The kind of crap that cascades through my brain at 9:57am on a Wednesday morning -
I may as well get the Wildcard game stuff out there first. I'll put it plainly: we have no chance, and everyone knows it.
Nothing sums up the Vikings fanbase better these days than headlines like "45% of season ticket holders have turned down playoff tickets" and "14,000 seats remain for Sunday's Wildcard game against Philadelphia". It's a huge middle finger to the current administration. I think it's nice to see the "fair-weather" nature Minnesota fans get slagged for take a back seat for a while.
We aren't stupid - setting aside all the dumb cliches about "how to win in the playoffs", what are the two most important aspects a team must have to win anywhere, regardless if it's preseason, regular season, the playoffs, or even the friggin Pro Bowl? Your quarterback, and coaching. Tarvaris Jackson and Brad Childress make up for easily the worst combination from all the playoff teams. I'd much rather have first timers Mike Smith and Matt Ryan, or John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco than the two clowns we're stuck with.
All the more infuriating, Mike Shanahan is now a free agent. The sensible Vikings fan is kinda wishing we didn't win the division and Zygi fired Childress. Some wish that even without Shanahan's availability, but whatever team gets him (Hello New York Jets!) is getting a huge upgrade.
I always shake my head at teams that fire upper echelon coaches. While Mike Lombardi says it was unavoidable, do they really think they're gonna find somebody better than Shanahan out there? So he can't find players. Then strip his GM title and get someone who can, but Jesus... keep him as a coach. You really think Marty Schottenheimer or Eric Mangini or Mike Martz or the Coordinator Flavor of the Month is going to be better? The coach wasn't the problem in Denver.
Sticking with NFL coaching moves, I applaud the Bills for sticking with Dick Jauron, if only because of the development of Trent Edwards. Too many times we've seen a huge overhaul derail the career of a young QB. Edwards has shown promise, and I think learning another 700 page playbook and all new terminology is too high of a risk to screw him up for good. It's been seen too often - Phil Rivers with San Diego in '07, Jason Campbell this year, Alex Smith's and Daunte Culpepper's entire careers, etc. With young quarterbacks, you can't underestimate the consistency of his environment.
Here's a great example of how I waste time - after thinking about it for a while, I realized there's some neat symmetry between the 1980s NFC and this decade's AFC. I thought the parallels were interesting -
San Fran = New England
The dynasty. Easy comparison.
NY Giants = Indy
Knocking on the door several years before finally busting through and beating their rival in the process (Giants in '87 against San Fran, Indy in '07 against New England), iconic coach, several superstars, known for a specific style of play.
Washington = Pittsburgh
Scary team, insane fanbase, always very competitive, always do all the little things right, makes the playoffs seemingly every year, sometimes spectacular (Washington's O, Pittsburgh's D), throw in a Super Bowl or two.
Chicago = Baltimore
Another easy one. Both historic defenses that each had one off-the-charts dominant year. Dangerous playoff team every other year.
Philadelphia = San Diego
The perennial "sexy" team (God I hate that word when its used with sports), despite having won nothing previous. Look great on paper, might make a conference championship, but more often than not they disappoint.
LA Rams = Tennessee
Often forgotten, but always involved. Very well coached, not too flashy, exactly one superstar (Dickerson, McNair), always gives the top teams a hard time, reach a conference title game or two.
Minnesota = Denver
A solid team that's often caught behind the logjam. Somehow makes the playoffs nearly every year, but it doesn't seem to matter.
Dallas = Oakland
Once proud franchise that was a tough out early in the decade but slowly dwindled into an embarrassing farce.
Wasn't that fun? I learned exactly nothing! Blogs are great.