Sure it's painful ... but there is a point to history ... for the ones that don't know. Yup! 11 is an evil number ... poor Percey. When the Vikings took the field on January 11, 1970 there was a grand total of two (2) NFL Super Bowl Champions in the Packers, winning Super Bowl I and II and the Jets winning Super Bowl III. There was a grand total of five (5) prior Super Bowl participants which included the Green Bay Packers, Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Colts, New York Jets and after this day that number would increase by one (Minnesota Vikings). Most tend to forget that Kansas City was a prior participant to the big show ... previously be chided by old Vince Lombardi as being league inferior... at would be ... our expense. Note that of those five initial participants, four of five are now in the AFC. Since that day there has been oceans of water that has passed under that bridge. Today, there has been a grand total of 28 of 32 teams that have participated in the Super Bowl (Detroit, Cleveland, Houston and Jacksonville have not) and a grand total of nineteen (19) of 32 franchises that have hoisted Lombardi for their franchise with two (2) new franchises being added to the winners list in the last five Super Bowl Games (New Orleans and Seattle).
To say that the Viking Nation is just a bit angry, or a bit upset is like describing Mount Everest as nothing more than a speed bump. When you hear someone spew-out that the New Orleans Saints deserved that Super Bowl victory, especially having already hosted a record number of Super Bowl events in New Orleans, or that the Cleveland Brown's are the most deserving franchise, we all might collectively be compelled to rip the lungs out of that orator for his efforts. In short ... they don't know history. The Viking Nation is collectively filled with a Berserker Rage. Comparing the plight of this Viking franchise to any other pin head toting franchise as the most deserving in line for a Super Bowl championship is absolute garbage.
For example, city of Cleveland has a grand total of six (6) NFL championships with the Cleveland Bull Dogs, Rams, and Browns ... even though all of those franchises abandoned Cleveland for some reason. That number increases to eight (8) if you consider that the Cleveland Browns franchise moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens, winning two more Super Bowl championships, keeping in mind that titles follow franchises. The Detroit Lions have a grand total of four (4) NFL Championships. Jacksonville and the Houston Texans are both expansion teams joining the league in 1995 and 2002 respectively where by comparison they have yet to pay their dues. The Cleveland Browns paid to keep both their identity and their records but they are still one of the NFL's newest franchises (1999). By comparison, the Minnesota Viking were the first to lose four (4) Super Bowl Championships and we haven't appeared in that big game since the season of the Bicentennial. There are middle aged adults alive that don't even know what the Bicentennial was (38 years ago).
So today we hear the chant: Teddy .... Teddy .... Teddy. We all collectively should be asking, "What does it mean?" What really lies behind these powerful words?
To find your answer you have to peer deeply within Matt Cassel to determine his motivations. Is he here to lead this franchise to its first Super Bowl Championship or is he here just to make money and move on? Today and historically for that matter,how have we allowed our coaches to get past the Nation without answering that question? After all was said and done, Brett Favre's interception in New Orleans gave us the ultimate painful answer to that question ... a question that maybe no one wanted to ask. Did we learn from that mistake? You see, in response to any question, anybody can say anything ... but do we have to accept it all at face value. For example, Matt Cassel and Jennings could say that they are here to win a championship ... but I'm not so sure ... especially when we reach that stressful pivot point within the season or playoffs when a man's character is tested to its limits. Keep in mind that they'll have all those millions to cushion the blow just in case they fail in their attempt. After 53 years (since our inception in 1961), the answer to "Do we accept it all at face value?" is definitively NO! Now hear our chant ... Teddy! Teddy! Teddy!, etc. Those words have been implanted by a higher power within the ravenous nation and they will not just simply go away ... because all of our senses are wide open and on full throttle. It's called a paradigm shift that goes well beyond the soiled achievements of a Cheatin' Bill Belichick or the low life 2009 New Orleans Saints.
To put this all into perspective, ask yourself, what might be Teddy's motivation? He just might be here to be the NFL's first 200 million dollar contract. He might be this franchises first Super Bowl winning quarterback. At his present station ... there is little doubt of his motivations because the slope of his curve is essentially vertical however you wouldn't know it by reading his emotions as he's marching down the field. Oh Yeah ... that happens all the time ... NOT! By comparison, there is a great deal of doubt with Matt Cassel as his journey within this franchise, was ANYTHING BUT CLEAN, enduring absolute hell behind Ponder. This could result in another knife firmly thrust once again deeply into the back of this Viking Nation ... that is, unless he is handled efficiently, for maximum effect. Sure, winning a championship was possible but revenge is best served upon the tip of a cold hardened blade (Brett Favre's Legacy - Sinking a Viking Ship). Turning the reigns over to Matt Cassel is too easy an option for this coaching staff that couldn't possibly maximize Matt Cassel's utility as either our opening day or long term starter. It could also be argued that this low-path coaches decision would directly affect Matt Cassel's net value (future worth) within the league and his direct value to this franchise in 2015. Matt is capable of accepting virtually any impossible task or situation and transforming it into gold ... literally. He is both heroic and unique in his capability to help evolve this organization into a dynasty, however that cannot be accomplished by allowing our coaches to take the easy way out. Matt's role is to resurrect this franchises sorry hind sides during a crisis, time and again over the length of the season, by pulling this franchises feet from the fire ... by hauling it in from the precipice. In short, Matt Cassel's forte is to insure a franchise dynasty. By comparison, accepting that Matt Cassel will be our opening day and long term starter seems beyond counterproductive in terms of both him and this franchise. The present course stinks of the Eli Manning and Kurt Warner fiasco in New York as there was no way to pull Warner for Manning without causing a giant step backwards. The question that only a coward wouldn't ask is, "Why can't Teddy face the giants of this league (Brady, Rodgers, Cutler, Stafford & Ryan) and win?" He'll have to face them all eventually. You won't know for certain until you know by forcing him to compete head to head. Just as they say that there might be a price to be paid for starting Teddy to early ... the absolute counter argument is that there is most certainly a price to be paid for not starting Teddy right out of the box.
If you know NFL history, you know the name Earl Morrall. Without Earl, there is no 1972 undefeated Miami Dolphin's season at 17-0. You might remember Earl also playing in Super Bowl III. Do you think that Earl Morrall was an important part of NFL history? Can you name any other individual within the NFL since that can compare to old Earl? Now open your eyes as it is time to change directions. What right do you have to take Matt Cassel from his destiny ... from his historic heroic role? Taking the easy rode is not acceptable.
On the other hand, if Matt Cassel were to espouse that his function is to mold franchise quarterbacks ... be it here in Minnesota ... or anywhere in this league ... then that would be believable. If he were to espouse that he's here to bail out this franchise's hind quarters ... time and again ... throughout the season, as it was originally sold to the Viking Nation ... well ... that would be both candid and direct and is in no certain terms saying something but on our present path that won't happen. How is our present low-road path a Win-Win for anybody?
Matt Cassel is being sold to us as this organizations opening day starter and that my friends is a slippery slope. How many more times are we going to invest our vital resources (playing time) into investments that either have payoffs for other franchises or have little or no chance to payoff for this franchise? Does the investment in Russell Wilson hold the key in this franchises future?
In our first pre-season game, Teddy, with our starters, would have been 2 for 4 for 37 yards if not for an illegal formation. If not for some conservative play calling those numbers might have been extraordinary as Johnny Football didn't even get a whiff of those numbers until late in the 3rd quarter. Then we get a 136.9 passer rating of 16 for 20 with 2 TD's with the same back ups that had Christian Ponder running for his life, where Teddy had to face blitzes on every down. Sure the stadium and Viking fans were going absolutely nuts in a ravenous fashion. Then we peer upon Teddy's emotionless face as if we are seeing for the first time the beginning of what could be ... an NFL legend. Then we are told by the sports beat ... look away ... don't peer behind the curtain ... Cassel is our starter. WHAT??????
Maybe you hadn't noticed but Teddy wasn't running away from the rush like Ponder taking flight down the field. No ... what we see ... is a man ... navigating through the defense ... side stepping the rush ... looking for an open patch on which to plant his feet while watching down the field to carve up any defensive scheme that's put in front of him. No way! Yes! Way!
Did Teddy get lucky? Possibly, however what we've seen is undeniable. It shows up on film and it had shown up immediately.
So ... you say that you want to win championships? Then it just might be time feed the beast. You have to know if it will show up again on film and that doesn't happen from the bench. Keep in mind that when considering starters ... all they are is high priced talent ... and before they anoint a starter they should keep one thing firmly in mind. The only thing that matters is that the quarterback finds me when I'm open so that I can do my thing. The coach will tell me what number will be throwing me that ball.
The Viking Ghost Writer
Date: August 20, 2014