Tag Archives: Zygi Wilf

NFL17: Adrian Peterson Pressing For Saint-hood On a 2d Miracle Comeback

27 Apr

Adrian Peterson v. Marshawn Lynch

If New Orleans Saints new superstar in Adrian Peterson can pull off yet another miracle comeback as he did in 2015 when, post-injury, he led the League in rush yards and the Vikes to an 11-5 mark, it won’t qualify him for sainthood by Vatican standards but it should help to return the NFL Saints back to contendership while exorcizing any demon that All-Day may’ve realized in last year’s physical and family troubles. “The power of Christ (and a Super Bowl ring) compels you!”

On Monday, Peterson inked a 2-yr, $7 million deal with the Saints (3.5M gtd (2.5b)) that has a potential to pay the future HOF’er $8M+ if incentives are met.

Adrian’s exit from Minnesota and subsequent sign with his former team’s 2010 NFCC opponent, ironic in that it was they (NO) who forced him into fumblitis (3) to stymie his one chance at Super trip, marks the end of an era for the franchise which is still seeking its first SB win in four tries and return trip to the Big Game since 1977 when Bud Grant strolled the frigid Metropolitan (MoA) sideline.

In Peterson’s ten seasons in the Land of 10.000 Lakes, missing almost two complete campaigns due to knee injuries, Purple made the playoffs four (4) times, getting as far as the NFCC once with Brett Favre under center, Adrian winning All-Pro honors four times and MVP (AP) in 2012.

The Vikings have some things to smile about on the departure of their franchise face: A glittering new stadium (US Bank), veteran, fairly savvy QB in Sam Bradford and a head coach in Mike Zimmer who has returned the Norseman to a semblance of defensive respectability (#3 yapg / #6 papg) that has only been seen sporadically since the Vikings glory days in the 70s.

But while their braintrust in GM Rick Spielman, owners Wilf (Zygi – Mark) and the coach may feel equal parts of gratitude and relief when the optioned-out Peterson turns topic, they’ve still got a major problem in matriculation (offense) that’s persisted since Favre’s exit, one which the Draft won’t resolve quickly.

The Saints, on the other hand, they matriculate just fine.

In final 2016 regular season ranks, New Orleans led all teams in yards gained per game (426), just ahead of NFC champion, Atlanta (416 (#2)), and flip it with their regional rival in the all important points scored per game category (#1 / 33.8), putting up on average 29+ per (#2) last year.

When you’ve got record-setter Drew Brees expertly manning the controls (2001), an ageless wonder who, like Tom Brady, looks to have some kind of a Dorian Gray thing going, sans the gruesome painting (See; O.Wilde), offense is rarely a problem. Those 1000 receivers can come in (Michael Thomas) and go out (Brandin Cooks (NE)) and Brees just keeps breezing along.

And even a quarterbacking-machine like Brees needs a break from the pressure now and then. And that’s the run game’s job, assuming the OL is doing theirs.

Besides relieving the signal-caller of certain stress, a good ground attack also helps keep the defense on its toes and guessing. New Orleans got that in 2016 from backfield tandem in Mark Ingram (5.1) and the since departed Tim Hightower (4.1 (SF)). And that’s where All-Day will come into play.

But it’s the defensive side, once a strong suit for the gold & black but now New Orleans’ mountain to conquer, that‘ll need most attention. Key defensive ranks in 2016: #27 in yards allowed per contest; #31 points per. The collapsing Falcons (See; SB51) better join that climbing team, too, or can forget winning, let alone getting back to the Big Game (#25 / 27).

— — —

With the Raiders recent acquisition of game-dormant but very visible running back Marshawn Lynch from the Seahawks for a 2018 draft swap (5R for 6R), there emerges a curious comparison to the Saints own Peterson pick-up.

Lynch sat out all of last season and played < half of 2015. It’s good to workout (ML passed his Oakland test), but that won’t replace game hits and habits. Like Adrian, Marsh is no spring chicken, having turned 31 last week (2007). In AARP years (1 NFL year = 5 AARP), both men would be eligible for benefits & discounts (Caution: Always find & read boilerplate before contracting). Unlike Adrian, Marshawn has a title ring, playing a small but key role in ‘Hawks SB48 win.

Where Peterson gets winning points is in his attitude.

Lynch promotes himself as a free-spirit, some might say a wingnut. That’s cute when times are good but when rough waters hit, it’s the kooks that tend to pout and withdraw inward, a bad character trait in the ups & downs of team sport. In addition, because of his extended absence from the NFL, one has to seriously question Marshawn’s level of commitment to the competition.

With Adrian commitment is never in question. Imbued with great determination, his drive for perfection is pronounced, maybe too much so at times, in himself and with those around him. Big question on Peterson is not whether there is still sufficient ‘gas in the tank’ but will the tires hold out (knees)? Like Lynch, AP has missed nearly two of the last three seasons and turned 32 in March.

Ingram (2011), who joined the 1000 rusher club in 2016, is expected to remain the #1 carrier in Sean Payton – Pete Carmichael’s scoring scheme. If Peterson can contribute 600 on the ground, 200 in the air and impart some of his 10 years of NFL experience to the up n‘ comers, GM Mickey Loomis will be pleased.

The Saints (7-9) were competitive down the stretch in 2016, going 3-3 with only the Detroit loss a poor show. Again, a serious reconfiguration of D-scheme is New Orleans’ key to success in 2017 (See; Atlanta), but a healthy and occasionally electric Adrian could give their offense that added pop to keep defenders, and then the whole Saints sideline, confident in a return to contendership.

Commentators in the Bayou and in the Saints’ circle of strategy are tempering expectations over the arrival of the rehabbed and rather aged Mr. Peterson. But his gangbusters style of run and Hall-of-Fame credentials will no doubt give Saints fans hope that Adrian has another miracle in his pocket, or in his legs, as it were. The man and his mission to make good will likely be in their prayers.

Steven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: NFL-wikiproject; A.Peterson, Arvee5.0, 1.28.12, wc.cca; D.Brees-Conways, USMC, E.Kirk-Cuomo, 11.2.9; M.Lynch, wc, 2.5.14, D.Sizer; Mosaic-Saint, Geolina, AachenCathedral, wc, Germany, 2011; J.Otto, Topps, 1970.
Posted: 4.27.17 @ 4:16pm; Copyright © 2017

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NFL16: No Herschel Heist (’89), But ‘Holy Crap,’ Vikes!

5 Sep

The Herschel Walker deal. If you followed NFL football 25 years ago you know what those words mean.

The Minnesota Vikings, specifically, their brain-trust of Mike Lynn (GM), head coach Jerry Burns and owner Max Winter, bet a good share of the fjord (farm) on the Dallas Cowboys All-Pro ball-carrier in hopes it would put ‘em over the top, i.e., get the Norsemen back on the Super stage.

The date: October 12, 1989.

The details: Vikings received former Heisman-winner Herschel Walker (UGA), who’d run wild in the defunct USFL (5562 (3)) and vacillated from exquisite to pedestrian in parts of four seasons with Dallas (3), plus four mid-round draftees (J. Reed). Cowboys got five Purple players and an armload of draft picks, most conditional but realized as three (3) 1Rs, three (3) 2Rs, a 3R and 6R., a pool from which toppers Alvin Harper, Darren Woodson and Emmitt Smith were had.

The general impression of the day? Lots o’ shock and a bit of awe.

..........Spielman.wc.8.4.14.M.Deery.wideMy personal take: Gilding the lily or, in those famous words of Elizabethan penmeister Edward de Vere (Shake-a-Spear), the Norsemen were “add(ing) another hue unto the rainbow (King John (1590s)).”

Talented Vikes had been knocking on the door the season prior, making NFCC and taking eventual winner DC down to the wire, unable to punch it in as final seconds ticked off. Darrin Nelson was their top ground-man (6-800 / 4.5+ per) and had a fine QB in Wade Wilson, a stout line (Zimmerman, Lowdermilk & Irwin), All-Pro TE Steve Jordan and all-everything in Anthony Carter. D wasn’t too shabby either with padded-up Pro Joey Browner in the secondary, Studwell & Solomon in the middle and pass-rush ruffians Chris Doleman and Keith Millard.

Pretty nice “rainbow.”

The result: Herschel was competent in his 2.75 years in purple (4.1 (3.2 PS (89))), but then so was Nelson. Some say he wasn’t employed properly. And that’d be balderdash. Imagine Gale Sayers, Chuck Foreman or Jerome Bettis failing to be used properly. Not possible. Hersch was rated the same (1514 (‘88)). When the handwriting was on the wall, Walker ran like he’d hit that wall and showed no interest in scaling it, not in Minneapolis.

Dallas parlayed 3-4 of Minnesota’s umpteen players & picks into key contributors to three Super Bowl wins in the 90s. Good but not a great result, and even then could’ve just as easily produced nothing of serious value.

..........Walker.5.14.10.wc.USArmy.J.VannucciDrafts are always a dice roll, regardless of research and pre-draft hype. Just as often as not, no matter the # of selections, any draft can be a bust, resulting in few or no long-term player benefits for the club.

More than the benefits Dallas received from Minnesota’s largesse, due in credit to the Cowboys and luck, it was the high expectations for Walker, poured by Jones and guzzled up by Minnesota dealers, that went unfulfilled and borne by the Vikings, which constitutes the crux of this historical trade.

And that’s the backdrop for what transpired last week on the NFL wheeler-dealer front, to offer some perspective on Saturday’s surprising Sam Bradford deal engineered between the Vikings current brain-trust in Rick Spielman (GM), Mike Zimmer (HC) and owner Zygi Wilf, and the Eagles inner-circle of Howie Roseman (GM), head coach Doug Pederson and their owner Jeff Lurie.

You can’t say Philly got a Herschel haul like Dallas did, getting two draft picks and cash (1R (‘17) + 4R (18) + $7M ($18M)), or that Minnesota mortgaged their future on the 6th-year signal-caller from OKC, (b.1987) as they did in 1989. But to those fans with a long memory, the vibrations that emanate from this present song will strike familiar flat notes with the former ditty of disaster.

.........Bradford.wc.USEmbassyLondon.thm.10.23.12Sam’s got real upside, there’s no doubt about that.

He’s a quality pocket-passer in his prime, more NFL vetted than was Walker. When healthy, he averages 3500+ pass, C% 60+ and a 20-13 TD-ratio. Not elite #s but solid, enough to help get one to the Conference title.

Bradford’s downside is that he’s injury-prone, beginning at close of his college days in Norman (UO) and a state which has subtracted time from two of his five pro campaigns (2010 / ‘13). One more concern not so easily quantified as injury debits and TD credits is Sam’s leadership level, more specifically, clutch capability. A question (?) mark.

Most perplexing and vexing about Minnesota’s adding Bradford, as too in the Walker case, is its arguable non-necessity. No gilding the lily here but the need is questionable because the quarterback spot appeared already well in-hand with veteran field general Shaun Hill’s patient presence on Vikings’ roster.

Some media report that Hill has been penciled-in as Vikings’ Week 1 starter.

The 10-year QB who’s been clip-boarding and offering insights to the project that has proven to be TD-challenged Ted Bridgewater, had been prepared for just such a circumstance yet couldn‘t have expected he’d be used merely as a bridge-QB, to bide time for a newly signed rosteree in Bradford to get acclimated.

.........Hill.wc.10.4.15.J.Beall.738kLoyalty is no favored virtue today, neither is composure (v. panic), but Hill under center gave Minnesota an experienced, proven presence in what could be Adrian Peterson‘s swan song in Land of 10,000 Lakes.

When given the opportunity, Shaun Hill has proven a quite capable matriculator.

The Maryland Terrapin began in brief with the Vikes in 2005, then moved to San Fran. As a starter for parts of 3 seasons he compiled what could be called an impressive rookie record in W-L (10-6), C% 62+, TD-ratio (23-11) and pass (3400+). That was a 49ers club that, like this current Minnesota group, was building to contendership (Singletary to Harbaugh) while his next stop was in Detroit which hasn’t had an NFL title since Bobby Layne.

As to Mr. Bridgewater, sidelined for the 2016 season with an ACL tear, he’s gotta’ be scratching his head as well.

It’s one thing to have your back-up fill the breach when you go down but to bring in a hired-gun still in prime, that can change the 2017 dynamic drastically, depending on the Vikes 2016 and if Ted returns in-tact, not unlikely given the wonders worked by today’s surgeons (See; All-Day (ACL)).

......Bridgewater.8.4.14.wc.M.Deery.6.5mCommentators must remember to tailor their views in knowledge they are not often privy to all facts and devilish details which imbue these sort of deals (moi). But as that wise Assyrian named Ahikar wrote many centuries ago, ‘a sparrow in thy hand is better than a thousand sparrows flying (Wikipedia)’ or an Eagle who went 7-7 (25-37) with 14 INTs. Put another way, ‘If it works, don’t fix it,’ Mr. Spielman.

If this deal proves a win-win for both teams, that’s just terrific. God knows Philly and Minnesota could use some good fortune.

While Eagles roll the dice in going all-in on rookie Carson Wentz who’s cut his QB-teeth on FCS competition (NDSU), then enticed Vikings to bite by assuming lion’s share of Bradford’s 2016 pay ($11M ($18M)), it’s the Purple who engage a slightly more risky game of chance in the Bradford deal in betting multiple top draft picks in apparent pass on a ready n’ able substitute in Mr. Hill.

Curses don’t exist except in minds of the malleable. The many misfortunes borne by NFL’s Minnesota franchise come not from boogie-men and demonic spells, nor a lack of generally wise management (2009 pick-up of Brett Favre, while costly in salary, proved sage (NFCC10), for a season, anyway), but instead from the lack of two All-Pro virtues: Patience and trust.

Of course, knowing when to make “adjustments (SB4)” and employing the art of tackling (NFCC 1999, ‘01) rank pretty high on that list, too.

......NFL-symbol.wikiproject.6kbSteven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: Vikings, wc.cca, wordmark, 2004; R.Spielman, wc, M.Deery, 8.4.14; H.Walker, wc, USArmy, 5.14.10, J.Vannucci; H.Walker, RepPeterson, wc, 5.5.4, wc, PE4Life; Viktor, wc, M.Mekuk, 11.7.10, MN-NG; S.Bradford, wc, 10.23.12, USEmbassyLondon; S.Hill, wc, 10.4.15, J.Beall;
Posted: 9.5.16 @ 2:32am EST; Copyright © 2016

NFL16: Uff Da! Vikings Have ‘Miles to Go’ in Frosty North

4 Aug

Home Sweet Home

There’s nothing like getting new digs.

As school gets under way across America, that’s just what alot of folks are doing before the rains come and the snow flies.

It’s alot of work getting settled in but once you unpack, make the connections, fill in the familiarities it’ll feel like home again. Course, it’s a little different for renters (moi): Fewer commitments but sometimes more surprises.

“Chris Stevens” explored the topic in Northern Exposure: There are two kinds of people, he said, “owners” and “renters.” The “Morning” man came into a small inheritance and tried the proprietor thing for a spell to help a friend (“Holling”) but soon discovered such was not the life for him. He bailed on the venture and let Vincoeur keep the stake. A truly inspirational TV show if there ever was one.

.........Favre.11.15.09.wc.1.2m.NG.MNThat vision on people aught not to be confused with the “Blondie” version (The Good the Bad and the Ugly): “There two kinds of people, my friend (“Tuco”), those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig.” But I digress.

The Minnesota Vikings have new digs.

US Bank Stadium is built. It’s big, bodacious, glassy, steely and it recently held a 2-day grand opening for the public (7.23-24). Uff da! That’s Norwegian for booyah or wow!

Nixing a return to open-air design of Black n’ Blue rivals Green Bay (Lambeau), Chicago (Soldiers) and their own Metropolitan (d.1981) that saw so many wins in the 60s & 70s when Bud Grant’s teams were undisputed rulers of the Northwest Territory, the powers instead chose a fixed-roof (Ford) in an abstract expression that’ll keep bodies cozy and revenue rolling in (SB52).

I know what you’re thinking, are the Wilfs (Zygi) renters or owners of this brand spankin’ new stadium? Sure you are.

Though team owners and other investors covered 52% (+/-) of construction cost while tax dollars from State residents and Minneapolis visitors (“hospitality tax”) pick up the rest of the tab (48%), more or less, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, a body created by State legislature and comprised of government-selected membership will own, “control and operate (SMG)” the whole kit n’ kaboodle (Wikipedia). Purr-fect.

.........USBankStdm.wc.7.24.16.Darb02.2mNo longer laughing stock of the League as when the having-let-fall-into-disrepair Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome (1982-14) roof collapsed on Vikings’ sad 2010 season (HHH’s memory deserved better), then relegated to semi-welcome guests at TCF Bank the last two seasons as University Regents pitched a PC fit right on cue when Purple hosted the Washington R-Words…oh, wait, aboriginal Americans are fine with the name (“9 of 10”), Redskins, the reigning NFCN champs (11-5) are ready n’ willing to make this season the start of a new era of championship play.

Question is, are these 2016 Norsemen able…to fulfill that mission?

They may have a ways “to go” before forging a destiny and own even their North division, one the Pack dominated for most of these past 25 years beginning with Hall of Fame inductee (8.6) and former Viking, Brett Favre’s GB tenure (‘92), and then which the Vikes had owned for most of 70s (Grant) and 80s (Burns).

Black & Blue Betters

No surprise then that NFL schedulers picked Vikings’ arch-nemesis the Packers to do the honors of helping break-the-seal on the new USB (interface) Stadium in W2 action (9.18) after the Minnesotans return from Tennessee (Pack @ Jax) to open divisional play and begin the trek to SB51 in Houston (2.7.17).

No surprise either that both Minny & Heebie-GB were saddled with juggernaut-caliber schedules, or, as our friends the Brits will soon be pouring into the frothy football colloquy, ‘That‘s one bloody tough sed-jewel, mate!’ I look forward.

........Rodgers.wc.cca.M.Morbeck.12.7.8.73kIt’ll be a good early test for both Northern toppers. And the Bears and Lions, like the quick-learner said, ‘fool me once, shame on you, fool me (10x), shame on (my sorry ass).’ Two tougher customers with zip you won’t find than Misters Cutler & Stafford but “forget about it.”

Pack hopes to right the ship after earlier-than-expected PS exit (@ AZ), due to an atypical middling offense (#23 ygpg / 15 pspg) led by Mr. Matriculator Aaron Rodgers who suddenly looked average, missing, maybe too much, his GTG in Jordy Nelson, along with the typical (since LeRoy Butler retired) just-good-enough D that ranked in middle-of-the-NFL-pack, again (#15 yapg / 21 papg).

For the host team, of primary importance is re-establishing divisional dominance not held since 2009-10 season when Brad Childress and All-Pros Jared Allen, Adrian Peterson & Favre, who gets Cantonized (OH) on Saturday and whose NFL story contains a brief but memorable closing chapter written in purple ink, bested their regional rival in both meetings leaving no doubt on top dog.

And that’s just what any aspirant need do if seeking to unseat a sitting juggernaut like Green Bay, New England or Pittsburgh. Winning ain’t enough and it certainly ain’t everything, “Steve (J.Wayne).” Eking out a win by a field goal won’t cut it, not as the competition stiffens, meaning, even had Blair Walsh not hooked it to close out a playoff loss (SEA), Vikes short-comings were sure to roost in what‘s become a snake-pit NFCC setting (’98 / ‘10) for the Minnesotans.

Minnesota’s road to titletown must go through…Titletown, whether in Brown County (WI) or the traveling version come to pay respects at USB.

........Zimmer.9.20.14.1m.wc.MN-NGThink GB’s offense was near-anemic in 2015? Purple people came in just under green & yellow in points scored per game (#16) and a pathetic 29th in yards gained. It was of course the defense that made Vikes playoff contenders, ranking #13 in yards allowed per (344.2), just 4y behind #10 Tampa, and a stellar #5 spot in points allowed (18.9), besting NFC winners Carolina (19.2) and a mere four-tenths (0.4) behind eventual Super champs, Denver.

If you follow pro ball you know the NFL’s a quarterback League. Field generals need not pile numbers like Misters Moon, Brady or Favre but he’d better enjoy airing-it-out as habit to build leads and be Eveready® to claim it back when behind, willing to take reasonable risks, i.e. eye for threading needles, or your team will too often have to rely on the foot of a kicker, a key cog but which is no good way to blueprint a championship run.

The names Trent Dilfer, Brad Johnson, Doug Williams and Jeff Hostetler don’t conger up images of bronze busts, not so far, but they’re all deserving champions who had the physical ability and collective wherewithal to put up big numbers in big games when it mattered most.

And ‘where’ exactly Vikings’ Teddy Bridgewater will end up and ‘with’ whom when his story is written, only the Sporting Gods know for sure.

Bridge Work Ahead

The second of Vikes two 1st rounders in 2014 (32) (Bruin backer and 2015 Pro Bowl selectee Tony Barr #9), QB Bridgewater (LOU), pegged by head coach Mike Zimmer and OC Norv Turner to lead Minnesota to the promised land, appears still seated firmly at the drafting board as yet unable to translate that blueprint into an easy on-field matriculatory style and scoring scheme.

......Bridgewater.8.4.14.wc.M.Deery.6.5mTeddy, a Pro Bowl selectee himself (Who wasn’t? Oh right, “Johnny Red-Flag”), TB sports a fine career C% (65) and keeps the picks to an acceptable quantity, averaging just over ten each campaign.

But when you won’t venture forth, take calculated risks, your picks can remain few. You gotta throw ‘em to make ‘em (TDs). The Miami native throws about as many TDs (28) as INTs (21) and the sticky-gloves aren’t helping much (8f ‘15). In his one playoff appearance last January versus the Seahawks, Ted again had that nice C% (71%) but only threw for 146y and zero (0) TDs.

Safe & simple won’t get ‘er done in the elite class of competition. I put Ted (5 (1-10)) just a notch below Mr. Mariota (5.5) and the set-for-life ($$) Mr. Osweiler (6 (HOU)) in the PPP assessment: Pro potentiality and progression.

Again, I know what you’re thinking (It’s the ginkgo biloba): ‘Hey, AOTC, TB’s receiver crew was definitely not too awesome in 2015. That will change in 2016. With 1st-rounder (23) Laquon Treadwell (Ole Miss) a deep threat, Stefon Diggs (2y) taking the next level, Kyle Rudolph (TE) present n’ accounted for and Jarius Wright filling the slot, the Bridge is gonna’ start extending the field, dude!’

Maybe, but a so-so receiver corps is no good excuse for mediocre matriculate.

Top QBs, even the younger version (Luck / Wilson / Winston), make players around them better. It’s why the Nelson void does not entirely explain the Rodgers downturn in 2015. You’ve gotta’ challenge your receivers, yourself and set the bar higher, encouraging coaches to show faith and communicate (listen) all along the way. On a different team, Mr. Gronkowski is good but I doubt he‘s gronksome minus Tom Brady.

.......Peterson.1.28.12.wc.Arvee5.0.309kWith Nick Foles now in Chiefs’ fold, I say is it’s a damn shame a very capable, proven matriculator like veteran Shaun Hill who could teach a thing or two by example and was still rostered at this posting, must sit idle, only getting a start if someone goes down with injury.

And then there’s the indomitable Adrian Peterson.

All-Day had a terrific comeback season, leading NFL with 1485 yards (92.8) after sitting most of 2014 on susp’n. In 2016 he enters his 10th run. Gas left in the tank? Good guess says, yes. But big-time backs don’t often carry clubs to titles, not since John “loosen up” Riggins, Joe Morris, Ottis Anderson & Jamal Lewis were carrying the loads with capable QBs under center.

When the Vikes can turn one of those 4-team division title trophies into genuine, jewel-encrusted NFC Halas hardware and trip-to-the-Super-Bowl titles (‘77), I’ll sit up and take note. Hell, if Purple just get to an NFCC more than once a decade (98 / 10) the new digs will be worth it, even if monster trucks are the top tenant.

......NFL-symbol.wikiproject.6kbSteven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: Viktor-Spc.M.Mecuk, wc.cca, 11.7.10, MN-NG; B.Favre, 11.15.9, wc, MN-NG; USBankStdm, wc, Darb02, 7.24.16; A.Rodgers, wc, 12.7.8, M.Morbeck; M.Zimmer, wc, 9.20.14, MN-NG; T.Bridgewater, wc, 8.4.14, M.Deery; A.Peterson, wc, 1.28.12, Arvee5.0; NFL-symbol, wikiproject
Posted: 8.4.16 @ 4:45pm, edit @ 11:15 EST; Copyright © 2016

NFL16: Red-Doggin’ the Media’s Roger Goodell Ruse

1 Aug

Ensconced in Boom

He’s become the whipping-boy of nearly every online editor & scribe in the land, a terrain now populated with more apps, acronyms (sabrmetrics), video & mock drafts than you can shake a latté stir-stick at, or, put another way, than there are sleazy storylines in a Taboola – Outbrain booby box that blight the bottom of every endless page.

Who‘s the poor chap? NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, that’s who.

With the 2016-17 kickoff slated for early September (9.8), matching February finalists Carolina and Denver, the Jamestown, New York native and Paul Tagliabue successor (‘06) will embark on his 2nd decade at the helm of America’s most popular & profitable wingding value (1920), not including vacation – conference destinations (Las Vegas / Chicago) and gastro-addictions (sugar).

.........Clifford.reddog.4.1.6.DoD.thm.wcAnyone who fancies him / herself to be that hip, happening kinda’ sportswriter, the one who loathes greedy owners but imagines a special kinship with the jocks as if in another life they’re more likely to be a 1st-round draft choice slingin’ TDs than hangin’ out on the yacht with the blue bloods, rags on Roger with a regularity rivaling today’s Pavlovian hand-held habits.

Which is funny because most of the higher paid scribes in pursuit of that journalism B.A. probably pledged on the same Greek row as did most of those money-maniacal NFL owners. Oh well, who’s always consistent anyway?

When that idea well runs dry, when you’ve already posted your position and all-time greatest rankings for the week or when you just want to release some pent-up frustration, not to worry, there’s always good ol’ smiling Roger Goodell to “kick around” in your column.

So why all the hate for just another rich guy, one of the 2% who run the world and keep us gerbils running on that consumer treadmill?

Maybe because Roger’s standing in the way, i.e., the friends (RG) of my enemies (Snyder) are my enemies, you might say.

Most of the griping on Goodell, which invariably leads to the feeble claim his job is in jeopardy and what a fine replacement so-n-so would make, is illusory, likely a ruse to cover the real purpose: Get a new Commissioner, check-mate Dan Snyder and get his beloved Redskins motif bounced outta’ the League.

A kooky call? The best heist is always an inside job.

Business As Usual

Nobody really expected that the NFL would make a determination on whether or not Peyton Manning actually used PEDs that were reported last fall to have been subject of a home delivered parcel to his wife Ashley a few years back.

.........Manning.wc.thm.3.1.13.Sgt.B.Peterson.USO.USMCUnless the lordly one had been giving blood samples in a testing protocol at the time of the package’s believed arrival (nyet) and that every molecule of said PED supply was tagged, tracked and accounted for, there was no possible way for any inquiry to make a sustainable determination, fact finding or certain conclusion on whether Pey-Dirt did or did not in fact partake in the prohibited performance enhancers his wife was reported to have received by mail.

That the Manning household did or did not receive the package in question was easy enough to establish by parcel company records which questioning (under oath?) could verify. But the usage question, i.e., who, how much and when, if such package was accepted, would necessarily remain open-ended, a dark cloud hanging overhead the SB50’s winning QB.

So when the League released statement earlier this week (7.27) clearing Peyton, claiming to’ve concluded, found that Manning did not use subject PEDs, it threw most of us for a loss, throwing a flag on the play.

On that day Roger finally does hang up his Commissioner’s key, this funny finding will rank near the top as one of his poorest calls and should rightly earn him a small, swift kick in the shin (figuratively speaking) like the one little Kurt Russell gave Elvis Presley (It Happened At the World’s Fair (‘63)). Ouch!

.......package.emojione.12.21.15.wc.thmThe special handling shown Peyton, Broncos & GM John ‘I ain’t playing in Baltimore’ Elway and the League (SB validation), in opposite of a just but max penalty meted-out in Deflategate, smacks of favoritism, standard dilution and no small amount of arrogance for thinking fans would swallow the ‘strange brew.’

Should this awkward result and curious Commissioning work a black mark on Goodell‘s record? As it would’ve been nearly impossible, were Peyton to have in fact engaged the suspected PED supply, that any evidence of their use could’ve been obtained (short of a Manning admission), NFL’s silly extension of that state to a finding of innocence speaks more to misguided policy than corruption. If we fired everyone for making a bad call, 90% of the nation’s jobs would come open within the week.

65 Clifford Red Dog Trap

Because last May’s Washington Post poll (90% of aboriginal Americans are not offended by Redskins’ motif, < 10% answered yes) has not swayed the bully bunch to the side of public opinion, even as that revelation makes any sort of vote seem likely to just amplify its findings, and then that the legal process can only end up in one place (SC) where its current moderate but conservative-leaning majority bodes well for Dan Snyder’s embattled trademark, it’s now imperative for the anti-Redskins side to create a turnover.

When the PC playbook flops (nobody likes a bully) what’s the Coach to do? Call the old red dog (blitz), that’s what, and take out the QB. Hello, Roger.

.......Clifford.reddog.wc.WH-L.Bush.4.9.7.S.Craighead.thmThe media mantra to oust Goodell actually began taking discernable shape in 2012 (See; Nike NFL) and might just be masquerading under a different banner as another ‘means to an end’ to get that Redskins logo retired.

Readers might say (I‘m an optimist), ‘Stevo, c’mon, remember Bountygate, the Rice – Palmer incident and Deflategate? Those are the reasons why Roger Goodell is in bad with most everybody.’ Wrong.

I remember the 2010 NFCC, subject for Bountygate. Still cringe at the over-unders Saints defenders laid on Brett Favre, the most exciting QB since Namath & Staubach laced ‘em up, the 2d ambush perpetrated post-Warner the week prior. In truth, most ‘everybody’ was fine with the bans Goodell handed those sorry Saints in question, excepting the homers and a federal jurist, of course.

The knockout punch Rice put on fiancée Palmer in 2014, it’s etched in the mind, thanks to the sleazoids at TMZ whose video drop inflamed the story to a state where Roger, who hit no one, took more flak than the crook. And while I’m on the topic, why does SAS’y still have his job (“don’t provoke”)? Right, it’s Disney.

And if there was an 11th Commandment it could’ve read like this: Thou shalt not impede an on-going investigation, even if thy sandals hurt or the sheep & sand are driving you crazy. Tom Terrific destroyed his cell phone in the Deflategate audit. Not so terrific. Penalty fits the misdeed. Besides, real Pats fans aren’t losing sleep. They know Tom benefits from the extended R&R (18y).

.......Silver.11.21.14.K.Allison.wc.thmbThe dubious effort to remove Roger stands about as much chance of success as the Vikings’ new US Bank Stadium does of going the entire 2016-17 season without a glitch. Why make the lines simple and construction cool (outdoors) when you can complicate it and beg for problems? Ask the rich guy (Zygi Wilf).

One can’t really think a Commissioner should be treasured anyway, unless one has just ‘fallen off’ that proverbial ‘turnip truck,’ or favors an asylum, so to speak, one that’s run by the trustees (players).

As for the NBA Commissioner, the standard is gold, not Silver.

Ousting an owner in dementia (Sterling) whose babble is secretly taped in-home and moving an All Star game that pulls in about as many viewers as Lone Ranger re-runs from a State whose political majority has gone “extreme,” well, those aren’t exactly tough calls. Add in what appears a lack of concern over the dicey co-mingle of sport & gambling and you’ve got nearly no standard at all.

Back to Roger.

They don’t pay the man enough. Big money must be great ($40M) but you can’t take it with you. Oxidative stress is America’s #1 health concern.

Other jobs are stressful but even the President of the United States, with all the important hats the Chief Executive must wear, does not suffer the vilification from press and army of anonymous trolls as does this Commissioner.

But Raja’s got some backers:

......Nooyi.wc.1.23.8.thm.Davos.WEF1) Owners: Roger’s been so good for the Big Wheels, growing buyers & revenue sources, that he’s moved into Rozelle territory, the man who made the NFL America’s #2 religion and the only one showing a growth spurt;

2) Fans: Put aside grudge-holders (NE, NO, etc.) and online nasty-boys and 9 of 10 fans (all genders) are practically jumping outta’ their skin for September kickoff. That’s called customer satisfaction;

3) Sponsors: Their resilience in face of anti-Redskins flash-mob has been nothing short of amazing. Usually as skittish as a major sportswriter, the Suits & Skirts (Indra Nooyi (PepsiCo)) have backed Dan & Roger to the goal-line, show no sign of buckling and have absolutely no interest in validating a racist logo.

And the players, their opinion on Goodell will turn on who asks the question, how it’s framed, respondent’s length of NFL tenure and assurance of anonymity.

NFLPA members are naturally suspicious of those sitting across the table in CBA negotiation. But they’re no dummies and make their choices, i.e., assumption of risk (concussion) for big benefits incurred. Most appreciate the challenges RG faces in his many duties, including DD greeter and disciplinarian who must enforce rules to ensure NFL viability and their own job success as rosterees.

The red-dog tactic will not take down Roger Goodell. He’s got a stout offensive line and even with a furious on-rush he won’t rabbit. No run-QB, Goodell’s a mobile-manager who matriculates with the best of ‘em and likely will remain under center, suffering the “slings and arrows” of a petulant and perfidious press as long as he enjoys suiting up for the action.

......NFL-symbol.wikiproject.6kbSteven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo Credit: R.Goodell, wc.cca, 8.30.12, SSG-T.Wade, USMA; Clifford-RedDog, wc.cca, 4.1.6, DoD; P.Manning, USO-USMC, wc.cca, 3.1.13, Sgt-B.Peterson; package, emojione-project, wc.cca, 12.21.15; Clifford-RedDog, WH-L.Bush, 4.9.7, S.Craighead; A.Silver, wc.cca, 11.21.14, K.Allison; I.Nooyi, wc.cca, PepsiCo, 1.23.8, Davos, WEF; NFL-Wikiproject.
Posted: 8.1.16 @ 10:53am, edit @ 4:45 EST; Copyright © 2016

Can Peterson to Dallas Square the Walker Score?

27 Apr

If the phrase ‘blockbuster trade’ had not yet been coined, this deal was sure to get it minted fast. It was a real doozie.

The NFL had never seen a two-team swap quite like it, before or since.

About a quarter into the 1989 NFL season, the Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys reached agreement for what has remained the biggest exchange of players & picks in the League’s long history.

...........Jones.wc.8.30.8.suzismini.thmb

When the documents had cleared NFL scrutiny, Dallas would receive 5 players and 8 draft picks that included three, 1st and 2nd rounders. Vikings took 4 draft choices (two 3rd rounders) and one player who was considered the deal’s prize catch in star ball-carrier and 2-time All-Pro, Herschel Walker.

And the result?

Prevailing view has been that Dallas got the better end of the deal while Vikes, in the words of Marilyn, got the “fuzzy end of the lollipop (Some Like It Hot (’59)).”

That view stems from how Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and head coach Jimmy Johnson turned their wealth of draft selections into gold, key elements of a 90s Texas Renaissance and championship run of three Super Bowl wins in four seasons (’93-94, ‘96).

...........Walker.RepPeterson.wc.5.5.4.USGov.PE4Life

Minnesota on the other hand got a mere 2.5 years out of Walker and no trip back to the Super Bowl as they’d hoped in banking their future on the former Heisman winner and two-time All-Pro (DAL), believing him the final piece to their Super puzzle.

It should be noted the Vikings did get good value from one of their draft picks in wide receiver Jake Reed who would remain with Minnesota throughout the 90s (’91-02 / 6999y / 36td).

Why Herschel under-achieved in Minnesota was debated long & hard.

Some blame Vikings staffers for failing to properly tailor offensive scheme to suit their star, while others believe Herschel himself refused to adapt to game plans and blocking designs, stubbornly sticking to his powerful but straight-ahead run style. Still others claimed the highly touted star was simply over-rated as a pro.

..........Vikings.wordmark.wc.1982-03.thm

My own memories of the closing act in Walker’s tenure were not pleasant as I witnessed a man, understandably frustrated at his lack of success in Minnesota while his former team blossomed, that seemed less motivated as the end neared.

Not much dispute on how Dallas amalgamated enough picks into success (trade players were marginal). The disagreement arises as to the degree of assistance Minnesota’s generousness provided to shaping Cowboys Super results.

Draftees Emmitt Smith, Darren Woodson and Alvin Harper were key players in Cowboys rise and a direct result of the choices afforded Dallas by the mega-deal. A problem arises when some extend believed benefits to include draft acquisitions more indirectly connected and further removed from the MIN deal.

.........CowboysHelmet.wc.5.16.8.DukeHa.thmb

That’s the history.

Today, Vikings and Cowboys seem well situated to forge yet another titanesque deal. The respective assets and needs are strikingly similar to 1989 but the roles reversed, cleats on the other feet, so to speak.

This time it’s Minnesota who is rebuilding and holds most the cards in this high stakes game of Texas hold ‘em. Adrian Peterson is still under contract to the Vikes who, if willing to part with their once-in-a-generation running back, could use the plethora of picks gotten in his transfer, the quantity necessary to land those draft gems (See; Dallas ‘89)).

As for Dallas, like Vikings in ‘89, they’re seemingly one man short in the motor pool in dire need of that top-flight carrier to ride to titletown, now that big yardage amasser DeMarco Murray has flown the coop (1845y / to PHI).

.........Peterson.1.28.12.wc.Arvee5.0.thm

One thing’s for certain, and that’s that Jones will not give up scads of draft choices that the Vikes conceded to get Herschel, though, one could argue, this go round it might make more sense, given the 2012 MVP’s credentials.

But AP turned 30 in March (Herschel was 27), having been recently removed from the Commissioner’s exempt list and set to begin his 9th campaign. Sitting out most of the 2014 season (1g) when suspn’d in a criminal domestic child abuse (discipline) matter, it’s fair to characterize the upcoming 2015 NFL season as his eight.

And that legal matter gives Peterson some PR baggage Walker did not carry. But then rage-a-holic Greg Hardy, freed but not “cleared (“Hardy‘s” / P.King / 4.23), needs a U-Haul® to lug all his baggage and Mr. Jones was receptive to his story & hire, so there’s that.

In allowing Murray to depart, one could speculate that Jones did so because he hoped to have an ample replacement in Peterson to fill the sizable void left by DeMarco who literally carried Dallas to the post-season in 2015.

........AT&T.Dallas.9.23.12.wc.Mahanga.thmb

The respective salary caps, relevant contractual terms and personal preferences of the parties will control on the Peterson issue. They always do.

Jones is a strange bird these days, having gone from builder of champions to America’s most hawkish rental agent (AT&T). Former Dallas QB Babe Laufenberg has been quoted as saying that if Jerry seriously wants a player on roster, he’ll find a way to make it happen. And if he doesn’t, he won’t (See: Murray)).

How much, if at all, does Jones want the Palestine, Texas native to be in Cowboys garb? If yes he’s not alone as Minnesota owner Zygi Wilf should certainly want Adrian back in purple for a team starving of stars and a community set to welcome back its tarnished hero to start anew and ‘come in from the cold.’

........Peterson.10.24.10.wc.M.Morbeck.thm.full

Minnesota has the upper hand, Adrian’s baggage & all. They need not negotiate with urgency. Whereas, their Southwestern trading partners are in bit of a pickle. Oft-inured Tony Romo’s not getting any younger and with a QB market fast filling with collegiate single-wing tail-backs (flash QB), their window of opportunity is closing fast.

If I’m a Cowboys fan I’m telling the owner: ‘It’s time to roll the dice, make a deal and get ‘er done, Big Hombre.’ Twenty years for America‘s Team to sit at home during the biggest shindig on the planet is quite a dry spell, even as Cowboys, Inc. makes mucho moolah.

Sticking to steers (players & picks) and tabling other considerations, including unlikely conditions-attached, this is what it might take from Jones to get ‘All-Day’ in Big D: one 1st-rounder, two 2nds (a key), two mid-to-late rangers and two proven players, including a capable running back for the Vikings. That would fill the bill and go a ways in starting to square things on Vikings painful past.

.......NFL.wikiproject.6kb

If a Peterson deal gets done between these North – South stanchions of football, Dallas will distinguish the past while Minnesota will make comparison and hope history repeats. In any case, whether it’s back to the Land of 10,000 Lakes or starting fresh in the Lone Star State, Adrian Peterson will shine wherever he settles.

Steven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credits: A.Peterson, wc.cca, J.Bielawa, 9.21.13; J.Jones, wc, suzismini, 8.30.08; H.Walker-Rep.Peterson, 5.5.04, wc, USGov, PE4Life; Vikings-wordmark, wc, 1982-03; Cowboys.helmet, wc, 5.16.08, DukeHa; A.Peterson, 1.28.12, wc, Arvee5.0; AT&T.Dallas, 9.23.12, wc, Mahanga; A.Peterson, wc, 10.24.10, M.Morbeck; NFL-Wikiproject.
Posted: 4.26.15 @ 11:52pm; edit 4.27 @ 1:56am, 12:36pm EST