Sunday, October 23, 2005

Packer Blog: Week 7 (Vikings)


As I stated in an earlier post, I bleed green and gold, like the rest of Wisconsin. Seeing as how the season has gone to this point, I thought it would be somewhat therapeutic for me to jot down some of my thoughts during today’s game versus the Vikings. Consider this a semi-return to the blogging world.

A little background on the game today – the Vikings come in at 1-4 after what could generously be considered a couple of disastrous weeks. Every joke that can be made about boat-gate has been made, but let’s just say that the only bigger public relations disaster for the Vikings would have been if Harriet Miers was on board one of the boats. In fact, that might be the only job she is overqualified for.

Despite Mike Sherman’s determination to run the Packers completely into the ground, they have managed to show a little life lately. However, the Packers usually see the same hospitality on their trips to the Metrodome that Jeffrey Dahmer received on his trip to prison.

Before the game starts, there are a couple things I need to get out of the way. First, I am in two fantasy football leagues, and in one I am playing against the team that has Brett Favre and in the other I am playing against the team that has Daunte Culpepper. So an ideal game for me would be a 2-0 Packer win where nobody enters the other team’s side of the field. Happens all the time.

About a half hour before the game, I did something unprecedented – I saw a Taco Bell commercial that made me immediately run out to get Taco Bell. This has never happened to me before. I purchased a Grilled Stuf’d Steak Burrito, a Steak Nachos Bellgrande, a soda, and three beef soft tacos. Total bill: 48 cents. I mean seriously, you could feed all of Botswana at Taco Bell and still have change left over for some cheesy potatoes.

A note on some of the pregame shows – what is with all of these grown men laughing and touching each other? I mean, seriously – if I were Howie Long and Terry Bradshaw touched me on the arm, I’d cold cock him in his grill. These pregame shows are like slumber parties for grown men with jock itch. ESPN’s pregame show actually billed an interview with Michael Irvin and Keyshawn Johnson “The Great Debate.” As we speak, the Lincoln Library is building a shrine to Keyshawn , relegating Stephen A. Douglas to the basement.

As the game gets started, the home crowd – the home crowd – boos the Vikings like they were Elton John at Harley Fest.

And the kickoff…

12:09 – The Packers’ first drive stalls with two penalties. Good thing we got all those kinks worked out in the bye week, huh fellas?

12:11 – FOX shows their first shot of cheeseheads in the crowd. This is now as obligatory, and leads to a debate I often have with myself – are the Packers a net positive or negative for Wisconsin? Obviously, the nationwide attention we get due to the Packers is great, mostly due to the presence of #4 for a decade and a half. But – and I hate to be so blunt – a lot of the coverage goes further than just portraying Packer fans as a working class crowd. In fact, I would say the nationwide perception of a Packer fan is of someone who wears their cheesehead to work, drinks beer for breakfast, and weighs about 3 Franklins. And as one who reflects all of the above, I take offense.

12:20 – Packers get the ball back. With third and about a Whizzinator to go, Ahman Green is stopped up but bailed out by an offsides call. Even before his recent injury, Ahman was having a terrible year. If he would only show the same aggression towards the Vikings that he does towards his own wife, he might actually have a decent game. (A joke every Packer fan has said to themselves but are afraid to say out loud)

12:37 – Robert Ferguson catches a long pass, but injures his knee in the process. Mike Sherman immediately subs in The Burger King to take Ferguson’s place.

12:41 – Donald Driver catches a miracle one handed touchdown. 7-0, Pack.

12:43 – Two traditions are distinctly Wisconsin: Eating raw meat and listening to the Packers on the radio while watching the game on TV. I don’t do this, but have a number of friends that do. I personally think Wayne Larivee walks on water, but there always seems to be a gap between the broadcasts, which allows you to actually see how bad the Vikings suck before you hear it.

12:52 – In an attempt to eliminate any shred of dignity they still have as a team, the Vikes fumble the ball through Culpepper’s legs on a fourth down play. Mike Tice stares blankly into space, contemplating a rumor he heard about being able to create fire by rubbing two sticks together.

12:58 – Driver makes another unbelievable catch that gets the Packers deep into Viking territory. Following the play, Driver turns the ball into fish and wine for the crowd. He’s having that good of a day.

1:02 – Antonio Chatman makes a diving catch at the back end of the end zone for a touchdown. Vikings contest the play via instant replay, which shows he actually got three feet down, it was that indisputable.

1:23 - Vikings end the half with a long incomplete pass that announcer Bill Maas calls a microcosm of their season. Um… yeah, Bill. That pass was just like their season, except for it didn’t involve drugs, a fake rubber male organ, and an orgy on a boat. Other than that, it was just like it. 17-0, Packers. It’s been a while since the Vikings scored on dry land.

1:25 – The Vikings are so bad, entire sections of fans are demanding their money back for tickets they bought from Tice.

1:34 – More tomfoolery on the FOX halftime show. I haven’t seen this many men touching each other since the last Morrissey show I attended.

1:37 – FOX shows a graphic that the Vikings have 31 passing yards in the first half. How far is that in knots?

1:43 – The Vikings are immediately on the move. Koren Robinson, three weeks out of alcohol rehab, catches a pass after receiving a lap dance from Ahmad Carroll, and tips Carroll 5 bucks. After the catch, play is halted, and Carroll is awarded a trophy for being “Worst Player on an NFL Roster.” Carroll accepts the award, and play resumes.

2:00 – Troy Williamson catches a pass for a first down on third and ten, after being “covered” by guess who? Ahmad Carroll.

2:01 – Vikings throw the ball into the end zone, the wide receiver and the defensive back collide, and a flag is thrown. I immediately begin to string together a grab bag of obscenities in a barely comprehensible rant, thinking the flag is on the Packers. Fortunately, it was on the Vikings and my blood pressure lowers from “lethal” to “deadly.”

2:02 – On the next play, Culpepper throws a touchdown to Marcus Robinson in the same spot of the end zone. I’ll give you one guess as to who was covering (or not covering, in this case) Robinson. That’s right. #1 draft pick Ahmad Carroll.

Remember the part of “The Muppets Take Manhattan” when Kermit gets run over by a car, gets amnesia, and thinks he’s a soap salesman? He shows up at work (named Phillip Phil) and comes up with terrible new slogans like “Ocean Breeze Soap – for people who don’t want to stink,” and “Ocean Breeze Soap – it’s like an ocean cruise, except there’s no boat, and you don’t actually go anywhere.”

It’s like Ahmad Carroll was hit in the head at some point, got amnesia, and now believes he is an NFL player. He just keeps showing up for work, and nobody wants to say anything in case it hurts his feelings. One of these days he’s going to get hit in the head again, regain consciousness, and return to filling the ketchup dispensers at Culver’s. 17-7 Packers.

2:05 – If I was commissioner for a day, the first thing I would do away with is the practice of going to a commercial after a kickoff. If the league needs extra advertising revenue, let Mike Sherman wear a “Tampax” hat.

2:09 – “Cap’n Fred” Smoot holds Driver on a pass attempt. It’s the first time Smoot touched someone since he flew “Bubbles” in from Atlanta.

2:13 – Favre completes a pass to Bubba Franks. Fantasy football be damned – Packers need a touchdown.

2:19 – Ryan Longwell misses a 42 yard field goal. On turf. Indoors.

2:28 – After a long Viking drive, Nick Barnett breaks up a pass in the end zone intended for Mewelde Moore. Vikings settle for a field goal. After the ensuing kickoff, Viking kicker Paul Edinger, clearly a member of genus rodentia, is laughing about getting steamrolled on the play. Losing is funny, Paul.

2:34 – Ahman Green drops to the turf and grabs his knee after a short gain.

2:38 – Down 17-13, the Vikings get the ball back, and the Packers decide they have had enough of playing that pesky “defense” that their coaches are always harping about. Things from here on get a little hazy for me. Each pass Culpepper completes feels like a midget punching you in the groin (trust me, I know what that is like). Culpepper runs for 20 yards on a quarterback draw, the 34th time they have run that play this game. About this time, I start thinking about places in the house where I might be able to hang a noose. The only place I can really think of is the garage, as the beams are exposed out there. But then I remember that it is freezing out there and I might catch cold.

2:40 – Maas says Ahman Green’s injury “is not good news.” Really, jerkoff? I thought the Franklin Mint might be commemorating the moment with a nice collectible coin.

2:44 – Ahmad Carroll beat again for a first down, and the announcers note that he “has had trouble staying on his feet.” Guess he skipped the “ability to stay upright” drill at the NFL draft combine. Mewelde Moore catches his first career touchdown. Vikings go ahead, 20-17. I look down to my notepad where I scrawled the words “Hopeless – Dying.”

Boy, it’s a good thing Aaron Rodgers is standing over on the sideline with a clipboard. The Packers certainly couldn’t have used a first round pick to shore up the 30th rated defense in the NFL at a time like this. Rodgers is like the Harriet Miers of the NFL – he may end up being a good NFL quarterback, but picking him essentially euthanized what could be Brett Favre’s last season. I mean, all Favre is doing is leading the NFL in touchdown passes, and they are almost begging him to retire.

2:51 – Catches by Martin and Chatman have the Packers on the move, in position for at least a game tying field goal. Two minute warning.

2:56 – On a third and two, Mike Sherman calls an unconscionably bad running play. Favre had been marching the team down passing the ball, and Sherman thinks it would be a good idea to hand it off to the third string RB, who gets stuffed. In calling that play, Sherman is outcoached by a coach whose team is falling apart and who will likely be fired in a week. You think you might want to score a touchdown there, genius? You had a timeout, and you’re in the Metrodome! Longwell field goal, score tied 20-20.

3:00 – Everyone in the free world knows what is coming now. Sherman’s bad play call will result in the Vikings winning the game on a field goal. Of course, with 8 seconds left in the game and no times out, there’s only one play the Vikings can call to get the yardage they need – a 10 to 15 yard out to the sideline. This apparently befuddles the Packers defense, which allows them to get exactly that.

3:02 – Packers use their time out, Edinger kicks a 56 yard field goal to win the game for the Vikings.

3:04 – Mike Sherman calls the league office to see if they can forgo the formality of the Packers having the first pick in the 2006 Draft, and asks if he can just start Reggie Bush next week. Sherman is told that FEMA is being sent in to commandeer the franchise and Ray Nagin is being made head coach.

After an hour or so of despondency, my daughter climbed up on my lap, wrapped her arms around me, kissed me on the cheek, and said "I love you Daddy." I told her not to get too emotional - she has to suit up at running back for the Packers next week.

On to week 8, where the Pack will be clubbed like a baby seal by an angry Bengal team that lost at home today.