Turkey of the Year 2005: Bob Naegele

  • Updated: November 21, 2012 - 8:15 PM

The Turkey Committee decided to simplify its task way back in 1983 and started showing a great bias toward Minnesota-based winners for the grand award.

There has been only one Turkey of the Year without a Minnesota connection in the 22 years since the committee's philosophical change. That was Kerri Strug, the squeaky-voiced gymnast who made herself a hero of the 1996 Olympics by overhyping an ankle injury and allowing her crazed coach, Bela Karolyi, to carry her around Atlanta like a sack of new potatoes.

We might as well get this out of the way early in today's Turkey Banquet:

The committee gave consideration to Mark Downs Jr. of suburban Pittsburgh as a contender to break Minnesota's hold on top turkey.

You will remember Downs as the tee ball coach who offered one ofhis players $25 to hit a teammate with a baseball. The target was a child with autism. Downs was hoping a solid bump with a baseball would enable him to avoid playing the kid in that day's game.

Eventually, committee members decided they didn't want to be in Downs' company, and thus he wasn't issued a banquet invitation.

It also must be revealed that our ever-vigilant members have been focused in one area since the first of the preliminary selection meetings took place in May.
 
A committeeman rose that day (we'll call him Darkman, to protect his identity) and said: "I'm sure that you saw the Original Whizzinator headlines this week. I really think it's about time for us to acknowledge that, without the Minnesota Vikings as an organization, the Turkey Banquet would have long since faded away.

"Without the drunken driving, sexual harassing, ticket scalping, Moons in the driveway and moons in Lambeau, without the Herschel trade, Pecos River and eating peanut butter from a diaper, without taking a knee, 41-0 and Nate Poole, and now the Whizzinator - without all of this, we would have been eating our Thanksgiving cranberries at home long ago."

The committee chairman never heard so many hoo-rahs in the long, emotional history of Turkey meetings.

And since then, we've had the flotilla from Al and Alma's for the aquatic version of the Arctic Blast, followed by an Old Testament-sized Code of Conduct that apparently suggests players take part in intimate contact only with a committed mate for the purpose of procreation.
 
There's no question about it. The Turkeys of the Year come and go, but when it comes to being a fowled-up organization, the Vikings are unchallenged every year for persistent, spectacular embarrassment.

As you might have anticipated, today's banquet has been moved to the waters of Lake Minnetonka. The folks at Al and Alma's hung up on us when we said a number of Vikings would be in attendance, so the Turkey cruise was booked at Bert and Bertha's, the competitors on the other side of the lake.

Guests are reminded that, rather than the Turkey Banquet's tradition of formal wear, today's dress is optional.

The Turkey envelopes, please.

- Michelle Wie: First pro tournament, she got away with unofficial cheating once - hitting it in a bush and finagling a free drop by claiming an aversion to bees. So, she tried to cheat more blatantly the next time she found foliage, and was turned inby Sports Illustrated's Michael Bamberger. Congratulations to him, since no one else was willing to give this brat a comeuppance.

- Daunte Culpepper: The quarterback's one-day walkout in Mankato earned him an $8 million boost in contract cash, then he took a giant leap backwards in performance before ripping up his knee in Game 7. And what the final results of Sex Cruise might do to his good-guy image Minnesota is still waiting for that.

- Bret Boone: How could anyone come in as a replacement for Luis Rivas at second base and be a downgrade? Boone managed it.

- Justin Morneau: In March, he was called Joe Mauer's partner in the best combination of young hitters in the major leagues. By September, injured teammate Torii Hunter was throwing a punch at Morneau, perhaps figuring it was the only way in Morneau's first full season to get anything into what seemed to be a noggin filled with Canadian granite.

- Dave Lee: He's a nice fellow, but how much of his supercilious homerism must radio listeners to Gophers football withstand? Last Saturday, the Gophers were being nudged 35-0 by Iowa, and Lee was complaining about favorable spots of the ball for the Hawkeyes. This is the Big Ten, Dave, not Bertha Hewitt High. Professional it up a bit.

- Lou Holtz: Gosh, Lou all the time you have spent on camera for ESPN, you haven't offered much insight into the probation-producing NCAA violations you left behind with the South Carolina Gamecocks.

- Brett Favre: The once-great Packer showed it again Monday: In his dotage as a quarterback, he would rather throw extra-quick at high risk of interception, than wait a tick and face the possibility of getting hit. Favre's team is 2-8 - a reflection of many negatives, including his transformation from swashbuckler to gunshy.

- Reggie Fowler: Reggie, we have a spot for you over here at the table with Tom Clancy, Donald Watkins, Sacco Babacas and T. Denny Sanford.

- Tim Pawlenty: We can see the re-election billboards now, Governor: "Still proud to be standing on both sides of the stadium issue."

- Rashad McCants: Real men - especially NBA rookies - don't wear leotards.

And now, the 2005 Turkey finalists are asked to wobble on sea legs to the front table.

- Third runner-up: Onterrio Smith, Vikings. Quote of the year: "I'm carrying this Whizzinator and dried urine for my cousin."

- Second runner-up: Fred Smoot, Vikings. Credit card, cruise, covering Carolina's Steve Smith and Smith paddling his imaginary boat in the end zone all make for a succulent Turkey.

- First runner-up: Terry Ryan, Twins. After a season in which the general manager did nothing as his team sunk from wild-card contention, Ryan offered up coach Al Newman as a scapegoat. This has been followed by offering Joe Vavra (three home runs in 1,187 minor league at-bats) as the new hitting coach to cure what ails the powerful Morneau and the other flailing failures.

Add it up, and Terry's Twins clearly are gathering momentum for a return to the glory of 1993-2000.
 
And now, as we get ready to introduce Turkey of the Year No. 28, you are asked to remember the respect with which the committee always has treated cheapness.

Carl Pohlad, the only two-time Turkey, cheap. Norm Green, cheap (and goofy). Red McCombs, cheap (and conniving).

The 2005 Turkey of the Year will be considered a reach by some, but when it comes to being cheap, this owner has a chance to put his dollar-squeezing predecessors to shame.

Yes, our newest Turkey is Bob Naegele, the Wild's chairman of the board.

He enthusiastically joined the 17-month lockout, then decided not to share in a league-wide trend of rewarding fans with reduced ticket prices. Also, the guarantee of another winter of sellouts did not prevent Naegele from having his GM, Doug Risebrough, come in at roughly a $26 million payroll - $10-12 million under the new salary cap.

That money goes into the pockets of Naegele and his partners, rather than offering a share of it to a free agent with whom the ticket buyers might have been familiar.

But don't worry, down there in those $90 seats. Naegele still has that jersey hanging in the rafters, telling the fans that you're No. 1.

We have a jersey for you today, Bob - big Turkey on the front and a dollar sign on the back.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
Toronto 110 FINAL
LA Clippers 98
Boston 88 FINAL
Washington 101
Orlando 102 FINAL
Charlotte 94
Memphis 103 FINAL
Miami 95
Indiana 110 FINAL
Brooklyn 85
New Orleans 100 FINAL
Chicago 107
Atlanta 90 FINAL
Milwaukee 85
Philadelphia 71 FINAL
Utah 88
New York 129 FINAL
Sacramento 135
Minnesota 97 FINAL
Golden State 110
NY Islanders 3 FINAL(SO)
Buffalo 4
Detroit 3 FINAL(OT)
Ottawa 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
New Jersey 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 3
Boston 2 FINAL
Columbus 6
Winnipeg 4 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 3
Washington 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 0
Dallas 4 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Nashville 4
Anaheim 1 FINAL(SO)
Arizona 2
Chicago 5 FINAL
Colorado 2
Edmonton 1 FINAL
Calgary 4
San Jose 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 3
Indiana 87 FINAL
Georgetown 91
Maine 43 FINAL
Seton Hall 72
UNC-Wilmington 82 FINAL
Minnesota 108
Georgia State 61 FINAL
Green Bay 78
Jacksonville St 61 FINAL
Jacksonville 75
Kentucky 58 FINAL
Louisville 50
Northern Ky 55 FINAL
Northwestern 76
UAB 58 FINAL
North Carolina 89
IUPUI 55 FINAL
Pepperdine 53
Santa Clara 60 FINAL
St Marys-CA 73
Oakland 56 FINAL
Maryland 72
Gonzaga 87 FINAL
BYU 80
Mercer 77 FINAL
Georgia 86
San Francisco 77 FINAL
Pacific 71
Wright State 55 FINAL
Ohio State 100
Presbyterian 65 FINAL
Virginia Tech 87
Brescia 42 FINAL
Western Ky 89
Tennessee St 46 FINAL
Tennessee 67
Kennesaw St 45 FINAL
Illinois 93
Colorado State 58 FINAL
New Mexico St 57
Portland 61 FINAL
San Diego 58
Wayland Baptist 63 FINAL
Utah State 75
Bristol University 59 FINAL
Weber State 109
Sacramento St 74 FINAL
Utah Valley U 49
Southern Utah 45 FINAL
UNLV 79
SD Christian 50 FINAL
San Diego St 72
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 42 FINAL
(24) USC 45
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Florida
SMU 45 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 96
UCF 64 FINAL
Houston 50
BYU 62 FINAL
Gonzaga 78
Pacific 92 FINAL
San Francisco 54
St Marys-CA 62 FINAL
Santa Clara 61
San Diego 87 FINAL
Portland 65

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite Gophers head coach?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close