Vikings Game

I attended my first Vikings game since the 1998 NFC Championship game on Sunday.  Here are a few observations.

*Times have changed.  The entire scene is a circus.  The game itself is just part of the equation.

*I would estimate that the Vikings made $7 million in beer sales alone on Sunday.  And before any of you smart alecks insert a joke here, I didn’t contribute to that total.  I was actually trying to watch the game.

*When I watch football at home, I flip to another game during a commercial.  At the dome, you actually have to sit there and wait for the TV timeout to be over.  It seems like there are a lot of stoppages.

*The majority of the crowd participated in “doing the wave” at a crucial point in the second half.  While the Vikings had the ball.  I still haven’t figured that out yet.

*I saw a lot of Kleinsasser jerseys in the crowd.

*If someone asks you if you’d like to go to the VIP Tent before the game, say, “Yes.”  Nothing like Prime Rib on a Sunday morning.

 

Bison-Sioux Documentary: Reviewed

Tonight at 7:00 on Prairie Public Television, the documentary, “When They Were Kings” will air.  The 90 minute show highlights the rivalry between the North Dakota State University Bison and the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux.

I was lucky enough to receive an advance DVD copy recently and thought I’d share a few notes on the show, which focused solely on the football and women’s basketball programs at the two schools.

Spoiler Alert:  If you watch this documentary tonight expecting to hear a lot of rhetoric about why the rivalry should resume or why it shouldn’t, you’re going to be disappointed.  In fact, of the 90 minutes, only the final two are dedicated to that specific question.

What this show really ends up being is a very well-done history of the programs from about 1980 to now.  The documentary is interview driven and the highlights are worth watching alone.  The vast majority of those coming from WDAZ and WDAY.  Prairie Public did a great job of tracking down a lot of the key characters, including, but not limited to:  Rocky Hager, Roger Thomas, Gene Roebuck, Amy Ruley, Chris Simdorn, Jeff Bentrim, Tony Satter, Kelby Klosterman, Jim Kleinsasser, Sheri Kleinsasser, Charlie Stock, Kasey Morlock, Pat Smykowski, Mike Mooney, and Durene Heisler.

I found there to be a very healthy amount of respect between coaches and players.  At one point, Roebuck says something to the effect of Coach Ruley being the best coach he ever coached against.  And Morlock is equal parts complimentary and humorous in her words towards UND.

One thing this show is certain to do is to remind people of how much passion there was in those contests.  Much of the footage shows an overflowing Memorial Stadium, or the Bison Sports Arena packed to the rafters.  There are several clips where the Hyslop Sports Center has people hanging from every conceivable nook and cranny.

Other highlights of the show for me included a highlight of NDSU defensive back Tyrone Braxton returning an interception where it looks like he was shot out of cannon, the Jim Kleinsasser catch and run, the Bentrim pitch in Vermillion and dozens more.  There is a lot of good stuff.

One final thing I took from “When They Were Kings” is the intensity still displayed by Rocky Hager.  He sounds like a man ready to line up and play this Saturday against UND.

If nothing else, the documentary is a great history lesson.  A job well done by PPTV.

Leslie and the Vikings

While it’s probably in the best interest of the Minnesota Vikings and their fans to continue their losing ways, one has to wonder if the coach is in over his head.  Almost every game this season Leslie Frazier has made at least one questionable coaching decision.  And yesterday he made several.  His failure to challenge whether Percy Harvin scored a touchdown late in the game was his biggest blunder.  He didn’t wait long to make his next big mistake by deciding to go for it on fourth and goal from the two.  Apparently Frazier didn’t realize that Vikings didn’t need a touchdown in that situation.  A field goal at that point keeps the game alive, which is really all you can hope for at that point.  But no, Frazier decided to go for the touchdown and the Vikings draft pick for next year got a little bit better.  I just wonder if Frazier will be around to enjoy the #2 overall pick.

Penn State Should Forfeit Saturday

I find it unimaginable that Penn State is still planning on playing a football game against Nebraska on Saturday.  Not only should the game not be played, the Nittany Lions should forfeit.  The only argument that one could make for playing the game would be that it penalizes the current players if you don’t.  But this situation is so beyond that right now it’s embarrassing.  To be clear, this is not fair to the current players.  People who should know better have ruined it for them.  And now everyone at Penn State will have to pay.

Playing a game of football on Saturday sends the message that “we think it’s ok to put this situation ‘on hold’ for three hours.”  All the while, the college president and the football coach and everyone in between have not said a word.

I probably like sports more than most people, but in my opinion, a game on Saturday would be wrong.

Jordin Sparks Brother to Play For UND

P.J. Sparks

According to my people, and I have pretty good people, P.J. Sparks has signed a letter of intent to play football for the University of North Dakota.  At this point in his life, P.J. is probably better known as the brother of American Idol winner Jordin Sparks.  I’m sure he’d like to carve out his own notoriety on the football field at some point. But interesting nonetheless.

P.J.’s father, Phillippi Sparks played cornerback for the New York Giants in the 90′s.  P.J. played high school football at Mountain Ridge in Glendale, Arizona.

P.J. and Jordin’s grandfather, Jim Wiedmann, played for the Sioux in the late 60′s.

I hope Jordin makes it to the Alerus Center.  Both in concert and in the stands to watch her brother.

Reggie Tales on Facebook

The Next Vikings Coach Should Be

In the Summer, when the Minnesota Twins are on television and losing, I go outside and try to do something constructive, like mow the grass or wash my car.  I do the same with the Vikings.  After yesterday, let’s just say that I have the cleanest driveway on the block.

So with that, I bring you my Top 5 list of coaches I would like to see become the next head coach of the Minnesota Vikings.

1.  Bill Cowher. The former Steelers coach would be the perfect match for this lethargic team.

2.  Jon Gruden. I really like the former Tampa Bay coach.  Good blend of intensity and humor.

3.  Tony Dungy. Even though he’s quiet and low-key, he demands respect from his players.  Something current Vikings Coach Brad Childress does not.

4.  Brian Billick. I used to really dislike him, even when he was with the Vikings.  He seemed arrogant.  But I’ve done a 180 on him and would welcome him back.

5.  Mark Kroulik. The highly successful, long-time former coach at Stephen-Argyle High School might be itching to get back into the game.  And his record at the Metrodome speaks for itself.  I wonder if Zygi could pry him from his comfy Principal’s job?

Reggie Tales on Facebook

Travelogue: Lincoln, Nebraska

Before Lincoln, Nebraska was Lincoln, Nebraska, it was Lancaster, Nebraska.  Then, following President Lincoln’s assassination in 1865, the city changed its name to Lincoln.  All of this according to Summer Sidekick.  He and Mrs. Summer Sidekick moved to Lancaster Lincoln a month ago.  It seems as though SSK has found gainful employment in the land of Go Big Red.  And apparently my internship program of which he was a graduate is paying big dividends.  It was very clever of SSK to take a hockey coaching job in the same city where the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team resides.  There is a pretty good chance that if his team gets off to a slow start it might go unnoticed for a little while.  Suffice it to say that the good people of Nebraska are CRAZY about their football team.  So I couldn’t help but feel like I was bad-luck while in attendance for their loss to Texas on Saturday.  I’ve never seen 85,000 people (84,000 dressed in RED) so disgusted.

University of Nebraska, Memorial Stadium, October 16, 2010

But cheer up Nebraska!  Losses are easier to get over when you have eight D’Leon’s to choose from!  And four of those are in Lincoln!  D’Leon’s is a hole-in-the-wall kinda place (I mean that in the good way) that serves Mexican food.

D'Leon's, Lincoln, Nebraska

If the good people of D’Leon’s would venture to North Dakota for location #9 I would ensure the long-term stability of their business.  Based on their Breakfast Burrito alone, (served 24 hours a day) I would be their #1 customer and spokesperson.

Anyway, Lincoln is really nice.  I would call it a “bigger Fargo.”  And I did on several occasions.

Weston Dressler

One of my all-time favorite football players at UND was Weston Dressler.  Every time he touched the ball he had a legitimate chance to score, and you can’t say that about many players.  Since leaving the Fighting Sioux, he has taken his considerable talents to the Canadian Football League and continued his success.  I fully realize that he would be quite small by NFL standards, but seriously, if you’re the Minnesota Vikings, or a Vikings fan, wouldn’t you at least want to give this guy a shot?  By the way, here is Dressler making a touchdown catch on Saturday night north of the border.  Tell me, what does size have to do with a play like this?  PS…the color commentator is quite “colorful.”  Enjoy.

Favre

If you’re like the rest of the fans in the sporting world, you’ve been waiting for some kind of sign that Brett Favre is coming back to the Minnesota Vikings or isn’t coming back to the Minnesota Vikings.  Well, my long-suffering purple friends, that tell-tale sign came last night when the Philadelphia Eagles traded Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins for a pair of draft picks.

What in the name of Tommy Kramer does this have to do with the Vikings and Favre, you ask?  The fact that Minnesota never made a move in the month-long trade discussions is proof enough that Favre has already told Brad Childress he’s coming back.  Without that assurance, the Vikings would have been very interested in what Donovan McNabb still  has left in the tank.  But since the Vikings didn’t get involved, something tells me that Favre told Childress, "Look, I want to play another year, but I don’t want to go through all those summer practices, the meetings, and the long training camp.  So I’m going to wait to until the second or third preseason game to come back."  And for his part, Childress will need to pretend that he doesn’t know what Favre’s plans are.  Because if you’re going to openly have agreements with a player like this, then why would any veteran ever show up for all those practices? 

Favre turns 41 on October 10th.  I know this because he shares a birthday with my sister.  She will be turning…umm…well…that’s really not that important right now.  My point is, I still prefer a 41-year-old Favre over a 33-year-old Donovan McNabb, and so, apparently, do the Vikings.