"You'll never get ahead if you don't take care of what you have." - Doris Waddell, RIP

A historic building on our U of M-Morris campus - morris mn

A historic building on our U of M-Morris campus - morris mn
The multi-ethnic building was the original home of the music department at UMM. (B.W. photo)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Hut. . .hut. . .hut (and shop at Menards)"

Sleepless in Seattle? It seemed a little harder staying awake here for week #2 of the Minnesota Vikings' pre-season.
The Vikings played on the west coast, specifically in the Pacific Northwest. This meant a late starting time for those of us in the CDT zone.
The starting time was 9 p.m. for another one of these "Night of the Living Dead" pre-season games. (There, two movie references already.)
We put up with these games because we love NFL football. The NFL takes advantage of that love.
The games are getting longer and the commercial intrusions a little more grating. There are lots of interests that want to seize these eyeballs.
We all understand that but we want the game to stay in a relatively pure sanctuary. I don't want to see "Menards" superimposed on the field. I cussed under my breath when seeing that Saturday.
A lot can be done with these tech tricks. Like, making the field red inside the 20 and having a "sponsor" for the red zone.
At some point the NFL will cross the line with this kind of stuff. And assuredly they will come right up to that line, not holding back one bit. It will take blowback from fans to get moderation.
The many video replays are starting to grate. Coach Leslie Frazier challenged an obvious catch Saturday, prompting a groan from yours truly.
The media report that all scoring plays will now get a review. What are we supposed to do in all those breaks? I guess the NFL assumes we're captive.
I couldn't stick with the Vikings game after halftime Saturday. Part of that was feeling sleepy. Another part was the "Night of the Living Dead" factor.
The pre-season games are so ho-hum. But Menards must feel fans are sufficiently dedicated.
I'll leave it to the younger fans to stay up until the end of a west coast game.
The Minnesota media were in a glass-half-full mood after Saturday. They'll point to the outcome: a 20-7 win.
They reported that QB Donovan McNabb was at the helm for one good drive, but even this drive didn't end in a touchdown. It ended meekly with a field goal.
The media are eager to talk up any pluses. And in the background are all those sponsors who want that positive spin.
We'll see how much spin the media can produce when the shaky Vikings are dismantled by the likes of Green Bay.
I refuse to be convinced that McNabb is a totally new man after his disastrous season in Washington, D.C.
The media overreacted to that one good drive that McNabb commanded Saturday. It started at the one yard line. It ended up including 13 plays.
Not bad, but this drive good for three points hardly assured us that graybeard McNabb is all set to go for an upbeat new season. That spin won't fly.
Ryan Longwell won't be able to keep up with the points put on the board by Aaron Rodgers.
Our NFC North has quarterbacks who are in their prime. Coach Lovie Smith in Chicago will be trying to get Jay Cutler to not throw the ball around with such abandon.
Can Chicago fans forget Cutler's behavior at the end of last season? He got hurt in the NFC championship game and acted disinterested after that. There will be one cure for this perception problem: winning.
Matt Stafford has an injury problem in Detroit. Rodgers in Green Bay looks like Superman.
McNabb in Minnesota still looks to me like one big question mark.
When Tristan Davis carried the ball 35 yards for a score late in the game, it was the Vikings' first offensive TD of the pre-season. It's still our only offensive TD.
So the encouraging spin from the media should be tempered.
Actually I think the NFL is getting better all the time at steering the media toward positive spin. The marketing and promotional minds are powerful.
We need to keep those eyeballs to see that "Menards" imprint, created through tech magic.
The red zone sponsorship makes me want to look away.
With all scoring plays under review, it will mean more breaks for us to reach into that bowl of Doritos. Or to crack open another liter of Pepsi.
Unless a lot of us just start drifting away from this entertainment. Don't rule it out.
The NFL knows there's a limit but will test that limit. They will let commercial interests pile on 'til hell won't have it.
We live in a time when people really don't complain about "commercialization" anymore. We know everything is for sale.
But the tech revolution does give us choices. The NFL knows this and I'm sure is proceeding a little nervously. Can it kill the goose that laid the golden egg? There's little sign of that now.
But proceed cautiously, NFL.
Saturday night was disappointing for our old QB Tarvaris Jackson. I was rooting for him. He got the quick hook when he was in Minnesota.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll pledges that Jackson will start Seattle's opener. But fans might have a different idea. Charlie Whitehurst connected on his first seven passes and finished 14 of 19 for a hundred yards. Fans began chanting his name.
I frowned as Jackson kept having to bend down to take snaps from center from in the shotgun. It disrupted his rhythm.
Maybe Jackson is just destined to be snakebit. I'll be crossing my fingers that he can impress once the "real" season starts.
Jackson had a mediocre offensive line in front of him Saturday. The interception he threw came on a tipped ball and was returned for a touchdown.
I hear there is a new statistical formula for evaluating quarterbacks this season. ESPN seems to be talking it up. The NFL would love to see their game become more like baseball this way. Statistics are part of the lifeblood of baseball.
The problem in football is that football is just not a statistical game.
Marcus Sherels, a reserve cornerback, was the lucky Viking in the right place to make the interception. He returned it 64 yards for a TD. The Vikings led 13-0 at halftime.
We couldn't be sure Seattle fans were sleepless at that point. I sure wasn't. I consumed the game's details the next day.
McNabb completed six of eight passes for 81 yards and was sacked once.
Off the top of my head I can't tell you who the Vikings' season opener opponent will be. But I'll predict a loss right here and now.
Mike Shanahan had a sinking ship with McNabb last year. And now this esteemed mentor is apparently happier going with Rex Grossman at quarterback. Or some guy last name of Beck.
McNabb put the D.C. fans to sleep last year and I see no magical turnaround for what lies ahead. Now he's playing under a former defensive coordinator, Frazier.
Thank goodness our Metrodome is refurbished, even though we're all supposed to want a new stadium.
We'll be relieved seeing our good ol' Metrodome in good shape again.
The Vikings likely won't provide such satisfaction.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

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