Baptism of Fire
In my first real job I remember coming out of a month long training session where I was somehow perceived by my peers to be of lesser stature ... and that was because the organization took the time to train me ... where these other individuals where handed some literature and reference material and were then cast into their own individual baptism of fire.
Now we find ourselves
chiding 20-something year old players ... in the futile hope of latching on to
something of meaning and importance ... and from their passion and play ....
there is an apparent disconnect with this history ... strutting around in their
Most would cringe and cower at such a thought. My view, however, is quite ravenous and filled with a Beserker Rage ... with reason.
In regard to our place in history, the commentators will always point to wins and losses ... as being the only true indicator ... as if we were playing for the college National Championship. The 1972 Miami Dolphins perfect season (17-0), was factually one of the easiest regular season schedules in the history of the NFL ... that is of course ... except for the Minnesota Vikings, which beat the physical snot out of the Dolphins only to lose a very close game that year. It is for this reason alone that the 72 Dolphins are scoffed at, in regard to true elite teams, where in fact the 73 Dolphins, which the Vikings faced in Super Bowl VIII was actually a superior team. What is important to note is that when the members of that undefeated team look down at that ring ... they have no choice but to point to that 72 game in Minnesota. What this one event indicates is a unique role played by the Vikings within NFL history ... which has generated an accumulation of elite performances ... before and since ... with payment ... which is now well past due.
A fond look back to prior Viking seasons indicate some incredible regular season play ... with each playoff appearance ending in a bitter disappointment. In those seasons, it ended with either some sort of gaff, or gaffs, or a clear indication that we were not battle tested. To understand where this is going, you need to look no further that to interview John Madden in regard to Super Bowl XI, where he viewed that final game somewhat like Vince Lombardi did ... an eventuality. What Madden understood was that his team was battle tested and battle hardened where there was no way the 1976 Vikings was going to keep him from his destiny.
It is for this reason
that numerous dominant won-loss records end up on the scrap heap ... year after
This is much different from the 98
season, where that plan was very simple. Hold the blocks, fill the gaps,
and chuck it as far as you possible can ... where the hope was that our gazelle
would not have to slow down, or even stop, or have to run back ... and to snatch
that lofty bird. The momentum of that season turned on a simple grab
of an outstretched arm that caused a fumble just prior to the end of the
There is no explanation for Brady ... other than his cheating tells and an ever protective and vigilant offensive line. We are impatient because we want the years of cohesiveness demonstrated by Manning and his receivers. It's easy to have one step in ... and hit the ground running ... it's quite another to have to build it all from raw materials and from special parts coming from other organizations. It take time to learn skills ... it takes more to communicate with it!
So what is the significance. Well ... you see ... you cannot collect on a debt that you know nothing about. You stand naked and alone!
The Steelers are one of the oldest franchises in the NFL. Their history was quit sordid. At the time ... they were much like how we perceive the Cards today ... cursed by the Ollie Matson blockbuster trade. Today, even the uninitiated associate the Steelers with their domination of the 70's. It is from this that they transformed the organization for all time ... and it is from this that their future is ensured.
You are indelibly tied to every Viking that ever was ... and that ever will be. These are your fraternal brothers that now span generations. Only a fool would try to walk away from something that becomes easily etched upon your soul. What it is ... Bro! There is no doubt in an afterlife ... at least in my mind. Some one some where is writing Karl Kassulke's epitaph and we all grieve his loss. I know that I could only fail in such an attempt but in my heart we can only truly honor Wally and now Karl with an image, which is indelible etched upon our minds. It is of the spirit of their hearts pouring out for their brothers with fight, verve and passion for their brothers.
So ... it really comes down to a simple choice. Do I stand alone and find myself barking at the moon ... or do I stand with my brothers ... then and now ... to take on destiny and to will our way to what is rightfully ours.
There to collect on a debt ... that appeared to have been silenced for all time.
The Viking Ghost