If you want to get excited about Jerome Simpson, check out this video at Vikings.com (more at Star Tribune). Actually, don't watch that video too many times if you are worried about having fantasies of 10-6. If you want to have fantasies of 10-6 watch that video like 300 times.
Hey, it's a great catch. But there's something about seeing Christian Ponder chucking the ball downfield and then grinning that makes me feel everything is going to be alright.
Antoine Winfield is still going to be important to the Vikings in 2012 (Pioneer Press). Good: Winfield is one of my favorite Vikings of all-time, and I want to appreciate him for as long as possible. Even if Winfield isn't as effective in coverage as he once was, a lot of the things he does that make him special at his position--tackling, blitzing, turning a game on a turnover--he should still be able to do.
Indeed, Winfield should still be able to make plays as a slot corner: tackling pass catchers to allow no yards after the catch, tackling on running plays, occasionally surprise-rushing a quarterback. But it's also likely opponents will try to take advantage of Winfield by putting their speediest downfield receiver in the slot and forcing Winfield to cover him. Winfield can be a really productive inside, underneath corner, if he's got safety help behind him. In the Tampa 2, the safeties should be there to help--but safety is still a big question mark for the Vikes, as their safeties have been struggling for years and now they may be relying on two rookie starters.
So here's my guess: if those safeties are good, we're going to read stories about the rejuvenation of Antoine Winfield. If those safeties suck, we're going to read stories about how Winfield is finished. Neither story will have much to do with Winfield's actual strengths and limitations, but rather the context around those strengths and limitations.
KG is ripping it up, and one reason Miami is down against Boston is how terribly they are defending him. In Game 5, there were quite a few plays where nobody really bothered to cover Garnett without the ball in the lane (coming off a pick, running down in transition, Heat defenders seemed to get mixed up about who would cover him and/or got there late) and Rajon Rondo found him with a pin-point pass.
Zach Lowe with more.
I'd call that a clean symbolic transition
From '99 to '11, only three teams won the Western Conference: the Mavericks, the Lakers, and the Spurs. To win the Western Conference this year, the Oklahoma City Thunder beat three teams: the Mavericks, the Lakers, and the Spurs. Sports is like a thousand monkeys with typewriters coming up with Shakespeare: so much stuff is happening, a lot of it mundane, but every once in a while there's a poetic narrative beauty to what happens.
Kick Ass Links
If Christian Ponder and Matt Kalil play together for 10-15 years, that will mean everything has worked out just fine (PFT, Star Tribune).
At The New Yorker, Jonah Lehrer examines the science of choking in sports.
As soon as I saw it, I hoped this "Good job! Good effort!" kid would become a meme (Grantland).
I hope right now a thousand internet people are putting that voice over to famous defeats or bad failures. I haven't been disappointed with the meme (Sports Pickle, Deadspin). Look, this is one of the things I like about modern life and the internet: you can't predict when a meme-worthy event is going to happen, but in all the stuff that is always happening, something surprising and amusing always does, and there are thousands of people ready to meme-ify it.
Jerry Seinfeld talks about the Mets (CBS New York, via New York).
I'm interested in how we create narratives out of the sometimes chaotic randomness of sports. Jay Caspian King examines how we make stories for great basketball players (Grantland).