Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Joe Simon - “The Chokin’ Kind”
They said I was a smart kid because I got good grades. But when I was eleven, I proved to be wise beyond my years. The Vikings lost their fourth Super Bowl and I said: “I will never cheer for this team again.” Not only did I hold myself to my word, I have been actively cheering against them these past 41 years. They’ve been 0-6 in NFC Championship Games since and have continued their fifty-plus years pace of being a nationwide punchline. Lord, it’s been glorious.
This season’s NFC Championship game was one of the more enjoyable Vikings choke jobs. The Purple faithful were begging them to “bring it home”*, they said this team felt different than the sad sacks of the past, they told us the Vikings would win by scoring touchdowns and holding the Eagles to field goals. They told us Philadelphia was beatable at home (even though the Eagles were 8-1 at home, only losing when they rested starters in week 17), they said no way could Nick Freakin’ Foles beat a Mike Zimmer defense. The Vikings executed a flawless opening drive and then fell on their faces for the rest of the game. My favorite part was when Troy Aikman said “Doug Pederson has been one step ahead of Mike Zimmer all night” seconds before the Eagles ran a 41-yard flea flicker for a touchdown to put them up 30-7.
Ah yes, Mike Zimmer. The alleged defensive savant. This is the guy who Vikings fans think is the next Bud Grant. Zimmer has a ways to go before he can find a way to lose four Super Bowls, but we were assured that he is The Man like his mentor Bill Parcells. Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune told us a few years back that Mike Zimmer was like a chess grandmaster**. If Zimmer was playing chess, than Doug Pederson was playing 3-D chess like Spock in Star Trek. Zimmer had no clue what Pederson and the Foles-led offense were up to: The Vikings’ defense clowned around all day like any Vikings defense in a big game over the decades: There were missed tackles, blown coverages, and a noticeable scent of wanting to just quit and not play sixty minutes.
But hey that is the Vikings, that is what they do. They have been a thoroughly unlikeable team for decades now. From the hideous purple uniforms (which many times look blue on TV), to the stupid horn on the helmets, to the choking in big games, to the quitting in big games. And vs. the Eagles they went all Vikings by choking AND quitting. Buh-bye Vikings, you’ve been my favorite comedy for decades now. Hope your seasons-long history of failure is streaming on Netflix soon. I’d love to hear that Hank Stram cackle again.
* To quote Faith No More: What is “it”?
**Around the same time, Souhan also assured us that the Twins’ Paul Molitor was like a chess grandmaster. Good thing Wes So has two playing partners to square off against in town.