This is my first post at DN and I would like to start out with thanking DN story writers and commentators alike, you are the people that makes the Daily Norseman THE premier site for a vikings fan.
I'm from Finland (over the Atlantic ocean, in northern Europe, near the Commies: Finland, Wikipedia) and I admit being a Minnesota Vikings fan (or Minneapolis Vikings as CBS would have folks believe). I have been a Viking fan from the very start of my NFL-fandom. This is surely quite recently compared with many others on this site. My fascination with American football began early on though. I used to watch the Superbowl from my very youth (when it was televised here in Finland, sporadically, from the beginning of the nineties, as I remember). My fascination got reinforced when I acquired a cable channel to watch NHL-games about five-six years ago. NHL = Hockey = that game on ice and with sticks, that the Canadians are fuzzing about. Well, that last comment was perhaps a bit unnecessary, I suppose Minnesotians know a thing or two about hockey, more than Americans in general anyway. But anyhooo, the acquired NHL-channel also showed baseball and college football, and I got hooked on both. As with any addiction, I felt a need for an even bigger fix. From 2009 onwards I've been hooked on NFL via a NFL Gamepass subscription.
Because I started following the National Football League in 2009, it shouldn't be surprising that I became a Vikings fan.Who could not help to fall in love with the 2009 vikings team? A blazing offense. A legendary QB having his best season ever. An unbelievable Running Back, with a combination of speed and strength that defied physics. How can this beast of a man be both faster and quicker than anyone else, and also have the power to move a pile of opposing linemen? It shouldn't be possible. The amazing catches of Rice. The electrifying returns of Harvin. The sure hands of Shiancoe. Pure joy to watch. But that wasn't even all. The team also had the best defensive fronts in the game, able to stop opposing offenses in their tracks whenever needed to. And I do remember even picks made by the secondary. Imagine that. It was beautiful. It was an magical run. Magical last seconds runs to victory and all. A magical run to and Superbowl not to be. But I was in love nevertheless. And yes, lets not forget that purple Vikings are cool too, gotta love them.
As I have now tapped into the very core of American sports, I would also like to share a bit of the sports scene here in Finland/Europe before I continue further. It may come as shock to you guys, but nobody watches NFL in Europe/Finland. A Finnish hardcore sports fan couldn't probably name a NFL player, even if his life depended on it. In Finland we have hockey instead, and we are actually very good at that. A Finn is even the captain for the Minnesota Wild NHL team. In Europe we have actual FOOTball (a ball being played with your feet), you call it soccer. Here in Finland we also try to play soccer, but England, Spain, and Italy are just so much better than us. Regretfully Finland is as good at soccer, as Smashing Toby is good at not fumbling the rock in the last minutes of games... Because we are unable to succeed in a really big market sports (soccer), we try to succeed in various minor obscure sports instead: hockey primarily, but also throwing the javelin or ski-jumping. Finland has been very good at the winter and summer Olympics, possessing a very good record for a country with on 5 million inhabitants (the same as Minnesota btw). Check it out: Wiki or Olympic.it. But we are no good anymore, Nowadays we suck. Our Olympic performance has declined as out welfare has improved (being one of best in the world with free healthcare, free university education - plenty of taxes though).
But the actual reason for my post is, that I would like to discuss a pair of major issues I have. You now, just to be able to scratch even a pair of things from the almost infinte list I have. So, the thing that really bothers me - is unfair critique. Critique itself, I haven't anything against, but I'd rather have it based on facts, than on perception. Therefore I have problems accepting a pair of issues frequently discussed and pointed out here at the Daily Norseman:
1) The "problem" with Frazier emotionless demeanor in general, but especially on the field.
2) Inability to give Ponder credit where credits are due, and focus on his lack of deep throws.
So please continue your reading, as I cover the above points after the jump!!
To point number 1: emotionless crappy coach Frazier
It really bugs me that Frazier is getting the amount of brown bio matter he's getting for his stone-faced demeanor. The argument being in it's simplicity and stupidity, something like this: Frazier seems emotionless, he doesn't loose his temper, and he actually seems to be a nice guy, so therefore he is a crapy coach. Really folks? Really?
I'm not saying that he is a good coach. Far from it. I think that he has much to prove before that can be said. Proving is winning, because a record of result is the thing we outsiders can see. We cannot see or know how he is perceived by the players. We cannot know if he getting more out of the players, than an other NFL coach would get out of them. But if he isgiven time and if he is a good coach, then the players should buy into him, and start getting wins. Then we will know. Before that we cannot know. A book should not be judged by its covers, as a man should not be judged by his stoneface!
But if results is the measure of a good coach, isn't Frazier a proven bad coach after last year's 3-13 record? No, in my opinion, because it was a year of rebuilding. Last year was proof that McNabb was good at throwing the ball into the ground, that Ponder was a rookie, and that Webb is a phenomenal athlete, and that the Minnesota Vikings sucked. The jury is still out on Frazier though. This year we should expect improvement, if Frazier is any kind of a coach. And haven't we gotten improvement? Last year the Vikings had an winning percentage of 18,75 percent, now it is 66,66 %! Some improvement! Yes, yes, sample size and so forth. But that is also my point: patience please. Let the sample size get bigger, and let Frazier prove his worth (or unworthiness).
I do also think that I have a different perspective on the matter being a Finn and all. We Finns aren't know for showing our emotions (when not intoxicated at least) and we generally have a poor understanding of sugarcoating things and small talk and smiling excessively. In general we appreciate straightforwardness and that things are done properly and fairy. I know that I would surely respond better to a coach that I felt treated me and everybody else correctly and fairly. It seems to me that Frazier is this kind of coach. But I'm no football player, so my response to Frazier's personality and coaching style is quite irrelevant. But lets see how the Vikings football players reacts and responds to Frazier, before throwing him under the bus, will ya?
By the way, didn't "passionless"-Frazier get the Vikings to play well last game against the niners? Didn't they play with poise? Play with passion? Play with unity? Play as a good team? Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes. Did he manage that with a loud fiery speech, combined with curse words and saliva flying everywhere? I think not. But he got them motivated. He let a reporter's doubt of the Vikings physicality be the fuel, he let Winfield be the vessel (of the speech).
Speaking of the last game and the opposite coach, of a coach showing his emotions and not treating all fairly: enter Jim Harbaugh. Enter the latest Harbaugh-episode-VII-jedi-trick: "Hey referee! You will give me my timeout back. You will accept my challenge in a matter that cannot be challenged". It is mind boggling to read comments on DN afterwards, that Frazier sucks because he didn't behave as badly as Harbaugh. Really, to you want the coach of the Minnesota Vikings behave like Harbaugh? The guy cannot even shake hands after a game for Odins sake! It was Harbaugh who miss behaved. He bullied the replacement official to give him a a timeout back, a challenge and then a timeout back again. It was Harbaugh who chose to break the rules and oppose his will on a weakling replacement of an official. It was wrong and Harbaugh is a buffoon for doing it. But should Frazier therefore have been acting like a buffoon as well? Hell no and I respect him for not doing it. It seemed to me, that Frazier made and objection on the matter to the official and I'd be ready to wager hat he probably referred to the rulebook. It is not his fault that the replacement official chose to send the rulebook to Hel(heim).
And yes, point number 2 then?
Well, I have some issues keeping to the point (or point 2 in this case). I had to rant about myself, Finland, soccer and a little bit of everything instead of getting to the point(s). So now it's early morning, and I should have been in a deep beauty sleep several ours ago. I'm an annoyingly slow/poor writer, especially in English. And yes, I do apologize for butchering the English language. I tried my best, but it is a a foreign language and all that.
But shortly regarding Ponder. As I see it: a good QB takes what the opposing defense gives him and uses the weapons he have available. If the opponent put men in the box to stop the run and our a team lacks a deep threat, then it is completely ok to toss the ball sideways to Harvin and get some nice YAC. As long as it works, all is good. Yes, at some point the opponent will adjust. They will start covering intermediate zones and Ponder will have to adjust and throw the ball deep. But lets wait for the Opponent adjusting and wait for Simpson to get back before criticizing Ponder for throwing too short and too efficiently and getting wins.
And lastly, lets enjoy a WINNING record!