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And, I thought the Saints were dirty...

Geoff Wood

Image from NYTimes.comAfter the Vikings lost the NFC championship to New Orleans Saints, I wrote the following in a blog post

However, the Vikes looked pretty darn good. I’m a homer but it certainly felt like the Vikings outplayed the Saints – only they kept turning the ball over which was ultimately the deciding factor. In fact, they turned it over 5 times! And the Saints gameplan was obviously to take Favre out (which they almost did) which was legal but felt dirty. The Saints racked up 3 unsportsmanlike penalties and a few others that looked like they should have been called.

Since that time, we've learned that in addition to the three unsportsmanlike penalties that were called, the NFL admits to making a mistake by not calling another on a hit that injured Brett Favre.

Last week Favre posted on his personal website that he had a surgical procedure to repair damage to his ankle that was caused in that hit.

That announcement prompted Darren Sharper, the Saints star safety, to tweet the following:

Well y'all seen Brett had surgery on that ankle we got after in the championship game. Come Thursday night 1st game. X marks the spot.Sat May 22 03:41:41 via mobile web


The Vikings have a rematch against the Saints in Week 1 and apparently Sharper, if not the rest of the Saints, have decided to that injuring Favre is again the game plan. Keep it classy, Darren.

I'm sure people will say its a joke since Darren himself was a teammate of Favre's for years in Green Bay, and that certainly may be the case. Whether its a joke or not, the fact that less than two seasons ago Sharper was a Viking makes this some powerful material for the bulletin boards around Winter Park this summer.

Live by the Favre, Die by the Favre

Geoff Wood

 Last night the Minnesota Vikings lost the NFC championship in overtime to the New Orleans Saints. Thus end what has been a more enjoyable season that many of us Vikes fans could have imagined back in August.

The loss is certainly disappointing and it personally ranks in between the 1998 NFC championship (played in January 1999) loss and the 2000 NFC championship loss. The 1998 loss will live in infamy amongst fans, as the 15-1 team that both set scoring records and was flawless from the kicking perspective all season long(1) until a missed 38 yarder left the Vikings on the low side of the 30-27 final score. It was so bad that it made it's way into a subplot on the CBS Show "How I Met Your Mother" in 2008 (see image below). The 2000 game was a debacle with a less talented Vikings team losing 41-0 on the road at the New York Giants, which was embarrassing but not gut wrenching like the 1998 and 2009 losses.

Brett Favre
The big story line for the Vikes this year was obviously Brett Favre, the hero of the rival Packers who upset them last year when he tried to become a Viking but instead wound up a Jet and infuriated them this year when he did become a Viking (and was damn good at it, perhaps having his best season ever).

As a fan, I wasn’t sold on Favre at first. I had trouble getting excited to root for a guy that I always hated as a Packer(2) and Favre was one guy in particular that I disliked for the attention that he received from the commentators and media. Having no other choice (he is our quarterback, after all) I finally bought in the San Francisco game in Week 3 where, for the first time as a Viking, he lead one of his famous come-from-behind 2 minute drives ending with a touchdown to a receiver that no one even knew was on the roster(3).

Loss to Saints
As I mentioned before, the overtime 31-28 loss to the Saints last night was gut-wrenching. The Saints had been the number one team in the NFC all season long and the sports prognosticators that I listen to(4) gave the Vikings no chance. The venue, the Louisiana Superdome, was supposedly the toughest place to play and the Vikes had not looked good on the road in hostile atmospheres outside of Green Bay, Wisconsin.

However, the Vikes looked pretty darn good. I’m a homer but it certainly felt like the Vikings outplayed the Saints – only they kept turning the ball over which was ultimately the deciding factor. In fact, they turned it over 5 times! And the Saints gameplan was obviously to take Favre out (which they almost did) which was legal but felt dirty. The Saints racked up 3 unsportsmanlike penalties and a few others that looked like they should have been called.

Many people will blame Favre for this loss, who had two interceptions including one with 15 seconds to play while the Vikes were in position for a long (very long) field goal to win the game.

Personally, I have trouble with that thinking, I’m more frustrated with Pro-Bowl running back Adrian Peterson who has fumbled all year long and did so when the Vikes were in a position to score just before half.

I’m not exactly sure why I don’t blame Favre for last night’s loss. It could be that after this weekend I’m emotionally numb on the sports front(5 ) or more likely it’s the fact that the gritty, old man known for his Wrangler jeans and inability to make a decision has actually won me over. I knew that for all the good that came with Favre, so came the bad and that terribly inopportune pick was just part of the bad and we need to game plan around it (we did not) or to put it another way: live by the Favre, die by the Favre.

(1)Vikes kicker Gary Anderson converted all 35 of his field goal attempts and all 59 of his extra point attempts becoming the first kicker in NFL history with a 100% conversion rate in a season. (2) And vice versa, when Vikings that I love, such as Randy Moss, go to other teams I still want them to do well – even when I hate their team, like I do the Patriots. (3) Greg Lewis, a free agent signed a few weeks earlier and was active in his first game. (4)Bill Simmons, ESPN’s Sports Guy & his ilk (5)I sat through Cyclones loss to Kansas on Saturday which ended with that stupid Rock-Chalk chant reverberating inside our gym.

Facebook's 25 Random Things

Geoff Wood

There’s been an interesting phenomenon spreading throughout Facebook the last couple weeks called “25 Random Things About Me”. Cleverly named, it’s a list of 25 random things about me (or the person writing it).

You become aware of the list when one of your Facebook friends creates a 25 Random Things list and then “tags” you and 24 other people. You are then given the following instructions:

Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.

(To do this, go to "notes" under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.)

In effect, it’s a combination of the chain letter that’s been around for centuries and the odd e-mail “Get to Know Me”-surveys that were bouncing around collegiate e-mail directories in the last 1990s. However, unlike chain letters, there is no ill will set to fall upon you if you don’t pick up the challenge and unlike those surveys there are no common questions asked of each person.
After being tagged three times by co-workers and once by a family member I decided to capitulate and, since I took the time to create the list I figured that I should also share it here:
  1. I know the difference between a Monument and a Memorial (as in Washington and Lincoln).
  2. I will one day have a job where I can take my dogs to work.
  3. I’ve had the same seats at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa since I graduated in 2000 even though I've lived in Indiana for four of the those years and Nebraska for one.
  4. I still consider myself a “Chevy Truck Guy” even though I’ve happily owned an Acura sedan for over a year. The power of branding is strong.
  5. There is a bit of a strained dichotomy in my life in that I love history and tradition but constantly seek change.
  6. I’ve become a big enough fan of IndyCar racing in our time in Indiana that I was able to recognize 2008 Indy 500 and Indy Car Series champion Scott Dixon when he walked past me in the Indianapolis Airport this summer (we have a great picture).
  7. I have cousins named Rustin, Justin and Dustin (in three separate families).
  8. I pay for a home phone but don’t know the number.
  9. I don’t understand people who have a non-geographic loyalty to a particular professional sports team.
  10. I like to know as much as possible about the sports teams that I follow and as a result I have a hard time just turning on the TV and enjoying a casual NFL or MLB game (unless it’s the Vikings or Twins).
  11. I visualize a map of the United States when thinking about cardinal directions (such as the Atlantic Ocean is East and the Pacific is West). Ever since moving to Indiana, I’m at times confused since the Mississippi River is now West of me.
  12. I think that umbrellas are not masculine but have no problems with scarves and earmuffs (at least the wrap around ones). My opinion has been disputed several times by a few of my MBA classmates.
  13. Other than at the office, as many of my friends refer to me by last name as do my first
  14. I still refer to most of my female friends from college by their last/maiden names (only) even though several have acquired new ones for themselves.
  15. In the last few months I’ve become an avid user of Twitter.
  16. I met Dave Matthews at my first ever company holiday party and no holiday part since has been as exciting.
  17. I never drank coffee until I started graduate school in August 2007, now I drink it a lot. I drink as much of it after 6 PM as I do before 11 AM. I only drink it black – no mochochocalatte-ish drinks.
  18. My greatest athletic accomplishment is somewhere between riding all 471 miles across Iowa in RAGBRAI 2008 and making “Pro” in Wii tennis. Middle school basketball (2 years), high school tennis (2 years), and Iowa State Rugby (1 year) were not quite as successful. I also like to play kickball but we didn’t field a team last season.
  19. After the first time that I went out with my wife, Hope, (we were already friends and she didn’t know it was an “exploratory” date) I decided that I wasn’t going to her ask her out again; she called and asked me out instead.
  20. Hope and I started to a tradition of going to movies every weekend when we first started dating (March 2002); we still see 2 or more per month.
  21. I was the first person I knew to have a CD player when my folks gave me one for my birthday in 5th grade. Everyone bought me CDs that they wanted to listen to: my Sister Sara - Paula Abdul’s “Shut Up & Dance”, my brother Joe – Bell Biv DeVoe’s “Poison” and my folks - Tom Petty’s “Into the Great Wide Open”. I listened to all of them at the time but Tom Petty is the only one that I’d still like to have today.
  22. Over Christmas this year, I visited the neighborhood in Cedar Rapids, Iowa that I grew up in and it still looks like Post-Katrina New Orleans from last summer’s floods. The recovery needed from that disaster has been grossly under publicized. 
  23. I firmly believe that almost all recommendations are crap.
  24. Even though I’m not a Colts fan (like most folks around these parts), I think Peyton Manning is hilarious.
  25. The tater tot is my favorite form of potato. I love the fact that I can order them at The High Life Lounge in Des Moines (though I haven't been there in a few years). 
At first I thought the 25 Random Things list was fairly silly but now I kind of dig it. One of the greatest uses of Facebook for those of us over 22 years of age is to catch up with friends from long ago (like the elementary school classmate who “friended” me this evening). What better way to learn about what they are up to then to view the 25 Random Things about their life that they’ve chosen to share with the world?

AD's Assistant

Geoff Wood

Just saw this Sportscenter ad the other day and found it amusing - if Ragnar could've found a way to keep the ball in Adrian's hands and we'd be in the playoffs.