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Additional Minnesota Viking Commentary

Zimmer's Folly -
Julio Jones just made a remarkable catch out of bounds at the Patriots 22 yard line.  The Falcons are up by 8 points with 4:38 left in the 4th quarter.  The Pats have all 3 times outs remaining and the Falcons have 1 left in reserve.

When an organization is searching for that tiny little advantage ... you know, that small advantage between winning and losing its first Super Bowl ... that organization has to change it's perspective.  Sometimes the answer is just blurted out by this leagues champions ... because they just cannot contain themselves.

Back in Super Bowl IV, the was a comment made by some sports writer about our beloved Bud Grant.  The statement was that our coach wasn't of the caliber of what could be considered a Super Bowl winning coach.  In short, on that day, he wasn't prepared to play catch-up ball with the chiefs.  All that was known on that day was Viking football and that was no where near the likes of Bill Walsh's west coast offense.  On that day, we may have had the pieces but we in no way could execute what had evolved into a new stain of offense.  From a coaching perspective ... we were one step behind.

Then we hear it.  Troy Aikman blurts it out.  The man that has 3 Super Bowl Championships under his belt.  "3-points would be huge here!"  What was the other side of that fence trying to tell us ... with the fence being franchises that win championships versus the other side that hasn't?  In that one moment of time he recognized something & every Viking fan on the planet should have realized that crystal clear moment in time ... as it traverses through the ages.   

Someone recently wrote an article about the similarities between today's Falcon's & our 1998 squad.  As it turns out, that thought turned out to be prophetic ... but not for the reasons stated in that article.  What was clear in that 1998 championship game, if Gary Anderson had made that kick, this Vikings Franchise would have a 10 point lead in an era before the 2-point conversion.  If made, there would be no way the Falcons could have tied up the score where that special squad would have punched its ticket to the Super Bowl.  

So what can Mike Zimmer learn from Troy Aikman's prophetic comment ... understanding that Troy's statement was actually more of a metaphor for something that had eluded this franchise  in its 55 years of existence?  Well, as it turns out ... it was the lacking of a concise perspective.  Think of this perspective like John Wayne teaching Ron Howard how to shoot his pistol in the Shootist.  "The difference, son, is that I won't (make the mistake of) draw a breath (or hesitate) in any way before pulling that trigger.     

The mistake made by the Falcon's staff was that they were caught up in thinking they were playing the New England Patriots instead of what they were really playing against ... THE CLOCK.  To be direct, based upon watching Mike Zimmer's past performances, it is absolutely clear that he doesn't even begin to understand this concept however it is my hope that he soon will.  

Empathy, as it turns out, can be one of the great teachers known to man ... without having direct consequences.  If Mike Zimmer could feel just 5% of what the Falcons are going through today ... he'd have a chance that one day just might get this franchise over the top.

It's first down, with 4:38 left on the clock.  So that there is no chance of stopping the clock on first down the Falcon's run the ball off tackle.  And just like in real life, 44 seconds run off the clock making it 2nd & 11 at the 23 yard line with 3:56 left on the clock.  Same play is run again but now the cheating genius has a dilemma instead of getting cute by trying to throwing a pass.  Do I burn a time out or not.  Because the Patriots have to guard against an 11 point lead, the cheating genius has to call time out as he did but instead of 3rd and whatever it's 3rd down & 10 from the 22 yard line with 3:50 or less on the clock.  Run the exact play again picking up 2 yards on 3rd down but the difference hear is that the cheating genius cannot call time out this time meaning that a minimum of 46 seconds comes off the clock.  With 3:04 left on the clock the Falcons call their final time out.  Now, the kicker has his chance to achieve his life long dream ... to make that 36 yard kick in the biggest game of his life.  The odds are heavily stacked in the Falcon's favor as after all they carry the legacy of that 98 kick that sealed our fate.  Now they are up by 11 points with under 3 minutes left to play.  The patriots only have two time outs left and the 2-minute warning.

You might think that Tom Brady would have won that game anyway ... no matter what ... but what it clear to me is that at some point the Patriots would have had to line up for an on-side kick.  No matter how good the cheating genius might be, in that event the odds would be heavily stacked against the Patriots.  So much so that the Falcon's should be world champions today.    

What Troy Aikman blurted out ... from the mouths of babes ... is that the difference would be "Intense Clock Pressure", that absolutely no one could overcome.  If you heard Tom Brady's words, he spoke of his team & the chain of events that needed to happen.  If any one of those chains were to break then it would all fall apart.  Time was that key factor in that chain.  

Like I said, based upon Mike Zimmer's past performances, we've seen him call time outs for the other teams offense to get his defense on the same page.  That statement alone is a clear lack of preparation & most importantly the result of a vague command.  It's right up there with Robert E. Lee's command to take the high ground on the first day in Gettysburg if practicable.  The leaders on the field should have the authority to set the defense without having to rely upon the direct commands of Eisenhower on D-Day.  Battlefield commanders need to be able to execute split second decisions on the battlefield and the clock is always your greatest foe.

The Viking Ghost Writer
Date: February 8, 2017