Note: This post is going to be very abrasive and rude to a lot of factions of the Vikings' current state of affairs and the NFL in general. If you're looking for rosy optimism, you should probably stop reading now. If you want to see the product of months of one writer's pent up rage, read on. This is probably best read in the voice of Samuel L. Jackson or Lewis Black, whichever you prefer.
I turned 30 on Monday. Coincidentally, the NFL lockout reached Day 100 that same day. While I was begrudgingly saying goodbye to my 20's on the worst possible day of the week, the double-barreled middle finger my favorite league was giving to me and the rest of its fans had officially reached triple digits.
So forgive me if the following rant smacks of those SNL "Really?!" Weekend Update segments; it's been too long, and I need to vent.
First and foremost: this godawful, ridiculous, terrible, horrible, no good, very bad lockout. Really?! (I told you it was going to be like that SNL bit.) Over 100 days and counting to decide how you're going to split up billions upon billions of dollars?! And you expect the fans to just sit around twiddling their thumbs and feel sympathetic towards either side? Not a chance.
And yet NFL
Owners' Puppet Commissioner Roger Goodell insists that he's doing this for the good of the fans, like a drunk dad insists that beating the crap out of his kid with his belt builds character. Goodell can verbally shine the turd he's trying to feed the fans all he wants, but anyone with an inkling of knowledge about the situation realizes that his main job is to maximize profits for the owners. Hey commish: spend less time blowing smoke up our rear ends and more time getting our favorite sport back. The NFL is far and away the most popular sport in the country, and it has been for some time; there's no rule saying that it has to remain that way forever. Quit trying to test that theory by testing your fans' patience. GET A DEAL DONE. LIKE, NOW.
The only sympathetic figures in this ordeal are the retired players. While owners and current players try to out-Scrooge each other over what percentage of eleventy billion dollars they get, many players that have sacrificed their bodies (and based on all the news lately, their minds) don't know if they can cover living expenses. These players helped make the NFL the juggernaut it is today, and the current players will be in their shoes before they know it--take care of the retirees FIRST, then divide up the rest of the billions.
Being an NFL fan has been tough to swallow for the past 103 days. Being a Vikings fan has been even less fun.
Where should I begin in our current Vikings' Valhalla of Vileness? Well, to paraphrase "Dumb And Dumber": we got no roof on our current stadium, we got no new stadium...OUR PETS' HEADS ARE FALLIN' OFF!!
It sounds like the Metrodome will be ready to go whenever games resume, but let's face it--putting a new roof on the Dome is like putting makeup on a sweet old grandmother for her funeral. It'll be nice to see her one last time, but after that it's time to move on.
By now I'm sure you've heard all the options swirling around regarding the Vikings stadium, including the specter of moving the team to Los Angeles. I refuse to even entertain the notion of L.A. stealing another franchise from my state--there are just too many other teams that make more sense to move before Minnesota. (Besides, if the Vikings do leave, I won't have to worry about writing that I was wrong--I'll be in prison or a mental hospital.)
Out of the Minnesota-based stadium options, the general consensus is that Arden Hills is probably the best choice. I'll go ahead and clarify the situation for you: Arden Hills is the only choice. Oh sure, both Minneapolis and St. Paul threw their hats into the ring too. I have just one question for the groups heading up those plans: um, WHERE THE HELL WERE YOU GUYS ABOUT SIX MONTHS EARLIER?! No matter how good any newer proposed plan might be, it's way too little and waaaaay too late. You had your chance. Now get your half-assed plans out of the way and let's all get behind the Arden Hills idea.
Of course, that's much easier said than done. I love those news reports that feature residents who live close to the proposed site saying they don't want all the hubbub around their quiet neighborhood. Again, I must say: REALLY?!?! You don't want the value of your property to skyrocket in an awful housing market?! You'd rather just sit on your porch and stare at an old ammunition plant instead?! As Slim Pickens said in Blazing Saddles, what in the wide wide world of sports is goin' on here?! I get that nobody wants their taxes raised to pay for a stadium, but we do realize how much money this new stadium and its infrastructure can generate, right?
Enough about the stadium for now; let's move on to something else that's grinding my gears. Hey, vast majority of Vikings veterans! You do realize that while you can't have contact with your coaches, it's perfectly fine to get together and work out, right? That first-round quarterback we drafted organized a workout and everything. All you had to do was show up. Was the lack of attendance some sort of weird rookie hazing that I don't know about? Teams like the Patriots, Saints, Jets, and Panthers had 40 or more players showing up for their unofficial gatherings. The Vikings had one offensive lineman show up. (Speaking of O-linemen, I'm not sure playing tennis with the Williams sisters and promoting the holy hell out of mediocre rap acts on Twitter is going to prevent a certain left tackle from having another disappointing year.) While Carolina sucked last year, it looks like they give a crap about getting out of the cellar of their division. But those other teams? Yeah, they've been pretty good lately. Might want to follow their lead.
This lockout is affecting us on a personal as well. As one of the millions of fantasy football players, I'm starting to feel like Eminem's mom in "8 Mile" after her settlement-bound boyfriend leaves. I have this sinking fear that I'm going to be spending Sunday afternoons wandering around my place, screaming "WHAT AM I GONNA DO?!" But seriously, what will we do with no games to watch (and write about in my case) and no fantasy stats to pore over? I shudder at the thought of doing something actually productive with my Sunday afternoons in the Fall.
Finally, as toxic icing on the manure-flavored NFL cake, the lockout just had to happen the year after Green Bay won the Super Bowl, didn't it? Oh yippee--an extended lockout with no football, so I get to listen to Packer fans wax ecstatic about how awesome they are without the slightest chance of a sweet, sweet Green Bay defeat.
OK, I better stop ranting. I think 1200+ words amply got my point across. Besides, I'm in my 30's--I have to worry about my blood pressure now. But just to show that I won't be all doom and gloom in my advanced age, here's a gratuitous picture of Sports Ilustrated supermodel Kate Upton.
Now let's get this stupid lockout over and play some effing FOOTBALL!!