Thursday, September 18, 2008
Behind The Scoreboard
Would you all believe that it is only week two in the NFL and already some of us “know-it-all” sports writers are talking Super Bowl? Would you also believe that one emphatic pick was Super Bowl 43 – San Diego 34, Minnesota 20? Don’t know who this clairvoyant was but he just might have the Minnesota position right.
The Vikings have always been contenders but they have been to just one playoff game in the last seven seasons. They have had a fistful of coaching changes since the days of the scrambling quarterback, Fran Tarkenton. Not to say that the Viking hierarchy is all that bright, but why the drought in winning that big one?
And one has to consider the trade which they concluded recently. Does it really make sense to shell out almost $74 million for a defensive man when you are really weak at the “field general” position? While it is true that Jared Allen is the all-time NFL sacks leader as a rushing defender, is that going to relate to putting points on the board? Years ago when the Vikings had a defensive machine called the Purple People Eaters, which was often compared to the Fearsome Foursome of the old Los Angeles Rams, Allen might have fit right in. It is also interesting that so far all of the hype has been on Allen and not on Adrian Peterson, who set the record for rushing yards in a single game last year for the Vikes.
While all teams are jockeying for positions early, one brand new coach was just trying to make his mark. Jim Zorn, new head coach of the Redskins, was visibly biting his nails before his team, which has been tagged as “the old men” of the NFL, pulled off the win against the Saints. Even the oddsmakers backed away from that one. It was interesting to note that Coach Zorn was taking no chances. With the Saints out of time-outs, he elected to let the clock run down for a minute and a half to ensure the 29-24 victory.
When it was made official that Tom Brady was lost for the season and that Vince Young was out with a knee injury, and that there were still questions about the concrete healing of Peyton Manning, the picture in the AFC suddenly was being viewed from a different angle. But it was only momentarily. Vince’s back-up, Kerry Collins, moved the Titans to 2-0. The Colts bounced back from their week one loss and stopped the Vikings and their $74 million man while protecting their quarterback (Manning) at the same time. And the Patriots installed Matt Cassel, who had never started an NFL game before, to replace the sidelined Brady. Cassel gave the Jets and their new QB (Brett Favre) a set-back with a 19-10 beating.
And the Manning watch continues. Eli and the Giants really shellacked the St. Louis Rams with a 41-13 you-know-what to go 2-0. Peyton is 1-1 at this juncture, but remember, as we have already noted, it is only week two.
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