Golly! I open up Fran Tarkenton's recent article, Talent beats experience in football and I start reading it and I'm thinking to myself that he's finally understanding it all in regard to the real change that's occurring in the NFL in regard to quarterback play. Then I get to the part were he lumps in Christian Ponder with Luck, Dalton, Wilson, Kaepernick, Newton and RG3, where he missed both Freeman & Tebow. To do that, realistically, you have to have evidence that Ponder is an efficient quarterback capable at an NFL elite level. There is simply no evidence of that ... in fact the evidence indicates just the opposite. Sir Francis, like many others, are grasping onto hope ... refusing to see unfulfilled promises. Ponder has failed ... the others that he mentioned are succeeding at a high level, or have succeeded at some point at a high level.
Again, some might point to Ponder's NFL QUARTERBACK RATING which is a method of evaluation that is beyond flawed. His comprehensive quarterback rating which includes the NFL quarterback rating, weighted by his drive efficiency and red zone efficiency, indicates that Ponder is clearly, if not the worst, then is one of the worst quarterback starters in the NFL ... and still this dead horse is being pushed upon us all to pull this cart. These ratings also do not incorporate his many blunders that have set up the opposition for easy scores where he in fact, in many cases, has hurt the team far more than he has helped it.
The word talent is highly misunderstood. Without the instinct to act ... neither a superior intellect nor talent is of any use whatsoever. For example, in practice Ponder may be able to make just about every throw ... wearing that RED jersey. He may have pin-point accuracy. He may have a bullet arm. He may be fast. He may be allot of things but without instinct, or the ability to react, you can never be an elite NFL level quarterback, no matter how much talent that you have. Ponder has completed 21 games as our starter and no matter how much valuable playing time that you waste upon him, the instinctual results will be the same. He simply doesn't have it where it's time that we wake up to that fact. Tossing a ball into a region of the back of the end zone to Kyle Rudolph while back pedaling for your life does not define the basis of a career.
You might recall some time ago, they called it "A BROKEN OFFENSE". Remembering that that offense was broken with a healthy Adrian Peterson & a healthy Michael Jenkins ... just like today. Using an offensive line that couldn't protect anybody, having only Percy Harvin left, with second tier players like (the dematerialized) Toby Gerhart, using players that as it turns out, still "just can't get open", like Aromashodu, the offense not only came back to life ... it became an almost unstoppable juggernaut. Joe Webb transformed just about every arena that he played in. In Philadelphia, where Culpepper has never won, Webb handed the playoff bound Eagles a very hard to explain beat down on a rare Tuesday night. In Washington, after Peterson's gruesome injury, running that poor broken offense, he electrified the crowd, including our own Leslie Frazier. In Detroit, he was a simple red zone face mask from handing this playoff bound team an embarrassing and all but improbable come from behind victory. People ... these were road victories ... Hello! To fully grasp & understand the full enormity of this photo you really need to see the movie "Joe Dirt". Yes, I agree ... it was a broken offense ... it was broken when Christian Ponder was running it and it's still broken today because Christian Ponder is still our quarterback.
Is this the wrong image America? When Tarkenton watched all those other quarterbacks, what he was seeing is talent hidden behind a uniform and a helmet. Maybe that's the NFL's greatest advantage because what we observe on the field is a ballet of our modern day gladiators draped behind a rigid corporate image where it is quite easy to see beyond the daily spoon fed unadulterated racism. Does this image not show the exact same youthful exuberance as that other player from the land of cheese that donned purple a few years back? Why do they scream out his name in Washington, Fort Lauderdale or in Wilmington Delaware for that matter? It's because America thrives on electricity and I'm not talking about that stuff that flows through your wires in your house. It's like the energy given off by your partner building toward the ultimate climax. You know exactly what I'm talking about. America is hungry for it and they want it ... they need it.
Guess what? Joe Webb is black man. Yes ... it's true. I'm proud to say it. Racism in America ... as ugly as it is ... dictates this to us all. It is rammed down our throats almost daily. Racism, along with many other things, is part of the very definition of politics. I grew up in the inner city. To this day all I can see is just another competitor that was quite willing to best me if I didn't get it together. Most times it was followed by my hand out or at the very least a clear sign of respect ... in victory or defeat. That doesn't mean that hatred didn't exist ... hatred was always easy to differentiate ... as it stand on its own. That is the way of the world.
It is truly unfortunate that some can only see the color of his skin. Some may discriminate based upon many other things however, in most cases, discrimination on numerous factors is actually a good thing ... if we can all get past the ugliness of politics. Some, on the other hand, can only see his talent. What I've seen, from the first moment that I saw him on film jumping over some obstacles at his first rookie camp was a gift from the gods ... a true champion.
Now cast your eyes upon his image once more. Now try to imagine the immense power of the aura that surrounds him and ask this very simple and very direct question. Will this man be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy? I know, so few NFL quarterbacks get to do this but you're missing the point. After all he has done ... with as little as they have extended to him ... why hasn't he been given his due?
My wife asked me what I wanted for Christmas. Really ... there was only one thing. I told her verbally but she could possibly get it wrong by picking up a Viking Jersey with the number 7 on it. Don't believe me, in 1998 my wife gave me a Viking shirt for Christmas that said 1998 Division Champion on it. My soul immediately sank into a sea of despair. I tried to explain the magnitude of her mistake ... but that was like tossing green backs into a raging river. It was soon followed by the 98 NFC championship implosion. As it turns out, the shirt was in fact prophecy. So I wrote upon a piece of paper and handed it to her ... NFL Minnesota Vikings AWAY Jersey. Size XXL. Number 14. Name on jersey: WEBB. I made it absolutely clear ... this is exactly what I want.
After all, this is America. We live in a republic under siege, where this is my one and only vote to cast upon those waters. It's an away jersey because to finally secure that first NFL Super Bowl victory, it's going to have to be AWAY from the friendly confines of Minnesota.
My hope is that the Metrodome will one day be transformed from a sea of purple into a sea of white with the #14 everywhere but this dreamlike wish is as hopeless as my quest for Beserker Rage. It never happened. Maybe they don't know. Maybe they don't care. Today, some of them are so young that all they can remember is that memorable Philly game that began their bond with this franchise. Regardless of their allegiance ... the energy of theses events cannot be simply dismissed & forgotten. All that matters is that I carry that heavy staff ... to never forget ... to never falter ... to never waiver ... regardless of whether anyone, including my own family members, can understand it or not.
These are our gladiators. Although that senior memory is clearly knocking upon the door, there are events that shall never be forgotten. The lifetimes of way too many are vested upon it.
The Viking Ghost Writer
Date: November 25, 2012