Forget about running up the score – the Vikings’ decision was just stupid

After his team ran up the score in yesterday’s 34-3 win over the Cowboys, I found it comical what Vikings head coach Brad Childress said in his post game presser:

“As Lou Holtz used to say, ‘It’s our job to score points. It’s their job to stop us from scoring points.’ That happens. It wasn’t rubbing it in. It’s just taking care of business and being aggressive at the end of the game.”

After spending some time reading people’s opinions on this topic, it appears that many Minnesota fans are taking Childress’ stance. Hey, the Cowboys’ defenders are paid to stop opponents’ offenses. So if they didn’t want to be scored on, then they shouldn’t have quit on that final play. Also, Keith Brooking is a crybaby whiner that should go back to his crybaby whiner mother and have her feed him out of a bottle labeled: My Little Crybaby.

The other stance that Minnesota fans seem to be taking is that Brett Favre should now be treated like a baby bird and protected at all cost. With the way they’re backing Favre’s every move right now, I wouldn’t be shocked if a group of Viking fans attempted to eat some food and regurgitate it back into Brett’s mouth.

Of course, there are a great deal of people that think the Vikings are classless for what they did, or at the very least displayed poor sportsmanship.

But regardless of what stance you’ve taken on this topic, it’s hard to deny that it was an unnecessary move for the Vikings. The Cowboys were out of timeouts, they couldn’t stop the clock following the two-minute warning and therefore it was virtually impossible that they were going to erase a 24-point deficit at that point. It’s not like this is the BCS and the Vikings needed style points – the game was over and therefore there was no need for a pass in that situation.

I wonder how Minnesota fans that have fully endorsed what the Vikings did would have acted if Favre snapped his femur while dropping back to pass. Think about the outrage that would have ensued had the Vikings’ Super Bowl hopes been dashed on a meaningless play late in a game that they already had locked up. Fans would have been calling for Childress’ head instead of wanting a picture of him and Favre re-painted to resemble “The Creation of Adam” on the Metrodome’s ceiling.

Forget the fact that Brooking and the Cowboys should have stopped the Vikings if they didn’t want to be embarrassed. It was a flat out stupid decision and an unnecessary risk by Childress and Favre to throw in that situation and they’re fortunate that something disastrous didn’t happen.

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Do the Cowboys have a right to be upset after Vikings run up the score?

There is an unwritten rule in sports about not running up the score when you have an opponent beaten. About the only exception to this rule is if said opponent had run up the score in a previous meeting.

On Sunday, the Vikings had their foot firmly placed on the Cowboys’ neck late in the fourth quarter. Up 27-3 with only two minutes remaining and the ball inside Dallas’ red zone, Minnesota could have ran a play on fourth down and not add any further embarrassment for the Cowboys. Instead, Brad Childress decided that one more score was in order and Brett Favre hit Visanthe Shiancoe on an 11-yard touchdown pass to put the cap on a 34-3 Vikings’ victory.

After the play, Dallas linebacker Keith Brooking went to Minnesota’s sidelines and started screaming at Favre, presumably because the Vikings decided to run up the score. Following the game, the FOX NFL Sunday broadcast pair of Jimmy Johnson and Terry Bradshaw debated whether or not Brooking and the Cowboys had a right to be upset. Johnson said Dallas should have stopped the Vikings if they didn’t want to be embarrassed, while Bradshaw claimed that it was a classless move by Minnesota.

Personally, I side with Johnson on this debate. If you don’t want a team to run up the score, then stop them. If you don’t want an opponent to embarrass you, then don’t embarrass yourself by getting into that position. After all, this isn’t a 7-year-old Pop Warner league – it’s the NFL. And don’t whine about it Cowboys – send a message that you’re not going to take that.

That said, I fully believe in karma and think Favre and Childress will get what’s coming to them. There was no reason to throw the ball in that spot and even though I agree that the Cowboys should have stopped them, it was still a classless move by the Vikings.

I’m sure I’ll catch some heat from Brett backers, but Favre’s act is getting tired. As a NFL fan, I loved watching him play this season and have always appreciated his enthusiasm for the game. But he pranced around the field today like a freaking ballerina on a mixture of coke and caffeine.

I won’t necessarily be cheering for this outcome, but I wouldn’t hesitate to crack a smile if the Saints rout the Vikings next Sunday.

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Does anybody want L.J. Smith?

At the start of the NFL free agency period, it appeared that free agent tight end L.J. Smith had two potential candidates to acquire his services: the Falcons and Lions.

In early March, Smith visited the Lions, but left Detroit without a contract. He then traveled to Atlanta and this past weekend, ESPN reported that Smith had chosen the Falcons and that a deal would be worked out soon.

But now the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting that the Falcons have ended their talks with the free agent and won’t pursue Smith going forward.

Smith’s options were down to Detroit and Atlanta. It seemed like the Falcons would easily be the winner. But Smith dragged his feet and the Falcons had a change of heart. In the end, they are a running team and Smith doesn’t block. That’s what football teams call “a bad scheme fit.”

Ironically, on the same day the Falcons decided to end contract negotiations with Smith, the Lions signed tight end Will Heller, formally of the Seahawks.

Chances are, Smith was asking for too much and the Falcons balked. There’s no sense overspending on a soon-to-be 29-year old tight end who doesn’t block and who comes with major injury concerns. Atlanta would love to give quarterback Matt Ryan a nice receiving target at tight end, but the draft is deep at that position this year so expect the Falcons to target one at some point next month. (Many will buy into the notion that the Falcons will go with Brandon Pettigrew in the first round if he’s available, but don’t forget that they have more pressing needs on the defensive side of the ball.)

So where will Smith wind up? The Lions could still be an option, but they seemed to have moved on after Smith snubbed them for Atlanta. As of right now, there doesn’t seem to be much of a market for the free agent, even though he’s currently the best tight end on the market.

Update: Apparently the Ravens wanted L.J

Did the Falcons snub Keith Brooking?

So I’m watching ESPN News the other day and this scrolls at the bottom of the screen: Falcons sign LB Mike Peterson.

Not a bad move.

Considering they lost Keith Brooking and Michael Boley to other teams in free agency, the Falcons were in desperate need of linebackers and Peterson is familiar with head coach Mike Smith and defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder from their days in Jacksonville. Plus, Peterson surely came cheaper than Brooking, which was part of the reason Atlanta GM Thomas Dimitroff allowed him to walk when he became a free agent last week. (Brooking wanted to re-sign with Atlanta, but eventually signed a three-year, $6 million contract with the Cowboys when it was clear the Falcons wanted to go in another direction.)

Then I read the details of Peterson’s contract: Two years, $6.5 million.

So the Falcons didn’t want Brooking back because he’s a 33-year old linebacker with deteriorating skills and is weak in coverage. Yet they signed Peterson (for more money mind you), who is a 32-year old linebacker with deteriorating skills, is weak in coverage and was suspended one game for pissing off his head coach (Jack Del Rio) last season?

Read the rest after the jump...

Cowboys sign LB Keith Brooking

Keith BrookingAccording to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Cowboys have agreed to a three-year deal with linebacker Keith Brooking, who will play inside in Dallas’s 3-4 defense.

Before this signing, Brooking had played his entire football career in the state of Georgia. He went to high school in the state, then went on to Georgia Tech before being drafted by the Falcons in the first round of the 1997 NFL Draft.

Brooking has experience in Wade Phillips’ 3-4 defense, so this signing makes sense on the surface. But he has clearly lost a step over the past three years and for being such an intense player, he’s not that physical. He doesn’t meet blockers head on, instead choosing to use his speed to get around linemen and make tackles on the run.

This certainly wasn’t a bad signing for Dallas because Brooking does have experience in this defense, is an outstanding leader and will do absolutely anything for the good of the team. He truly is one of the most professional players in the league and he did everything and anything the Falcons asked him to, including switching positions multiple times because of injuries to other players. He was also the last remaining player of the Falcons’ 1998 Super Bowl team.

But at this point in his career, Brooking probably won’t be much better than Zach Thomas was last year for the Cowboys. It’s highly doubtful he sees the final year of his three-year contract.

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