Give me your tired, your poor.
Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest lost
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
- Emma Lazarus
I was reminded of these famous words while watching the Vikings Browns game on Sunday. They are, of course, the inscription at the base of the Statue of Liberty, welcoming the cast-offs, the rejects, and those that have no home to US shores. Those words are also the new motto for CBS, which graciously allowed the Vikings – Browns game to be played on their channel, despite pretty much zero interest from anybody anywhere. I’d like to think that they were doing it out of the goodness of their hearts, but most likely someone is going to get fired over that. So it goes.
But CBS dug deep. They found some sponsors – Charles Schwab and Microsoft Surface, both of whom were so excited just to get a call back from the NFL that they forgot to ask who was playing – and they found some storylines – Will Brian Hoyer be able to lead a depleted Browns squad that just traded away their biggest offensive weapon? Will the resurrection spell that pulled the corpse of Willis Mcgahee’s career out of the ground last the whole game? Will a terrorist succeed in taking out the NCIS team? No one knows!! Tune into CBS to find out! And tune in I did.
Week 3 Vikings Vs. Browns
The game started out like any other game. I assume. I actually don’t know because I didn’t catch the first quarter. I figured we would cruise to an easy victory behind an angry AP and the mildly competent version of Christian Ponder that tends to accompany an angry AP, marching in time to Musgrave’s trap beat. In fact, as I started to boot up a stream, I started thinking of what I would write about – like how beating up on the Browns was like beating up on the nerdy kid at school. It’s not cool, it’s just kind of mean. And this kid isn’t just nerdy, he’s kind of an idiot too. I mean, just yesterday during lunch, you tricked him into trading his twinkies, his PB&J, and his can of pringles for… your can of pringles, leaving him only some grapes and Trent Richardson. And as it turns out you can’t make a meal out of Trent Richardson. But I turned on the game near the end of the first quarter, saw that the score was 14-7 Browns, and saw that nerdy kid turn around and take a big ole swing and land one right smack dab on the kisser.
Rather than go through the entire game, which would be way too painful, I’ll just give a few highlights instead.
Our defense surprises everyone by stopping the browns. The Browns surprise no one except Priefer by trying a fake punt. The funny thing about teams with nothing to lose, you see, is that they have nothing to lose.
Later, Cleveland, the team with nothing to lose, decides again that they have nothing to lose. They go for a fake field goal. Their plan is to send Cameron, a 6 foot 5 tight end or receiver or whatever, way off to the side of the field, and cover his eyes so that no one can see him. It works. Priefer is shocked to learn that the peek-a-boo is a legal football move. Every other special teams coach is shocked to learn that the Browns peak-a-boo move actually worked for once. They request that Priefer be concussion tested in keeping with the safety protocols of the game.
Our offense stalls again and we punt, but the Browns returner horribly muffs the punt and Vikings recover. Lots of muff talk on the tv. Frazier throws the challenge flag because he wants a fumble. Unfortunately, you can’t do that. More muff talk on the tv. Ref backs us up 15 yards. Fortunately, you can’t do that. Unfortunately, he does anyway. The good news is we’re finally moving the ball on offense. The bad news is we were moving in the wrong direction.
Half time. The guys catch us up on other games – woah, someone is beating the rams? These guys are making me miss Howie and Terry Bradshaw. I switch to a higher form of entertainment – a youtube clip of Hayden Panettiere trying to krump. Hilarious. Back to the halftime show – the guys are comparing Hoyer to Tom Brady. I switch away, this time reading a buzzfeed article - 18 jokes only Harry Potter fans will appreciate. I do not appreciate them. I’m not quite sure what I was expecting there.
3rd quarter starts and I have a rare Sanford sighting. A receiver makes a sliding catch in front of him. Wanting to be polite, Sanford jumps over the receiver rather than down him. After actually touching him down, Harrison Smith slides over to fellow safety on the sidelines and patiently explains again how a receiver isn’t down unless he’s touched. Right, Sanford nods, down by contact! Smith rewards him with a pat on the butt and a cookie.
There’s a promo for Hispanic football player appreciation month or something. They advertise a number to call if you want to hear some information about Hispanic players in the NFL. I have to imagine that’s going to be a short phone call. There’s only so much you can say about Tony Gonzalez.
Commentators chime in with some brilliant insight– ‘The Vikings just need to play better.’ Zygi Wilf hears this and starts putting out feelers to see if this guy is interested in coaching. If only Frazier had thought of that, he thinks.
Ponder is sacked for the 4th and 5th times and I start to think that this might be one of those years when I can actually afford to go to a Vikings game. Then I get really offended that the commentators are calling one of the Browns players Mingo. I don’t know what that means but my god, CBS has stooped low. I realize that this is just his name. I calm down.
One of the commentators mentions that the Vikings offensive line is playing at a high level. Well, if you take away the 5 sacks, the countless hurries and most of the running plays then yeah. Yeah I guess they are.
The camera lands on Ragnar, who has certainly seen better days. So have the Vikings. The commentators talk about how this game shows that everybody in the nfl comes with a great team every game. This is certainly generous, as we are watching the worst team in the NFL - who recently traded away one of their biggest offensive weapons - play the Browns. That’s right, I’m talking about Percy.
I realize that Ponder has scored two rushing touchdowns, which is kind of amazing. He’s a tough kid, but probably not that good of an NFL quarterback. I try to start a Webb chant but I’m alone in my room. It doesn’t catch on.
Hoyer leads a comeback drive and the Browns score on essentially the same route that we got burned on last time. Did anyone not see that coming? It was inevitable.
We get down to the 34 yard line somehow with 10 seconds left and the announcers are thinking hail mary. I’m thinking can Ponder throw it that far? First heave does make it across the end zone line, barely. Second heave doesn’t even get off. Ponder is sacked to end the game. Browns win. We just got beat up by the nerdy kid.
I decide to go for a run to clear my head. Waiting for a light to change, I see a man in a red Prius at a gas station. His passenger side is facing the pump, but his gas tank is on the driver’s side. Rather than pull out, turn around and try again, this guy tries to stretch the gas hose over the car and into the gas tank on the far side. It isn’t reaching. I don’t want to be rude, so I continue on. Two blocks later, there’s another gas station and I see the same guy with the same red prius. He had obviously realized his error and decided to try again. And he pulled down to the next gas station to avoid embarrassment. Makes sense. Except, he still pulled into the station with his gas tank on the wrong side. His car is still in between his gas tank and the pump. My god, he’s going for the hose again. Doesn’t he realize that all he has to do is turn around? That hose still isn’t reaching. Should I say something or just let him struggle?
This reminded me of the Einstein’s definition of insanity. This reminded me of Musgrave’s play calls. This reminded me of our cover 2 defensive scheme. This reminded me of the Vikings in general. I like Leslie Frazier. He seems like a nice guy. I like his style. But something has to change. I fear that we are dangerously close to going insane here.