Interestingly enough, most of the interesting news is coming out of Minnesota. Interesting…
First, the NFL is beginning to lean on the state of Minnesota. “Get your act together,” seems to be the message. “Or your Vikings might meet with an unfortunate accident.” That would require relocation.
Roger Goodell is quite a change from Paul Tagliabue, isn’t he? Who would have thought that that stiff, wooden, uncharismatic lawyer could prove a hero, and his replacement, a stiff, wooden, uncharismatic lawyer, would prove to be Satan incarnate? Not me, but I was wrong once before, so keep that in mind.
When Benson began threatening to take the Saints to San Antonio permanently, Tagliabue informed him in no uncertain terms that he was welcome to go wherever he wanted to, but the Saints wouldn’t be going with him. Benson backed down, the Saints stayed, and the rest is history. Apparently, that history isn’t going to replay itself in Minnesota. Goodell has come down solidly on the side of the owner, and the people of Minnesota can go suck rocks if they won’t build a new stadium.
This is another one of those strange instances where I find myself, in theory, siding with Goodell. The Vikings are a business; and if ownership wants to relocate them, well…too bad for Minnesota. But it’s interesting (today’s theme) to see the way the roles have reversed. If Goodell had been commissioner in 2005, he would have spent most of his time in San Antonio, smoothing the way for the move.
In other Vikings news, Jared Allen inadvertently trips over the truth, picks it up, scratches his head, and tosses it aside unrecognized. Consider these quotes from this National Football Post interview:
”We all sign that contract knowing the risk…”
“Guys are gonna find a way to hit people….”
“Guys are gonna find a way to make plays…”
“They won the game, we had our shots and we blew it. But their Bountygate had nothing to do with our five turnovers…”
Holy cranial power surge, Batman! Maybe that explains the sparks, the smell of ozone, and the rest of the garbled static coming out of the interview:
”…obviously the Saints were wrong in what they did and they’re being punished accordingly…”
“…you look at those hits on Favre, and you look at that stuff—all you’ve gotta do is throw a flag…”
I’m sorry, does all this cohere? Remi Ayodele and Bobby McCray, both of them trying to find a way to make a play, meet at the quarterback. What are they expected to do, act like Mac and Tosh and argue over who gives the other the chance to go first? So they both hit Favre; and yes, it was illegal and should have been flagged (but it wasn’t, in karmic payback for the epically awful flag on McCray for a perfectly legal—and perfectly logical—hit on Favre earlier). This is what Allen calls “pretty vicious”? I remember at least one low hit Allen made on Brees in that game, but there was nothing vicious about it—just a guy trying to make a play. But then, he wasn’t playing for the Saints.
Has it come to this? Even when Allen speaks truth to power and says, “Let’s not pretend they’re making it safer for everybody,” he has to parrot the NFL line like he wants another cracker? You notice how the line has changed over time, haven’t you? It’s now, “Maybe the NFL has taken things too far, maybe they haven’t taken things far enough, but…” And that but always boils down to “the Saints still did it.”
And still, nobody has proven a thing. Or even defined what “it” is. I get the feeling this is never going away, not in my lifetime anyway.
In the meantime: Cam Newton is in the finals for the Madden cover. Let’s get this thing done, people!