The SPORTS PHILOSOPHER Says: “Hail To The Vikings!”

January 2, 2011
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      I’m about to do something I never thought I could do, much less would do.   

      I am about to tender you good people a whole column dedicated to heaping praise directly upon….I can’t believe this….the Minnesota Vikings.   With Viking purple and all.


      That was harder than I thought.   Ya gotta understand, I hate the Minnesota Vikings.   I always have.   They are the luckiest, most annoying football team of all time, not to mention the arch-enemy of my beloved Chicago Bears.   For me they represent everything that is negative and irritating about the Human Race and, well, existence itself.    Me praising the Vikings is something akin to me writing a column extolling the virtues of heavy metal music, or worse yet, rap music, or praising the technical and literary brilliance of a moist-thigh “romance” novel, its like me going to church (which is bad enough) and then swearing upon the altar of God that I am going to dedicate my life to going from town to town preaching the Gospel of Reality TV, right along with buying myself a lifetime season ticket to the studio audience of The Bachelor, heck, you could have asked any of my friends or family last week and they would have told you that me writing a column praising and in fact celebrating the Minnesota Vikings was about as likely as me spending a weekend at a Bed & Breakfast in Saudi Arabia in July, in company with Alex Rodriguez, Hitler, Randy Moss, Dr. Phil, Mark David Chapman, my dad’s ex-wife, Bud Selig, every ex-girlfriend who ever treated me badly, Pete Rose, Sarah Palin, Stalin, Son of Sam, and Scott Spiezio, and then me picking up the entire tab….


EVER a team had every reason to fold its tent and mail it in, it was the Vikings last Tuesday.

      Get it?

      But yet here we are.   Here goes: Bravo, Vikings, bravo!   You won me over last Tuesday night.  

      The Vikings beat the Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday 24 to 14.   A two-touchdown underdog spanking an arrogant, over-confident favorite on national TV.   It was great.   Even greater is that by losing, the Eagles allowed my Bears to clinch the #2-seed and a 1st-round bye in the upcoming National Football Conference playoffs, which of course I truly appreciate.   And so I say thank you, Norsemen, thank you.

      But even all that would not have been worthy of a column praising them.   At least not by me.

      For this is a philosophy column.   Its Sports Philosopher, not sports writer or sports reporter or sports junkie or sports hack.   Therefore there has to be a transcendent message imbrued into every column; maybe something philosophical, maybe something political, or historical, usually lyrical, perhaps metaphorical, certainly something entertaining and, if possible, useful.   We are using Sports in this space as a way to better view and better deal with the World at large.   At least that’s what I’m trying to do.    

      To wit: We can all learn from and apply what the Vikings taught us last Tuesday evening.   The Vikings taught us that when the chips are down, when everything is going against you, when you’re banged up and broken down and not feeling your best, when you have nothing to gain, nothing to play for, nothing at stake except your own self-respect and all you want to do is go find a warm quiet place where you can just lay down and die, you still need to get up, go to work, go to school, go into your office by yourself if needs be and take a deep breath and then do your job to the best of your ability, if for no other reason than to ensure that when you wake up in the morning and look into the bathroom mirror you aren’t repulsed by who is looking back.   This is what I, for one, am going to tell my son….

      The Vikings had nothing to play for last Tuesday.   They were eliminated from playoff contention long ago.   They were 1,200 miles from home, trapped by weather and circumstance in a hotel for three extra days, about to play a football game against a highly motivated and much better team and would be forced to play that superior team without the services of their star quarterback, and in fact the Vikes would be playing this game without even their 2nd-string quarterback but rather with just their 3rd-string quarterback, a nice young chap who had never before started a single NFL game.

      And that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

      For perhaps no team in Sports history has ever, ever, endured as much mass adversity and plain ol’ bad luck as the 2010 Minnesota Vikings.   It’s really rather comical, when you really study it.

      Consider, one by one:

·               The Vikings were forced to commence the 2010 season by sending three of their best players all the way down from Minnesota to Mississippi, to try to lure their legendary 41-year-old quarterback out of retirement, because they had nobody under 41 who was any better….

·              Their best wide receiver, Sidney Rice, got hurt in the pre-season and missed 10 games….

·              Their best offensive lineman, Steve Hutchinson, also got hurt, and missed most of the season….

·               The legendary 41-year-old quarterback broke two bones in his ankle—but kept playing anyway because they had nobody under 41 with two good ankles who was any better….

·               Then the legendary 41-year-old quarterback (yes yes, it’s Brett Favre) became embroiled in a good old fashioned real life sex scandal, when it suddenly came out in the press that in 2008 when he was with the New York Jets he apparently sent quite a few harassing texts and reportedly even a few pictures of his then-39-year-old penis to a curvy Jets employee who was very young but at least bore a striking resemblance to his wife….   

·               Predictably, the Vikings began to lose games in bunches….

·               To stop the bleeding, and with Sidney Rice still unable to play, the Vikes traded a valuable 3rd-round draft pick to the New England Patriots for “troubled” wide receiver Randy Moss, an obviously misunderstood soul, who within the span of the four short weeks that he was on the team managed—practiced, respected diplomat that he is—to fracture the clubhouse in two, distract the whole team, polarize the franchise, and turn the players even more vocally against the head coach than they already were to begin with….

·                That head coach (the comically beleaguered Brad Childress) lost control of the team, with several of his players leaking anonymous quotes to the press about how much they hated him….

·                Inevitably, the misunderstood Mr. Moss mouthed off regarding how much he missed the Patriots while concurrently ragging on his head coach, the beleaguered Childress, so…. 

·              ….Childress fired Moss.

·              The Vikings’ owner, Zygi Wilf (great name, great guy, lousy owner), almost fired Childress for not even consulting him about firing Moss….

·               Wilf then says he has no plans to fire Childress or monkey around with the head coaching position during the season….

·              The Vikings lost a few more games….

·              Favre hurt his elbow and his head and continued to hobble around on his broken ankle, all the while being dogged by his embarrassing texting scandal (if you missed my column about it, here it is: ).

·                All the while, Favre continues to be the Vikings’ starting quarterback, despite leading the league in interceptions, because they don’t have anyone under 41 with good ankles and a healthy happy sex life who is any better….

·                The Green Bay Packers then blew the Vikings out in their own domed stadium, 31 to 3, a stunning defeat in front of the home-town fans so thorough, so embarrassing, that….

·              ….Wilf changed his mind and finally fired Childress.   The next day.

·               The Vikings continued to lose….

·               One of their best players, Percy Harvin, had severe migraine headaches all season and was largely ineffective—on the days he actually did suit up….

·               Favre’s 19-year streak of never missing a game finally came to an end, after some huge guy on the Buffalo Bills fell on him and almost killed him….

·               Favre came back two weeks later and tried to play against the Bears, but some huge guy on the Bears fell on him and almost killed him, giving the legendary 41-year-old quarterback a concussion and ending his season….

·               Meanwhile, the roof of the Vikings’ domed stadium collapsed under an avalanche of snow….

·               The Vikings then had to play a “home” game in Detroit’s evidently-better-built domed stadium.   Detroit is exactly 546 miles from Minneapolis.   Some home game.   The Vikings were slaughtered by the Giants 21-3….

·               The next week, in that Chicago game, the Vikings were slaughtered by the Bears 40-14….

·               Oh by the way, that Bears game had to be played at the University of Minnesota Gophers’ stadium, due, of course, to the collapsed, snow-swallowed Vikings stadium, and the rock-hard icy Gopher turf contributed to the concussion that effectively ended Favre’s career….

·               Favre’s passer rating of 69.9 in his final season is the lowest of his career…. 

·               The quarterback who replaced Favre, Tarvaris Jackson, played in that Giants game for about half an hour, injured his foot, and is out for the season….so he only missed equaling Favre’s consecutive-games streak by….lemme see….oh yeah, by 19 years.

·               And finally, last week’s game against Philadelphia—which of course was supposed to be played on a Sunday—was postponed to Tuesday due to foul weather, making it three straight games the Vikings had to either play in a different stadium or on a different day than originally scheduled, and also making it the 1st NFL game played on a Tuesday in 64 years.   So the Vikings had to sit around in a hotel doing nothing for three extra days, 1,200 miles from home, waiting to play a game which for them was a meaningless game in the standings, and where their quarterback would be a guy named….

·              ….Webb.   Joe Webb.   (?)


     If EVER a team had every reason to fold its tent and mail it in, it was the Vikings last Tuesday.

     So what do they do?   They go out and beat up on Philly QB Michael Vick like a gang of juvenile delinquents mugging a skinny scared ten-year-old kid on his way home from school, sacking him six times and knocking him to the ground a dozen times in all, Joe Webb plays like Vick himself, running and passing with equal brilliance, he doesn’t make a turnover, he runs for a touchdown,  he throws a beautiful 50-yard bomb to the suddenly healthy and invigorated Harvin, and most importantly he leads the Vikings to the upset of the year in the National Football League: Vikings 24, Eagles 14.  

      Webb.   Joe Webb.   I noticed that the number on his jersey last Tuesday night was 14.   I guess that makes him twice as good as 007….

      Life is strange.   To root for the Vikings as a selfish tool to help the Bears out is one thing.   But for me to actually root for the Vikings with all my heart and then wind up feeling good about it?   What’s next?   Rooting for the Dodgers???

      So anyway, the next time you’re feeling low, lazy, unmotivated, underappreciated, not really in the mood to do your job or do what’s right in Life because you’re not getting enough credit for it or benefit from it, whatever the situation might be, I think you should think about what the Minnesota Vikings did last Tuesday.   I know I will.   For me it’s writing books.   Novels.   That’s what I do.   I’m not a big success at it, it’s just what I do.   I just do this sports philosophy stuff for fun.   Anyway, the next time I’m feeling sorry for myself and finding it hard to come up with the motivation to put in some quality time on whatever stupid novel I happen to be stuck in the middle of, I’ll think about what the Vikings did.  

      Never mind I’m never gonna make it big doing my chosen life’s work.   At least the prose will be pithy, and the face looking back in the mirror the next morning won’t upset my delicate stomach.


PS—By the way, the day after the Vikings’ new quarterback Joe Webb upset the mighty Eagles in his 1st NFL start, the Vikings’ now-former starting quarterback, the legendary 41-year-old one, was fined $50,000 dollars by the commissioner of the NFL.   He was not fined for sending sexually harassing texts to a fellow New York Jets employee, or even for putting pics of his perky pecker on the girl’s cell phone.   Rather, he was fined 50-Large for “failing to cooperate {with the investigation} in a forthcoming manner”.   Oh, brother.   ‘Sure pays to be good enough to throw over 500 touchdown passes, huh?

meet….The Sports Philosopher!image0021

Brad Eastland is an author, historian, film buff, undiscovered fictioneer, and lover of the Minnesota Vikings—though the latter designation is only temporary.   Brad’s other recent columns for LaVerneOnline can be found in Sports under ‘The Sports Philosopher’ and also in Viewpoint under ‘Brad Eastland’s View’.    Brad has also written 4 novels and over 20 short-stories.    Samples of his best fiction work can be discovered by clicking the delightful yet unappreciated links below:








One Response to “The SPORTS PHILOSOPHER Says: “Hail To The Vikings!””

  1. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the brief Favre era in Minnesota. We enjoy reading your stuff.

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