Thursday, October 25, 2012

National Thursday League, Week 8

These Thursday games can really mess with the patterns of autumn. I have a Sunday ritual, and I suspect many of you do too. On Seinfeld, Kramer and Newman once argued about whether Tuesdays or Wednesdays have a feel. Well, Thursday has a feel, and it usually doesn't involve watching my favorite football team.  So I'm making new Thursday game ritual, one heavily featuring donuts.

Vikings-Buccaneers Preview

The Bucs are kind of good.

At 2-4, they've actually outscored their opponents. All four of their losses have been by seven points or fewer. They can do some things that could hurt the Vikings: they can stop the run (they're giving up a league-leading 3.1 yards per rush) and they can throw deep (Vincent Jackson averages 21.7 yards per catch, Mike Williams 19.4).

Get ready to be tired and emotionally drained Friday morning: I think this game is going down to the wire. These teams are closer together in talent than their records suggest, and neither team really appears built to blow out a competent opponent. The teams will probably be sloppy and sluggish, as teams tend to be with three days in between games. Your emotions will be pushed up and down numerous times over three and a half hours, and at the end you will either feel utter relief or crushing disappointment (there are no other choices, I'm afraid).

Adrian Peterson
There comes a point when it is easy to take an athlete for granted. When a basketball player averages 30 points per game, a single 30 point game itself seems pretty unimpressive: for that player it is an average game, after all. And I realize now that years from now I'll regret it that I took Adrian Peterson for granted. Even as I know I'm doing it, it is sometimes hard to appreciate the beauty of his performance.

There are great running backs in history that I never really enjoyed watching. I can't, for example, recall any single play from Ladanian Tomlinson's career, despite the stellar production (the plays that stick in my head are all those passes he threw, actually). But there are other running backs whose very movements are poetic. Barry Sanders. Gale Sayers. And Adrian Peterson is now in that league.

Adrian Peterson finds that hole and cuts, and bursts, and twists, and speeds, and powers through with such a familiar vibe that each amazing run blends in with the others. When you look at a single play, you might be awe-struck, but the accumulation of those plays can overwhelm the memory. It's something like Shakespeare's sonnets. When you consider them as a whole, you know you are looking at an amassed collection of some of the greatest flourishes ever produced in the English language. But if you pick one of those sonnets out and focus our attention on it, you are overcome by the intensity of the genius at work. A single sonnet by Shakespeare can overtake you with its creative energy, destroy your sensibilities, take away your belief that anything else could be this good. And that's Adrian Peterson right now. If you pick a single one of his brilliant runs, you will see creative genius at work.

So appreciate what we're seeing. This is a player we'll be telling kids and grandkids about.

The Commercial Life
You know that commercial where those guys show up to a party and there are all these women dancing, but then all the KFC chicken is gone, so they leave the party to go to KFC and eat chicken? During Sunday's football game, this happened:

PV: Those guys are fools.
Son of PV: Why?
PV: Because they can get chicken anytime.
Son of PV: [wild laughter]

I don't know if he knew why he thought it was funny.

Fantasy Box
If you want to double the fun of waiver claims, do yourself a favor: get your league to switch to blind auction bidding for free agents. It's good on every level. For one thing, you get to spend more time thinking about your own roster moves, and isn't thinking too much about your team really what fantasy football is all about? Second, when those Yahoo assigns players to your roster, it is like a little Christmas. Every Wednesday morning I get up and check to see what gifts I've been granted by the Spirit of Fantasy Football. And finally, you get the joys of checking to see who lost out on bids. Isn't seeing your friends lose at things really what fantasy football is about?

Kick-Ass Links
Chris Kluwe gets a big profile in the City Pages.

So now I understand: Arian Foster is a hipster who happens to be an excellent running back.

I mean, don't forget to go to work and stuff. Then have a good weekend after that.  The Vikes don't have a Sunday game, so the weekend is just a bit more open. So have a good one, suckers. Except Packer fans.


  1. When you compared Adrian Peterson to Shakespeare, I immediately thought of Calvin & Hobbes. Brilliant comic strip, worth looking at one per day (as when it was published in the newspaper) and appreciate the philosophy and clever humor of each in turn, but also all too easy to devour an entire book of it as they were released. My memory is overwhelmed with Calvin & Hobbes, but that's nice in a way. I can go back and read my old books and be pleasantly surprised by several strips I'd forgotten just enough to make them enjoyable again.

    Ditto for the Simpsons. I currently own 15 seasons on DVD and few things bring me more happiness than being able to watch something I've watched a dozen times before and still genuinely enjoy.

    Tonight is "family football night" for my wife and I and our three kiddos. I have fond memories of watching Monday Night Football (until halftime) with my dad, and I hope to create some of the same magic for my kids tonight.

  2. The NFL is a QB league and we don't have one. Ponder is a manager, not a player.

    1. Anon 7:05 PM:

      Right now he's not managing a game, either. There is time to right the ship. But his play is concerning.

  3. Well, Tampa's left tackle sure is a giant turd, huh?

    1. I will not be speaking about this game. Ever.