Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could convince the world to love jumpsuits as much as he does. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.
Follow Randball on Twitter
Yes, the ol' Gunslinger was pretty excited about it all.
Per the Hattiesburg American:
As the final seconds ticked off, the Warrior sideline erupted in joy, and the center of attention was former NFL MVP Brett Favre, who has volunteered as the Warriors offensive coordinator the past three seasons.
"I can't say it's a Super Bowl, but it's pretty close," said Favre. "It really is. It's a different kind of feeling, but I'm awfully proud of these kids."
Almost as notable: Favre sported a grizzled beard in postgame pictures (via the AP).
Quarterbacks Jordan Lynch of Northern Illinois, Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M, AJ McCarron of Alabama and Jameis Winston of Florida State were all invited to the Heisman ceremony on Saturday (8 p.m. ET, ESPN). Auburn's Tre Mason and Boston College's Andre Williams are the running backs.
That's a pretty good list, but what we like better is the trivia.
Lynch, of course, used to play for Jerry Kill with NIU in the MAC. And it's been a while since the MAC had a Heisman finalist. How long?
The last two players from the MAC to be named a finalist for the Heisman were Marshall wide receiver Randy Moss in 1997 and Marshall quarterback Chad Pennington in 1999. Moss finished fourth behind Peyton Manning, Ryan Leaf and Charles Woodson while Pennington was fifth, placing behind Ron Dayne, Joe Hamilton, Drew Brees and Michael Vick
After the turn of the century, the MAC has placed several players in the top 10 of the voting, but none were invited to New York for the final ceremony.
Marshall's Byron Leftwich finished sixth in 2002 while Miami (Ohio) quarterback Ben Roethlisberger placed ninth in 2003. Ball State QB Nate Davis was eighth in 2008.
There's your MAC history lesson for the day, and a great reason to write a headline with Moss in it.
It was an eventful Monday news conference with Vikings coach Leslie Frazier, who revealed that the NFL called him (unsolicited) about transpired in Baltimore -- the officiating, not the snowballs. Frazier said it was the second time this season the league has called him. He declined to say what the other game was, but he did say it was early in the season, and it sounded like it was in another narrow loss (which unfortunately doesn't narrow it down much).
The bigger news? Christian Ponder has passed his concussion tests and is cleared to play. Frazier said that means the staff will once again begin the process of evaluating who the starting QB will be for Sunday's home game against the Eagles.
Our sincere hope, of course, is that this is just Frazier lip service designed to buy some time and plant whatever seed of doubt might exist with the Eagles. What we do know is this: Adrian Peterson is banged up, with the result of his MRI still unknown. Toby Gerhart, we learned, has a strained hamstring and his status is in question. With a potentially gimpy running game, the choice should be even easier: Matt Cassel.
Cassel has played significant minutes in four games this season: three starts and a relief effort against Chicago. Two of those games represent two-thirds of the Vikings' victories this season. Another, Sunday, represents a game in which he twice directed TD drives with less than two minutes remaining, only to be stung by the defense and special teams. Ponder, too, has been stung by the D on a few occasions. But it has never been in the context of "he did everything he could do, and the team still came up short."
Josh Freeman? At this point, do the Vikings even bother? Cassel is playing respectably. Ponder is the only one under contract next season (Cassel has a contract clause for a second year, but either he or the Vikings can void it). Maybe the Vikings would turn to Freeman seeing as how they are officially eliminated from the playoffs, but it seems hard to picture at this point.
Hopefully the Vikings will make it easy on all of us and name Cassel the starter for the final three games -- if for nothing else than to see what might have been had he played a full seasons.
Adrian Peterson seems like one of those athletes who is virtually unflappable when it comes to letting something bug him for very long. On the field he often has a smile on his face; even when he makes a mistake or the Vikings mess up, he always appears to be one to turn the page quickly.
Maybe we don't know him well enough to make that judgment. It's just our perception. And as such, it was surprising to see his frustration boil over Sunday in various mediums as it pertained to both the officiating and the fan behavior in Baltimore.
We happened to be listening to his rawest emotions during KFAN's postgame show, when he ripped officials and Baltimore fans pretty good. By the time reporters caught up with him postgame, the message hadn't changed much.
“Some of the calls that were made. To me, it was kind of one of those games where it was like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe that was called,'" Peterson said. “Then, to top it off, they got the worst fans in the NFL throwing snowballs the entire fourth quarter like kids. It was a bad feeling, a bad experience.”
He also had this stream of thoughts on his Twitter feed:
What does it all mean? Well, at the very least Sunday's game set him off. Frustration over leaving the game because of injury certainly could have played a role, though the two circumstances he mentioned (refs and snowballs) are definitely gripe-worthy.
Then again, his tone in an expansive interview with Mark Craig that appeared in the Sunday Star Tribune also reflected some hints of frustration. Consider this passage:
Asked to describe his level of frustration with the quarterback situation, Peterson thought for a moment. He’s never been one to complain.
“It can be frustrating at times when it’s just not consistent at that position,” Peterson said. “It makes it harder on the run in a sense. … I think the play will pick up. I feel like we just need someone that can have the mind-set that they want to be a champion at the quarterback position.”
Asked if the Vikings need an elite quarterback to win the Super Bowl, even with him on the team, Peterson didn’t hesitate.
“I don’t necessarily think so,” he said. “We need someone who can manage the game. I feel like the quarterback of the team is someone who just needs to manage and get the job done. But I would surely expect that person to go in with the mind-set of, ‘Hey, I’m the leader of this team.’ The same mind-set that I have. I feel like that would be the best solution.”
Again, justified and nothing really controversial. But as Craig noted, Peterson isn't one to complain. Maybe what we're seeing is a man pushed too far -- at least until he gets a quarterback, full health and a snowball-free game.
The Vikings are 3-9-1. They deserve every bit of that record because in the NFL, you are what your record says you are.
That said, Sunday marked the FOURTH time this season that the Vikings have given up a winning TD in the final minute after being ahead. Four times. At Chicago. Cleveland. At Dallas. At Baltimore.
But this one ... oh, this one ... this time the Vikings out-Vikingsed themselves.
We all saw it, so there is no need to rehash all of the details. But suffice to say, we know of no other team that could score a go-ahead TD ... give it right back on a kick return ... get it right back with 45 seconds left ... and then let a team march 80 yards in those 45 seconds to gut-punch them for a second time.
We were watching at a bar in St. Cloud with our good pal RandBallsStu, and it really tied a bow around this 13-game stretch. We were at the same bar for Game 1 of the season, when the Vikings looked to be in command against Detroit until crippling Christian Ponder interception tilted the game completely.
The Vikings have been completely outclassed in three of 13 games this season: against Carolina, at Green Bay and at Seattle. They could have competed at New York, but their QB situation was at its messiest.
In nine of the 13 games, they have ... three victories, all of them down to the wire ... those aforementioned four losses on TDs in the final minute ... the tie against the Packers after leading 23-7 in the fourth quarter ... and that loss to Detroit, a game they could have commanded.
This is the fine line in the NFL. With a few more plays from their defense or their quarterback along the way, the Vikings are a .500 team.
Instead, they were the epitome of themselves Sunday, and they added another loss to that 3-9-1 ledger.