Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Vikings' Loss Falls On The Coaches

Sorry for the long hiatus; with the school closure yesterday I was home all day with Macy. Donna was working from home, and so was making use of our ethernet cable. Yes, there's only one. My computer setup at home is decidedly 20th century. That will change once we get into our new digs, hopefully this summer. For now though, work use trumps personal use.

Anyway, about that Vikings game. First off, ha ha. Brett Favre screwed up. I noted before the playoffs began that he hadn't had one of those games yet. You know the ones. The ones where he throws seventeen consecutive interceptions or does something else silly to lose the game. Well, that interception at the end of regulation was that kind of play.

But there was a bigger reason for the loss. Let's hearken back to the not-so-distant past, a time Randy Moss was a rookie and Michael Vick was kind to animals as far as anyone knew.

The 1998 NFC Championship game pitted the Vikings against my Atlanta Falcons. The dirty birds were looked upon as something of a fluke; despite being 14-2 (to Minnesota's 15-1), the Vikings were favored by (don't quote me on this) something like 30 points. The Twinkie Dome was death to visiting teams that year (it was later revealed that the stadium crew was using the sound system to amplify the crowd noise. Oh those classy Vikings). It was predicted that the Falcons' offense would scarcely be able to function in that environment.

A funny thing happened though. The Falcons executed their offense almost flawlessly. Using hand signals and silent counts, Atlanta had zero false start penalties. Their was little or no confusion as to the play, no frenzied motioning to players to get to the correct spot. No delay of game penalties. The Falcons seemed unfazed by the cacophony of Minnesota's artificially enhanced noise factory. Dan Reeves and his staff had practiced all week by using artificial crowd noise set to painful decibels to force the team to prepare. It worked. The Falcons upset the Vikings in overtime on a field goal (whoa - foreshadowing!) and went on to embarass themselves in the Superbowl behind Eugene "I've just got to have a hooker the night before the Superbowl" Robinson.

Flashforward to Sunday. The Vikings had all sorts of problems on offense. Players shifting from side to side, trying to get to the correct position for the play call. Forced timeouts as the playclock expired. False starts. The Vikings seemed unprepared for the noise, which was both ironic and shortsighted. How could Brad Childress and his coaches not have the team prepared for the noise?
Even more so than Brett Favre doing what Brett Favre does, this loss falls on the coaching staff of the Vikings.

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