0. All year I've been saying (hoping) that they wouldn't, but it seems like a virtual lock now. I know that the Giants say they are playing their starters, but I can't imagine they'll play for too long. Hell, they could play the whole game and not come within 21 points of the Patriots. Bellichick will have his starters in for the majority of the game so that they can ensure the win, get Brady his TD record and Moss his TD record.
That's just his mentality. If they have all of their records set by halftime, then you might see bench guys in the second half. Otherwise they'll be in until they get them. As far as beating them goes, I think the past 4 weeks or so have given most teams a seemingly simple recepie: run the ball effectively and blitz the hell out of Tom Brady. If you get pressure on TB, he is prone to poor throws and turnovers. Then you dominate the clock by running against their sketchy run D. It all seems so simple in theory, but of course we know that it isn't that easy.

Fuzz: The Patriots have this thing locked up friends. It’s done. 16-0…best team ever. I thought maybe I’d see this in my lifetime but didn’t expect it this year. I can’t stand them because they are ridiculously cocky but you have to hand it to them. Running the NFL season table is insane. The Giants will fold like pre-pubescent boys. The only way to beat these guys is luck and Tom Brady somehow playing like T-Jack for a game instead of his GQ self. We are about to witness a 19-0 season...

What are your thoughts on resting your starters the last game of the season if you have nothing to play for? Play them like normal or sit them?

Q: To me, it depends on your playoff situation. If you're a team like Pittsburgh or the Giants and your matchup is set and you play next weekend, then I say rest your big guns a little. Give them a break for a week and let some backups get some run. Not only don't I have a problem with that, but it seems to me like the smart thing to do. On the other hand, if you're Dallas, New England, etc. and you have a first round bye, then I don't think it's a great idea to rest your starters. It's one thing to give your key players a week off to prepare for the playoffs, but it's a whole other thing to give them two weeks to rest. I feel like guys would get rusty when they haven't played a game in two full weeks. And I don't want to hear all of this BS about risking injury. The guys have played 15 games just fine, I think they'll make it one more.

Fuzz: Here’s my stance: If you’re banged up at all, you should sit. If you’re healthy as a horse, you should play. Maybe not the whole game but at minimal a half. Stats prove that teams that bench their starters the whole game don’t fair well. Especially the teams with the bye’s should play their guys for a half or more. They have the first round bye to get rested and the last thing you want is to be a rusty trombone heading into the playoffs.

Dogg: I think the head coaches in this league are smart enough to make the right decisions. If I were New York, I probably would sit my starters because they can’t move up or down at this point and what if they make the SB against New England? Why show anything you might want to use later on a team that you might face for the rings? I rest most of my guys if I were Tom Coughlin this week. Play them for a quarter or two and then call it quits no matter what the score is.

Taking the Vikings out of the equation which team have you liked this year? It’s kind of like the crush theory. Everyone has their favorite team they always root for but sometimes you get crushes on certain teams and secretly follow them. Who was yours this year? Why? Can be for good or bad reasons...

Fuzz: I’ve always had a pretty supergay crush on Pittsburgh. Pure respect from this guy. The owners are a bunch of loyal bastards who’ve hired like three coaches in the last 40 years. They stick by their guys and they win at a good clip.

Have won five Superbowls and are once again tops of their division this year. The addition of Tomlin this year just added more spice to the relationship. It was at a pretty dangerous level before but now the Tomlin hire was like throwing tassels and whips to the equation. I’m a little nervous where this might go. Either way, Pittsburgh does it right and I’m jealous of the true fans of them.

Q: Jacksonville. I know that it seems like the cliché thing to say now that they are in the playoffs, playing extremely well and a sleeper pick for a lot of analysts, but I've been intrigued by them all year. It starts with their coach, and former Viking, Jack Del Rio. It's kind of like watching one of your own children: you want to check up on how they're doing. This is why I also follow Indy, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh. But there was just something interesting about this Jaguars team. The big decision at the beginning of the year to cut Leftwich and roll with Garrard was huge news and made me want to see how everything played out. Then as the season progressed, it became very evident that Jacksonville was very similar to the Vikes. Two-headed rushing attack, dominant D, etc. Of course they have a quality quarterback and a competent coach, so it was really like watching what we could be, if only...

Dogg: My man crush team was the Green Bay Packers. I know being a Vikings fan should you ever be cheering for the Packers but I’ve always had a little thing for them. I secretly enjoy watching Favre play and thinking this was going to be another dismal season for the Purple I figured that I’d pay attention to the Packers. I predicted them to win the NFC North before the year started and Favre told reporters last year that this team has more talent than any other Packer team he’s been apart of. You probably laughed him but look at them know. They are primed up for a NFC Championship run and I think they’ll be representing the NFC in this years’ SB. Go Pack go!

Looks like another rushing title for LT after a “down” year for him. Is he the #1 pick in next year’s fantasy draft? Give me your top five fantasy picks right now.

Dogg: LT is the #1 pick because he’s never injured and is the most consistent RB fantasy football owners will ever have. I had him in 2 of my 5 leagues this year and he definitely has been my favorite player to ever own. That being said, it goes: LT, Brady, Westbrook, Manning, Steven Jackson. Steven Jackson is the best RB in this league when healthy. I think next year is the year for him.

Fuzz: I still believe LT will be the overwhelming #1 pick across the country…again. Here in Minny it might be a little different with AP but LT still grabs that top slot. Until he really falters he’s still going to be the man. Steven Jackson was the consensus #2 last year and he got hurt. LT doesn’t get hurt. His (great) numbers are always there. Next years top five in my opinion are: LT (he’s flipping LT for Christ sake), AP (he’ll be drafted very high, he’s good and fans love him), Westbrook (finally gets a spot where he deserves. He gets nicked but battles through injuries and puts up #’s every year), Addai (this could have gone to Fast Willie Parker, but I like Addai here) and Brady/Manning (whoever you like better. I think both go in the first round. Lately first round picks have been spotty and shotty so taking the guarantee is worthwhile.) The main omission is Randy Moss...putting up historical numbers this year but after N.E. wins the Superbowl he’ll retire, go to Mexico and smoke a bunch of weed.

Q: 1) LaDanian Tomlinson (unless you draft in Minnesota, in which case AP goes here). 2) Adrian Peterson (easily could, and will, go #1 but you have to be at least a little bit on the lookout for a sophomore slump, especially considering his last 3 games). 3) Tom Brady (depending on if Moss is still around). 4) Brian Westbrook (finally he gets some credit for the amazing seasons he has been putting together recently--especially if you get points for receptions). 5) Willie Parker (his yardage numbers will be too big to ignore and he's still the feature back in Pitt). Note, it is very possible that Moss enters the top 5 if he stays in New England.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Fuzz's stew

The main ingredient: The Beef

16 years, 5 Conference championship games, & 0 Title’s

With the “We’ll see you tomorrow night” call and Gene Larkin sealing another Minnesota Twins championship the next night in October 1991 that line above represents what the four major sports in the Twin Cities have done since then.

Here is the breakdown of the teams and years that made it to their conference championship since 1991, hence having a legit shot at going to the title game:

T-Wolves- 2004 (lost to the Lakers in six games)
Wild- 2003 (lost to the Ducks in four games)
Vikings- 1998 & 2000 (the heartbreaker to Atlanta and the 41-donut to New York)
Twins- 2002 (Adam bleeping Kennedy and the Angels smoked us in five games)


I was 10 years old when the mullet-80’s band looking greaseball Dan Gladden crossed home plate thinking to myself how excited I was to root for future championships from the locals. Up until then I hadn’t really grasped professional sports and the obsession that came with it. I was mostly outside playing my own games with my brothers than focusing on the games on the television. I vaguely remember the Twins and their ’87 run and I definitely don’t remember the Vikings & North Stars in my first ten years either. Pooh Richardson and the T-Wolves were just starting up.

As the 80’s decade closed my unfamiliarity of the pro sports teams ended with Kirby Puckett and that 1991 Twins team. Like I said, I was 10 and happier than a nympho at a swinger’s party that I found this new thing to obsess about. Paraphernalia and role models were obtained through this newfound “secret” I discovered. I still root just as hard now and maybe even harder in some cases, but we as Minnesotans haven’t been rewarded since 1991.

This whole thinking of us sucking resurfaced Sunday night when it came apparent that the Vikings weren’t going to beat the Skins and that our playoff chances rested in the hands of noodle arm nerd Brad Johnson and Dallas’ backups this coming Sunday. We're screwed...another year out of the playoffs for the Minnesota Vikings.

As T-Jack started playing the game of 500 with the Skins defense I thought to myself how pathetic our pro teams have been the last five years. Knocking on the door a few times but nothing spectacular. Then I started thinking about what we’ve accomplished the next 5 years after that. Brutal is the word that comes to mind. And then finally for shits & giggles I went back to our last professional championship and realized that we have absolutely sucked as a sports market since October 1991.

Four sports, five conference championship games and zero championship games/series’. Not one! The last stat is the most frustrating. We can go back in all of history and count the Superbowl losses, Stanley Cup losses or a World Series loss, but we haven’t even made it to the finals once in 16 flipping years. 16 of my prime worshiping sports years were horseshit. In the middle school years you throw on your jersey, head to a sleepover with Mountain Dew and Doritos’s and cheer the Minnesota team in season. In high school you head to a buddies, drink Bacardi Limon, play in- between & guts and cheer the Minnesota team in season. In college you head to shitty house, tap the keg or the hit the bong or both and cheer the Minnesota team in season. All those scenarios and zilch. You know how frustrating this has been?

Back to the present day and it’s not looking that promising ladies & gents. The Vikes gave us a glimpse of hope but more than likely are done until 2008. The Wolves are years and maybe decades away from anything. The Twins will be without their top two players from last year and the Wild seem to be our only hope for this year. I’m actually fairly convinced Tubby might bring a championship back to this state earlier than the four pro teams. Either way it came to my attention again after the Vikings six straight win wasn’t going to happen that pretty much ended our playoff chances that another sports team that I spend way to much time on crashed & burned. Fucking A. Let’s hope the next 16 years looks like this: 16 years, 5 Conference championship games, & 5 Title’s

I’ll take just one though...

The five other ingredients: The Potatoes, Carrots, Celery, Onions & Tomatoes-

-The Vikings playoff chances rest on us beating Denver and Brad Johnson beating Washington. See you next year.

-The latest Santana trade rumor on has us backing away from Ian Kennedy and taking Hughes/Cabrera/prospect. I don’t like that. Santana is going to get close to $125 million dollars so I think he deserves to get more than that package in return. Come on Billy, don’t F this up.

- Al Jefferson is averaging more points and rebounds than Kevin Garnett this year. Just thought I’d let you know that. I understand all the reasons why but still? I didn’t expect both.

- Gaborik’s five-goal night was ridiculous. If he can stay healthy we might have something cooking this year. Maybe.

- The Gophers are 8-1 and Dan Coleman is averaging 14 and 6. That’s solid. The last three games Coleman has averaged 22 and 6. The Gophers have been playing some cream puffs but if he can have a good senior year the team has a chance to make the big dance. And I can’t believe I just said that.

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Tripleheader Kills Time

What to do on Christmas day after eating 38 LBS of food and opening presents? How about an NBA tripleheader? One game was going to be intriguing no matter what because two of my favorite players were partaking in Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant. The other two didn’t interest me much but had absolutely nothing else to do on Christmas than to take in some useless NBA games.

Miami 82 @ Cleveland 96

Shaq is not even close to the Shaq we are used to seeing. He is slow, can’t catch passes that aren’t directly into his hands, can’t jump and gets into foul trouble every game. The paint is no longer his which allows anybody to penetrate and score against the Heat which is killing them right now. D-Wade isn’t the same either. His jumper looks like my ¾ court shot and his explosiveness just isn’t there. Whether it’s his knee, his divorce battles or disinterest, the fire isn’t there. The combination of Shaq and Wade struggling leave the Heat with a bottom of the barrel team right now.

Cleveland on the other hand just go booed out of there own building less than a week ago but played good enough to beat up on terrible Heat squad. Lebron is Lebron but the rest of that team is below average. Larry Hughes is the most overrated and overpaid player the NBA has ever seen. He plays above average defense but that’s the only aspect of his game that is above average. Terrible jump shooter, below average ball handler, doesn’t pass and yet is supposed to be that teams 2nd option. That won’t cut it in this league. Varejao is much needed and it showed yesterday with all his dipsy-do type shots in the lane. He also gives them a spark they need on the defensive end and on the glass so I look for this team to rebound a little bit from here on out. They still aren’t a contender in my mind.

Phoenix 115 @ Lakers 122

This of course was going to be the most exciting game for me to watch because my favorite player in NBA history was taking the court and his name isn’t Kobe Bryant. Steve Nash is one of the most unbelievable basketball players I have ever seen especially given his size. This man does just about everything you would want in your starting PG. He distributes the ball 2nd to nobody, scores when his teammates cannot, draws the occasional charge from a guy twice his size and cheers for all his teammates more than anybody else in the league. He showed up and played well but the rest of his teammates just had an ok day which seems to happen a lot with the Suns. Until their star players (Marion, Amare) show up and play like they can and should, this team is a contender in my mind as well. Those two need to step up one part of their game immensely for this squad to have a chance and that’s on the defensive end of the court. They don’t have a true center so it will be both their jobs to defend the rim.

This Laker team has some good things going for them right now. Of course you have the best player in the league in Kobe but Odom is playing a nice roll along with Andrew Bynum. The young 7 footer is showing signs of dominance and is a force on both ends of the court which this team has been missing since Shaq’s departure. D-Fish is D-Fish and will always be steady. Trevor Ariza is a freak athlete who gives them some explosiveness on the offensive end beside Kobe and will play physical defense on any 2 or 3 guard the West has to offer. If Bynum can continue his strong play inside, Phil, Kobe and Co. has a chance to make some noise come playoff time.

Seattle 79 @ Portland 89

Seattle is very comparable to Minnesota but they have a rookie in Kevin Durant who can flat out play hoops with anybody on this planet. Yeah his shooting % isn’t great but if you watched this game you would’ve seen what kind of shots he’s forced to put up every night. The Sonics don’t have a legitimate playmaker on their team besides him so he’s left trying to score the basketball and be the distributor at the same time which is too big of a task for a rookie. He’s going to be a premiere player in this league sooner than later and will hear his name for the next 15 years barring any major injuries.

The Blazers have won 11 straight basketball games? That after going 1-9 in their previous 10 games? Another reason to why the NBA just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. What happened in their last 11 games that didn’t happen in the previous 10? The only thing I can think of is the players are actually showing up with the intent to win games. Some guys look so disinterested on a nightly basis that maybe Nate McMillan lit a fire under their ass and now have collectively decided to compete and win. I don’t know if he though it would be every night out for 11 straight but he has gotten through to them somehow. Brandon Roy is showing signs of stardom and looks like the Timberwolves traded another stud player for a guy who hasn’t touched the court this year in Randy Foye. He is the catalyst but the Blazers are getting solid play from unexpected players like: Steve Blake, Jarret Jack, Joel Pryzbilla, Martell Webster and Travis Outlaw. LaMarcus Aldridge looks to be coming into his own and establishing a nice low post presence for them when they need it. He almost has the KG-type shot where it comes behind his head but the pill goes into basket which is what counts in this game. It’s the NBA and this whole 11 game winning streak will probably be over soon and possibly turn into 11 straight losses. I don’t see either of these teams being contenders for a title this year but might be two teams we’re talking about in 5 years.

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Second Verse, Same as the First

"Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.” This was true for Michael Corleone in The Godfather Part III and the same goes for yours truly in 2007. As I sat, slumped down in my couch, watching the disaster that was the Vikings-Redskins game tonight, the one thought that kept going through my head was, “I can’t believe I got sucked into the hype—again.” It was the same as 2003…only different.

For those of you that don’t remember, the 03 Vikes were knocked out of the playoffs by the Arizona Cardinals on the last play of the last game of the season. That play/loss hurt on a lot of levels. First, it wasn’t like it was a vaunted Manning to Harrison combination that did us in, but rather the unlikely Josh McCown to Nathan Poole (who?) duo that kept us out of the postseason.

Second, that loss allowed, of all teams, the Packers to get into the playoffs. Ouch. Third, everything happened so fast that it took a while for it to sink in and realize, “Fuck, we’re out of the playoffs!” Fourth, those idiots in Green Bay gave that douche Poole a key to the city and a damn day named in his honor. Just recalling these things makes my stomach turn.

Tonight’s loss was different in a lot of ways, but it still left Purple fans with that same queasy feeling. This Washington team is nowhere near as bad as that Cardinals team was. In fact, they’ll likely get the 6th seed in the NFC. The game also wasn’t on the road and it wasn’t one particular play that did us in. Rather, this was a slow, painful death of our playoff hopes.

Play after play, our offense looked anemic, the D was uncharacteristically shaky, and we did everything in our power to lose. It all started very ominously as Tarvaris Jackson’s first pass was picked off by The Captain, Fred Smoot.

That led to a fourth and goal from the one mmmmphhh line which, upon further review, the Vikes actually stopped. Good news, right? Not so much. On the ensuing play, Tony Richardson failed to get the ball out of the end zone, resulting in a safety. 2-0 Washington on a Dimitri Young homer off of Boof Bonser. Two more turnovers (one of which was yet another absolutely brutal throw/decision by Jackson) and absolutely no offense later, the Purple were down 22-0 at the half. Good times.

So we can close the book on this game at this point, right? Of course not. In true Vikings fashion, T Jack and the boys mount a mini comeback with a couple of scores and have us back in the game at 25-14 early in the 4th quarter. Do I get sucked back in and start calculating the scores and time necessary to make this miraculous comeback? Obviously. Then, about midway through the quarter, an odd play resulted in the end of all that. The Redskins get a completion to Santana Moss that looked like it could have been challenged. While Childress is trying to decide on whether or not to challenge the play, the Skins try to quick snap us, only to fumble the ball away. The Vikes recover and the miracle comeback is still in order. But hold on, Gibbs throws his little red hanky. Apparently we had 12 men on the field at the time of the snap. That gives Washington the ball back and 7 plays later, Portis walks into the endzone and the game is basically over.

Now, is it theoretically possible that the Vikes still get in to the postseason? Yes. We need to win in Denver next week AND have the Redskins somehow lose to a Dallas team that will be resting their starters for a majority of the game. Not exactly a dream scenario. The point is we had a chance to come out and place ourselves into that 6th seed with a win on national television. Instead, for the second week in a row, we stunk up the joint and now have to not only win on the road, but also rely on this man to get in…

Uh oh, here comes that sick feeling in my stomach again...

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Leaving on a Jet Plane

As we’ve seen more and more lately, DI coaches in all sports are leaving their respective teams for other major universities. For whatever reason it is, I think this has become a major issue with college athletics.

How can the NCAA make players sit out an entire season if he/she transfers but coaches can bail from a team before a frickin bowl game? Not to mention, Rich Rodriguez of course left West Virginia for the money and the prestige of Michigan. But seriously? Your team is in a BCS game and you’re not going to be coaching it?
That’s real professional. Would have you done the same thing if your team hadn’t choked against Pittsburgh the last game of the year? Or would’ve you coached them in the BCS National Championship game and then bailed? What a punk of a coach to bail on the team that has bled and sweat for him for the past 5 months. Make him sit out one year after he leaves and I bet he’ll have second thoughts.

My main question is why does the NCAA make players sit out an entire year when they want to transfer to a different school? I can see some reasons for discouraging transferring but just set a date for every sport that allows all athletes to transfer without any obligations if they transfer before that date. What, are they scared of guys across country talking and planning to transfer to the same school? I hope the NCAA knows that high school athletes already do that so the option for them already presents itself. Let the student-athletes decide where they want to attend and play athletics. If they want to play for 4 different colleges in 4 years, so be it.

Being a huge fan of college athletics, I love to see transfers. It usually gives the athlete a fresh start which some are in desperate need of. I know the new transfer might take another kids spot who has been there for years but that’s life. Kids should deal with some adversity because it will make them grow up and find a way to still help their respective teammates. Us fans are looking for memorable teams like Michigan’s “Fab Five” so if 3 kids want to transfer to the same university in attempt to win a National Title, let them. It will be fun to watch and the kids will be leaving for the pros in a year or two anyways so give the kids some freedom.

NCAA athletics is so corrupt the way it is so I say let the kids have their choice of which university they want to represent each year. If they don’t meet the designated deadline and still transfer then they sit out the upcoming year but don’t make the players sit out an entire season just because they want to transfer to a different school. There are so many reasons why a college athlete would want to transfer and I can respect almost all of them. Coaches can recruit kids and bail on them with no obligations so let the kids have the ability to leave their respective schools without any obligations as well.

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Friday, December 21, 2007

A Few Of My Least Favorite Things

As you all know, we are in the midst of the holiday season. This means that for a few weeks, everyone is kind and generous and the world is wonderful. People spend time with family members that they don’t talk to for the other 364 days a year. There is an air of happiness that is only around for this brief period of time. You even have to read sappy blog entries about things that the writer is happy about or appreciative of. Well I’m going to be the Scrooge to my partner’s Bob Cratchit (if you don’t get that reference, then it’s time for you to read a book). Here is a list of my least favorite things.

Duke Basketball—I can’t stand them, their coach, their student section, or their fans around the country. The players, past and present, walk around like their shit doesn’t stink. Their coach is a rat-faced, whiny punk who complains about every single call for 40 minutes a game. Their student section is more concerned about performing their men’s choir-like, synchronized in-game chants than actually watching a basketball game. Then they play a bunch of D-III schools (ALWAYS at home) early in the season to make their record look good. Yeah, it sure is a shame what Pitt did to them last night…

Steve Lavin—Actually, it’s just one thing that he does that bothers me. For the most part, he does a very good job at both announcing games and analyzing them in studio. But Mr. Lavin has fallen in love with a particular phrase this year: “Off the bounce”. According to Stevie, you have to have wings that can take guys off the bounce. You have to be able to defend off the bounce. Highlights always include someone going off the bounce. It’s a stupid phrase that he uses 16 times a night and I’m tired of it.

3-21—We all knew that the Wolves were going to be a bad team this year. You don’t purge your entire roster of 80% of its scoring and rebounding and expect to play well. You can’t have half of your roster be guys still on their rookie contracts and expect to make a playoff run. So the losing isn’t what bothers me, it’s the way we’re losing and frequency with which we are doing it. Losing because of brutal fourth quarters night after night is frustrating. Watching ¾ of a game and talking yourself into things like “Sebastian Telfair could be our point guard of the future”, only to watch him make terrible decisions for the next 12 minutes as we blow another lead is frustrating. Breaking the 72-73 Sixers record would be beyond frustrating.

The 2007 Fantasy Football Season—In no particular order, I hate Bill Belichick, Thomas Jones, injuries, Bill Belichick, the Rams offense, Frank Gore, Bill Belichick, Cedric Benson, the Patriots ridiculous offense, Bill Belichick, my instincts in August, and, most importantly, Bill Belichick.

Packer Fans—Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, “How many Super Bowls have you guys won?” The only thing worse than the Pack having a good season is listening to their fans brag about it. Even as the Purple reel off 5 straight W’s, all you hear from Green and Gold fans is “What’s your record?” and the infamous Super Bowl question. We get it, you won a few titles in the 60’s and one in the late 90’s, but that last title was 10 years ago. Get over yourselves already. I really hope the Vikes get a shot at the Pack in the playoffs and end their season—again.

Carl Pohlad—Open up that vault you have your money stashed in and spend a little to give us a fighting chance! Why do I have to talk myself into guys like Tony Bautista and Mike Lamb every spring? Why can’t we just keep the guys we have and make a run? I know he’ll say that he loses too much money. But you’re a freaking billionaire and have a new stadium (and thus a ton of new revenue) coming in two years. Give us a reason to come to the new ballpark and cheer.

Slow Mall Walkers—There’s nothing I hate more than shopping. When I have to get my Christmas shopping done, I try to get it all done in one day and be done with it. I want to spend as little time as possible in the malls. The only problem is that you get all of these people who are out for a leisurely walk while I’m trying to get stuff done. The Mall of America is the worst when it comes to this. While I’m trying to buy a few shirts and other gifts, others are visiting like it’s the Taj fucking Mahal. It’s incredibly frustrating to try and avoid all the gawkers and picture-takers. Get in and get out or at least stay out of my way.

Skip Worthless—Shut up, shut up, shut up, SHUT UP! We get it, you make ridiculous statements and predictions just to cause a stir and create controversy. But you can’t consider yourself a legit sports analyst when you spew that trash out of your mouth on a daily basis. Do some research, watch a game or two, and do your job.

1 Hour After Eating Chipotle—I don’t know if anyone else has this problem, but virtually every time I have a burrito from Chipote’s, an hour later I’m sitting with my pants around my ankles and reading Entertainment Weekly—if you catch my drift.

The Writer’s Strike—Admittedly, I don’t know much about the reason for the strike. I’ve heard it has to do with money from internet and DVD sales, but I’m not sure. Doesn’t matter. I just want it over with. I’m tired of watching old reruns and movies I’ve seen 40 times. Figure it out, get everything settled, and bring back my shows.

Bobby Petrino—What a selfish chump. He signed a 10 year deal with Louisville in 2006, and while he was there, flirted with Auburn, LSU, and the Oakland Raiders before leaving after one year for the Atlanta job (a 5 year deal by the way). Then 13 games into his first NFL season, he bolts to take the Arkansas head gig. Do you think there’s any chance he doesn’t bail on them when a higher profile job becomes available? He’s the most selfish man in sports, and that’s really saying something.

MLB’s Pay Scale—What is it going to take for baseball to put in a salary cap? Teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, and Mets annually spend upwards of $200 million, whereas the Royals, Pirates, and Rays can only afford to spend in the $60-70 million range. How are these teams expected to compete when the big dogs are spending 2-3 times as much on players? You have to put in some sort of ceiling (and a floor for that matter) on spending to give everyone a shot and reign in some of the ridiculous contracts that are being thrown out there (I’m looking at you, Carlos Silva). Plus, it would give teams a chance to resign their own players and keep their fan base interested and loyal.

Euro-Trash NBA Players—They have long, greasy hair that flies around all over the place. They shoot (and usually make) the most ridiculous, off-balance, garbage shots routinely. They flop to the floor anytime anyone comes within 5 feet of them and bitch about every call in every game. I can’t stand watching the Ginobli’s of the world, they’re ruining basketball.

Parking Spot Creepers—Every time I go anywhere, my least favorite thing to do is deal with parking. So I always find a spot at the very back or far side of the parking lot and walk to my destination. Apparently I am in the minority in this practice. I always see cars slowly creeping up and down the rows, waiting, following, hoping to find a spot 10 feet closer to the building so that they don’t have to walk as far. Just park already! And people wonder why our country is so obese.

Blockbuster’s TV/DVD Section—All I want to do is watch seasons 2 and 3 of The Wire. But unless I buy them, I have no chance at seeing them. Why does Blockbuster insist on carrying just one season of certain shows? I understand that you can’t carry every season of every show, but if you’re going to have season 1 of a program, then you should have all of the other seasons available as well.

The GMAC and International Bowls—Where do these bowls get off? How can you showcase teams like Tulsa, Bowling Green, Rutgers, and Ball State after every other bowl game other than the National Championship? Those teams should have played Wednesday morning at 9 am. How can they get away with trashy games like this being played after the New Year? Between this and the lack of a playoff system, I don’t know why anyone would ever watch college football.

Round Numbered Lists—Why does every list have to be a multiple of 5? There’s no reason for it, and it usually causes bad writing just to add numbers. Well I’m not going to do it. I’m out.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Voices from a Stranger...

Hey readers, here is another rant from an other source besides us three geniuses. If you don't remember this feature is a guest writer's opinion on whatever they like. If you feel you’d like to do this just email the address and let us know. You can email that address to see if we already have one in line for that week or email your post for us to review. Also, if it’s not good it’s not going up. We are honest SOB’s that will say...hell no!

Without further ado, this week’s entry comes from one of our new loyal readers outside the state of MN. He refers to himself as the “BMOC up in the AZ” which stands for “Big Man on Campus up in Arizona” because that is where he teaches his juvenile students. He’s a great football mind and actually has experience playing collegiate football at North Dakota State College of Science and Moorhead St. He is trying to work his way up the ranks to be the next big thing in AZ and shows a little of that knowledge with this piece about our fellow Minnesota Vikings.

Are the Purple a Contender or Pretender?

Sure you hear this all the time on Around the Horn or PTI, but you need to ask yourself MN Vikings fans; do you really think they can win in the playoffs? I am going to give some pros and cons and you can figure that shit out


The key to being a good to great team is ball security. Sure the Vikings are +7 in the turnover margin, but that is very misleading. We have fumbled the football 21 total times. 12 of them have gone to the other team, which is tied for 10th most fumbles in the NFL. We are tied with the one win Dolphins!! Interceptions: we have only thrown 12 this year, which is really surprising considering we have a revolving door at QB. The question I ask you, Vikings fans, is how many times you sit at home and say “Oh Shit” at a bad throw by one of the QB’s? I am not confident in their throwing ability at all. Did you listen to Steve Young just rip into T Jax and say we need to simplify everything for him...meaning he is not ready for the playoffs!!

The Vikings are the 3rd worst team in 3rd down percentage—say that five times fast after a few cocktails. They are only converting 33% of their 3rd downs. The only teams worse than them are the Lions and 49ers and you know the story about those shit teams. This is a very key stat when it comes to playoff time; good teams are normally higher than 40%. If the playoffs were to start right now 9 out of the 12-playoff teams are above this mark. Only the Bucs 39% and the Seahawks 35% are not above 40%.

Defensively we are making great improvements in the secondary and our pass coverage over the last five games. Stop before you start getting a chubby over are improving secondary, look who has been throwing the pigskin in these 5 games. This is the list of premier QB’s that have been playing our weak secondary: Dante Culpecker, Eli Manning (17 ints), Kitna (17 ints), Shaun Hill(who??) and Kyle “I look like a queer” Orton. The last time we faced a real QB was Farve and he only threw for 351 yards—DO NOT think our secondary is good.

The overall defense isn’t that great either; we allow 334 yards/game which are the worst out of the NFC playoff teams. We are 5th in total penalties on D, surprisingly behind the Giants who are #1 and the Pack are tied for 2nd.

Last, you need a decent, experienced QB to guide your squad to the Super Bowl. Well just because T Jax is improving doesn’t mean he is to a Super Bowl caliber QB. Sure the Ravens won it with Dilfer, but come on now, he at least he took care of the football and that was one of the best defenses ever!!!

I couldn’t believe the passes I was seeing T-Jack put up on Monday night. He thought he was playing a pickup football game at the park. He tried to throw a fade away jumper for 30yards downfield; no one was 15 yards close to it. This is when we are trying to put some points on the board because we are down 7pts. He also had Sidney Rice wide open for a possible TD (for sure a first down) and he aims the ball and doesn’t even come close to hitting him when he is 5 yards away. Childress needs to tell him to quit his D1-AA bullshit and tell him he is in the NFL.


A great rushing team can do some serious damage in the playoffs. The Vikes have the best rushing attack in the league averaging 169/game, which is 20 yards more than the Steelers. We have the best average/rush at 5.4, 0.8 ahead of the Eagles. This is great to have and can be a lethal weapon if the coach uses a good schemes to disguise the rushing attack. That is why I am a little worried because Childress doesn’t seem to know this. He threw the ball more times than he ran it in the first half on Monday...and we were losing 13-6 at half. Sure we can get away with it against a shitty Bears team, but a playoff team, Childress needs to buy a clue and figure it out!

Defensively we are the number one team against the rush only allowing 67 yards/game 10 yards less than the Ravens Defense. This is great for the playoffs, but this will force teams to throw the ball and that is our weakness. I look at our first round possible match-ups and those teams (Seahawks and Bucs) will abandon the run quickly against our DE. That could mean trouble for us in the first round.

The field goal kicking is pretty strong for the Vikes. Ryan Hungwell is hitting 86% of his tries, which is 10th in the NFL (2 of his misses are from 50+). 86% is a higher percentage than the Pats, Cowboys, Packers and the Colts!! I like the fact that he is experienced and will come through in the clutch if given the opportunity.

The Vikes have won 5 in a row, which is very good no matter whom you are playing in the NFL. But the teams they have played are a combined 28-42, which is a little scary. But look at who the Bucs and the Seahawks have been beating up on, their divisions are horse shit!!

Lastly we have the most exciting player in football, AP baby.

This guy can win a game by himself. I don’t care if a top defense puts 8 in the box he still can takeover. I love having Chester as a backup if AP is not having a dominate day he should get the ball 12-17 times. I don’t think they get him the ball enough, throw some screens in for him.


I say the Purple are a Pretender!!! They made great strides this year but still miss the intangibles you need to win the BIG GAME. With T. Jax guiding the ship I just don’t think a win on the road in the playoffs is possible. It just seems like we are to one dimensional on both sides of the ball. The defense can stop the run not the pass, the offense can run the ball but can’t pass. The only way I see the purple beating getting some wins on the road in the playoffs is if AP can go off for 175+. Hope you enjoyed the read and thanks to TK on Toast for letting me be a stranger!!!


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