Sunday, January 30, 2005

Same As It Ever Was

I spent the better part of today at as a guest of the Atomizer and his lovely wife. He had a plumbing chore to do and, having some experience with the subject matter, I offered my assistance. We dispatched with the project within a couple of hours and then, Summits in hand, sat in his family room and listened to the Northern Alliance Radio Network.

While listening to the boys, Atomizer fired up the TV, with the sound turned down. Watching in such a way significantly limits a viewers choices, so Atomizer clicked through dozens of stations, attempting to find the perfect visual accompaniment to Mitch Berg's episode of true confessions. Suddenly, Atomizer hit the jackpot. A Minnesota Vikings game highlight film, caught right at the beginning. I would like to chronicle this game for you, gentle readers.

The Vikes got off to a slow start and appeared to be ill prepared. Their opponent got two good scoring chances on their first two possessions, but settled for field goals to go up 6-0. The Viking offense just couldn't get the running game going, and gave up another field goal midway through the second quarter.

All things considered, the Vikings could have been down 21-0 at this point. But they were merely down 9-0. This was obviously gut check time. A touchdown drive would put them right back in the game. The Vikings fumbled the kickoff and quickly were down 16-0.

In the third quarter, the Vikings #11, a quarterback the size of the opponents linebackers, rallied the team with his arm and with a well timed run on route to a long touchdown drive. It was 16-7 midway through the third quarter. Now if the defense could only get a stop, the Vikes could make a game of it. The opposing quarterback hit a receiver on a short sideline pattern, which should have yielded a gain of no more than ten yards. However, two separate Viking defenders made weak tackle attempts and the receiver sprinted for a 46 yard touchdown. The game ended 23-7.

I'm sure astute readers have already figured out that Atomizer and I were watching the highlights of Super Bowl IV featuring quarterback Joe Kapp, played 35 years ago against the Kansas City Chiefs. It should also be noted that going into the game, oddsmakers had installed the Vikings as 13 point favorites (about twice the 6 1/2 points that the New England Patriots are favored for Super Bowl XXXIX - and they are considered heavy favorites).

Atomizer and I were both two years old when this game was played, and not surprisingly, neither of us remember it. But in a way we do. For our entire lives, we have been watching this piss poor Vikings performance. The names change, but the season always ends the same way, in disappointment. How many times can we watch a great quarterback run for his life, because his blocking fails? How many times can we watch the defense pat a guy on the back as he sprints by them on his way to the end zone? How many times can we watch the vacant look of failure from the Vikings bench? This team is the sporting equivalent of the movie Groundhog Day.


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