Nothing succeeds like success

Published 8:21 am Thursday, November 11, 2010

Jon Laging, Talking Sports

One looks at the Minnesota Vikings and wonders why they have a losing record. It’s virtually the same team as last year’s with the exception of the Randy Moss month. The same team as last year that many felt was the best in the NFL. But there has been constant upheaval. Why? The losing record, that’s why. Therefore, the clamor for Brad Childress’s removal. The controversy over Brett Favre. The immediate negative reaction to the termination of Randy Moss. Childress was absolutely right in getting rid of Moss whose college team is known as the Thundering Herd. While Moss was there The Thundering Me would have been a more appropriate name. Everybody knew Moss was a jerk, but they expected that he would play and not that he would take almost every play off. He was not only a jerk, but a lazy jerk.

Jon Laging

Brad Childress and Brett Favre haven’t changed. Childress was never a good sideline coach, and I don’t think anybody expected him to change. His bad calls included the constant gambling on fourth and one. You have to wonder if those fourth down calls were Childress trying to prove that he was not a stodgy conservative coach and was willing to gamble. If that is true, he was listening to criticism and trying to change certain perceptions of him. If he is, he has no business being an NFL coach or having any other management job. Still, if his Viking’s record was 5 and 3, instead of 3 and 5 there would be no strong call for his head and his real or imagined faults would be overlooked. Nothing succeeds like success.

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Favre likewise is no different from last year, well maybe a little different. He is one year older and one more year removed from his prime. He played a good game against New England and if the Vikings’ defense had been stronger they would have beaten one of the NFL’s better teams.

All this talk about defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier replacing Childress as head coach leaves me a little perplexed. I think prior to the Arizona game the defense had five sacks in seven games.

Favre is a drama king, but he has always been a drama king. And he loves it when he gets a chance to be in the spotlight. Favre like Moss likes to be the center of attention, but he is never better than when trying to win in the final moments of a game. Unlike Moss he gives all he has. The Viking season rests, as it always has, on both Childress and Favre. They are the same people they were last year. A person doesn’t change much at their age and tends to keep doing what they have been doing. Is that good? We’ll see.

All this controversy will go away if the Vikings start winning. Even if they don’t, Zygi Wilf won’t fire Childress unless he is forced to and certainly not before the end of the season. He will want to negotiate the four years remaining on Childress’ contract. If he fires Childress he would have to admit a lack of judgement in hiring Childress in the first place and then giving him a five-year contract and most billionaires have a pretty big ego.

How does Childress save the season? Give Favre his head. Let him dictate the game plan with plenty of room for improvisation. Why not? The Vikings couldn’t be much worse off than they are now. It is easy to be a coach when things are going well, but it’s a different story when they are not. We will soon see how good a coach Brad Childress is.