Tag Archives: NFL

Police Shootings

So, three things have happened:

  1. The calendar flipped to February
  2. A shooting occurred in my little home town involving a cop
  3. The Super Bowl ended

Okay, four things – I am beginning to study and learn R.

I’ve known about the effort at the Washington Post to record all of the police shootings in the US since 2015.  Because the requirements to self report are terrible, the Post relies on local news coverage, eye witness accounts and even social media to obtain the data they keep for each shooting.  This means that often all of those details are not available for days or even weeks.  I’m hoping that with us moving into February, the details surrounding 2017 incidents are complete.

The news out of my little corner of the world in Southwest Minnesota kinda nudged me back to this reality.

Both of these things were timed with the ending of the NFL’s 2017 season which, of course, carried with it the Anthem protests carried out by many NFL players.

As the Minnesota Vikings transformed their year from disastrous to glorious I bought a new vehicle.  This car had the advantage of Bluetooth connectivity which allowed me the luxury of listening to Twin Cities sports talk radio.  Which meant that my normal listening patterns were thrown into chaos.  The winner?  ESPN 1500 talk.  The loser?  1A.

But before 1A gave way to the Vikings I did listen to a number of shows that mentioned the kneeling protests.  From the interviews I listened to I understand the reason the players were kneeling was to protest the treatment of people of color in the United States, specifically treatment at the hands of police.

With the data now in for 2015, 16 and 17, the NFL season concluded and the violent reminder of such encounters, I am going to try and look into the data and see what there is to see.

And So Is The Beginning Of The End Of The NFL

I can’t say I don’t have mixed feelings:

“A Colorado jury has awarded $11.5 million in a lawsuit originally brought against helmet maker Riddell and several high school administrators and football coaches over brain injuries suffered by a teenager in 2008.” While the jury rejected the plaintiff’s claim of design defect, it accepted the theory that the helmet maker should have done more to warn of concussions. “The jury assessed 27 percent of the fault for Rhett Ridolfi’s injuries, making the company responsible for paying $3.1 million of the damages.” Riddell has been hit with a wave of lawsuits from both school and professional football players.

It’s over people.


Going through some old Facebook and found this from late last year.  I think it’s important now as my son continues to love football and the draft is coming up.

While the NFL took a step in protecting defensive players this year, there is still work to do.  And until then, I have to begin backing away from the game.

Last year I watched every game the Vikes played.  This year it will only be half and I’ll not talk about or encourage football for the boy.  Not until the NFL begins to seriously protect these kids:

  • Eject players for intentional shots to the head
  • Suspend them for the same
  • Same for shots to defenseless receivers

Anyway, check it out:

I grew up in Minnesota, I was born in 1968. Some of my earliest memories were running the 3 or so blocks from my church at 11:50 on a Sunday morning so that I could be in front of the TV at noon. We were lucky because the Vikings would play their home games on the CBS channel, which in those days meant a LOT. See, the CBS station came over the VHF, channel 12, a channel unlike the UHF channels that carried the other games.

I remember Fran and Carl. Chuck and Krause. Did you know that the greatest defensive end in the entirety of the whole world once returned a fumble the wrong way resulting in a safety for the other team? I remember Jim Marshall.

I was a kid not yet old enough to drive when I would go to the campus of Mankato State where the Vikings would practice. I stood on a sidewalk in the middle of that campus, a piece of paper in my hand and a pencil. Alan Page, the only defensive player ever to win the NFL’s MVP award, was running towards me. I wanted his autograph. He didn’t blink as he ran by me, ready to run OVER me if I hadn’t jumped out of his way.

I remember Rashad [hearing about] and the Browns. Kramer and the Eagles. Young and the scramble. Pearson and the push.

My lunch box had all the NFL teams on it – Before Tampa Bay and Seattle.

I know that we passed on a Hall of Fame running back to draft a piece of shit who would drop the game winning TD against the Redskins that kept us from the Superbowl. Can you believe that we choose Darrin Nelson over Marcus Allen?

I played football for hours; for days. We would play in the street catching toe touching in bounds passes against the curb falling into the grass pretending that we were Sammy White. We used to go see the guys practice at summer camp. We had them autograph every card they ever had made.

I know about Kansas City, Miami. I remember Pittsburgh and Oakland.

I bleed Purple.

And now I have a son. And since I’ve had his older sister I’ve been throwing balls to my kids. The girl could catch and throw at 2. The boy has been watching Vikings games his entire life. As he moves from a gangly toddler to a clumsy grade schooler I practice. Day after day. And now, just now, he’s able to catch a fade, a fly and is even able to adjust his route and his velocity to accommodate me guiding him deeper or shallower; left or right. Truly a father’s joy.

The little bastard is just like me. He runs like the wind and catches everything thrown close.

But the reason I didn’t make a good football player was that I was a pussy. I couldn’t take a hit. And the reason that I couldn’t take a hit was that the juice wasn’t worth the squeeze. I wasn’t gonna make my mark in this life like that. The same God that granted me the ability to hit a sparrow at 30 yards, or throw ten straight bulls eyes at 8 paces; catch any ball thrown to me, gave me the mind that has allowed me to be who I am.

On any given Sunday I buy my ticket to the Colosseum. I knowingly and willingly watch and cheer and roar with approval as my team engages in combat with our enemy. I loudly and admittedly yell “Kill him” as John Randle chases down his prey. As Doleman his. Or Allen his.

But my son watches me. And he sees what I approve of. And he wants to be that. He has learned to love that.

And these men kill themselves. With guns. To their heads.

My child, MY kid, wants to play football. And I can’t let him; there is no way. Boys 10-12 years old are taking concussions. Boys not yet 20 years old are ruining their lives. And yet, in it all, we have players in the game PAYING a bounty to hurt other players. No one doubts that they did it; there’s no justification in their actions. The only defense is that everybody else does it too. As if that’s justification.

I’m nearing the end of my love affair with football. These boys are modern day gladiators; they’re being maimed and killed for our love of bloodlust. And the Saints had the unfortunate fortune of being in the perfect storm; they were caught during my enlightenment AND they cheated against my Vikings.

If you love the game, punish the Saints and save the players. If you aren’t willing to do that, well, Hail Caesar!

Thoughts On The NFL

If you could know that would die at age 76, would you play NFL football, earn $20 million, and know that you would instead die at age 66?


Mostly because I’m pissed at the Vikings and the way they played tonight, I’m posting this fun picture from this weekend:

He has done something that no other tight end has done since 2010.

Which is last year.


Luck and Skill

Like just about everything else, football is a game that combines intuition, skill and luck.  There are a lot of things that are repeatable and therefore predictable.  Equally, there are a lot of things that are just dumb luck.

Things that are predictable?

Offensive Passing Efficiency.

Things that are Dumb Luck?

Defensive Interceptions.

And one other very important thing that is often just dumb luck.

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