Week 1: Vikings vs. TB
Actually, the Vikings might have fared better if they were battling tuberculosis, but instead they
faced Tampa Bay in the first week.
I was there in person, and have a few observations:
The line judge on the Bucs side of the field had it out for us (or is just a bad ref).
He called three horrible penalties.
One was the pass interference that wiped out Wiggins TD (replays showed no contact), another was a on
a key drive that thankfully was overturned by the back judge. Not only was the pass past the players
when the contact happened, it was also 5 feet beyond their reach. Just horrible. Thankfully Lando
the Ref was there to keep it pretty balanced, but that one Line Judge was terrible </bill walton>.
The defense played pretty well... at least compared to what we've seen in the past. They still
have huge issues with 3rd down (I would love to see a breakdown of yards per down for TB's offense),
but outside of 5 plays, they played shockingly well.
The Bucs are slightly better than advertised. They are still on the decline, and with Atlanta
and Carolina in their division, they won't have a chance, but if they were in the old NFC Central,
they'd probably come in second.
The offensive line play was below sub-par. Withrow has no idea what he's doing, and seems to
clutch on every play. There could have been even more penalties than were called (along with
a false start on McKinnie that somehow didn't get called). This team is going to miss Matt Birk
more than they can possibly imagine.
In addition to the offensive line, Daunte obviously had a miserable day. Granted he didn't
get a lot of protection (sadly, Brian Griese had a better line in front of him), but even when
he did have time, he didn't play well. What was especially painful was the final interception on
what could have been the winning drive. A short pass was thrown to Moe Williams, which bounced off
his hands and was intercepted. Granted, Moe should have caught that, however, it was a short pass,
which did not need to be thrown at 90 mph. It's always the little things that get you in the end.
I sat in front of the two biggest morons I've ever had the displeasure of sitting near at a
Vikings game... and let me tell you, that's saying something. One guy was yelling for the Vikings
to run the ball every damn play. Even after they had been stuffed repeatedly... "Gotta Keep Em'
Honest!!!". His buddy sounded like Chong (from Cheech & Chong), was about as smart, and was the
voice of reason, which is a scary thing when you think about it. So very very painful.
The jingoism was in full-effect with the live broadcast of Mrs. & Mr. Jessica Simpson (god, that
was just awful) and with the propaganda on the Jumbotron talking about how it is our mission to bring
Democracy to the world. (Which nearly made me throw up...who decided that was out mission?); as well
as praising our role in Iraq.
Couple that with the blind fervor disguised as patriotism, I was actually very disturbed by the
pregame ceremonies. Add to that the woman sitting next to me decked out in red, white, and blue
(not a shread of purple), who was cheering for America more than the Vikes (during the various
renditions of the pregame and halftime songs: "Go America! Yeah America!") and gave a couple of her
trinkets (small flag, headband with springy red/white/blue mini-pom-poms) to a kid sitting a couple
rows in front of us whom she called a "young whippersnapper" and "little soldier"...no, I'm not
If you think
I'm un-american, you couldn't be further from the truth. Aren't we fighting a war against blind
fervent follwers? To me, yesterday should have been about remembering the people who died 4 years
ago, not using their deaths to justify/rationalize what is going on in Iraq. What I'm saying is
that there was way too much politics in what was supposed to be a day of rememberance. Of course,
that seems par for the course these days.