It’s a long season

Published 8:45am Thursday, September 16, 2010

Jon Laging, Talking Sports

It never ceases to amaze me that the difference between being a hero and a bum in sports is so small. One play in all the plays in an entire NFL football game can determine a winner or a loser. That was so in the Minnesota-New Orleans Thursday night football game.

Jon Laging

One play could have been the difference between Brett Favre ready for the “Antiques Road Show” or being the Brett Favre of old. The dropped interception by Asher Allen and the pass ruled an incompletion and not overturned after a Brad Childress challenge. The ball caught or not caught by Shiancoe that could have gone either way and an inch or two may have changed the call. Either could have turned the game around and all we would be hearing is that the gunslinger is back. Brett Favre doesn’t need preseason practice and it’s probably a good idea that he does not practice in order to save his strength for the season. Conventional wisdom went from that’s just Brett being Brett, to accusing him of self indulgence. That his lack of practice with the receivers cost the Vikings the game. All of the above statements may well be true. It just depends on winning or losing.

Another example of this is, if the Twins go on to the World Series, the team’s previous failures in post season will be easily forgiven and Ron Gardenhire will be lauded to the skies. If Favre recaptures his past form all will be forgiven and he will be the most popular guy in Minnesota.

One reason Favre took so much criticism is that he was the storyline in the pre-game hype. The media concentrated on the Thursday game. The first game of the most popular sport in the U.S. The working man’s sport in these days of high unemployment. Something to think about instead of either getting a job or keeping your present one.

The game opened with a thunderous display in the Super Dome. You would have thought that the Saints had won another Super Bowl. Not that you could blame New Orleans for celebrating, they haven’t had much to cheer about the past five years.

I thought the Vikings played quite well. They lost to the Super Bowl champs by five points playing at their home. That is no disgrace and if they get them again this year, I would favor the Vikings.

1. It’s very difficult to beat a good team three times in a row.

2. Favre’s rust will be gone and revenge will be on his and the team’s mind.

3. The Vikings have the better team.

It’s a long season and forecasting can backfire, but based on the New Orleans game, the Vikings look to have a good year.

Just the opposite is true for the Minnesota Gophers after their sickening loss to the University of South Dakota after USD had lost to Central Florida 38-7 the previous week. Central Florida? When I lived in So. Dak. and followed the North Central Conference USD would be pleased to beat Augustana, They were favored every year over Morningside. Now obviously USD has improved since those days, but just as obviously Minnesota has not. Athletic Director Joel Maturi has given football coach Tim Brewster more than enough rope. Maturi better be careful or Brewster will drag him down with him.

The Big Ten Conference now has 12 members divided into two divisions. The commissioner and athletic directors are trying to name the conference. They were the Big Nine, then added Michigan State and called themselves The Big Ten. Then added Penn State and continued to call themselves The Big Ten. They could call themselves the Big Twelve, but that would be copying a previous conference. I’ve got a start for them; How about the Big Six which includes Michigan, Ohio State and Wisconsin and the Little Six headlined by Minnesota.