Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene and advises you to never take his betting advice. He likes old guitars and old music, never eats press box hot dogs, and can be heard on 1500ESPN at 2:05 p.m. weekdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon.

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Posts about Lions

Who really cares?

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: November 19, 2009 - 2:24 PM

A SORT:

While I consider graduation rates to be worthwhile and sometimes interesting news, I personally don't care much whether Athlete A graduates from the University of Minnesota. I'm not sure why anyone does.

If my neighbor's kid earned a scholarship to the U and failed out, would I draw any grandiose conclusions? Would I assume that all teenagers from Lakeville are using the University for nefarious purposes, or that the parents were rotten, or that the kid's life was necessarily ruined? No, I'd feel a little sorry for the kid and hope that this brand of failure propelled him/her to something better.

Why would we view failing athletes any differently? They earned a scholarship by displaying talent in a particular field, much like a math or science whiz. They were given an opportunity to go to school for free. They blew it. So be it.

It's their loss, but I'm not sure it should be my concern.


An Informed Reader who is not a Gophers fan emailed me to say that he once asked a Gopher football fan why the fan base ``put up with Glen Mason.''

The fan's answer: ``Because we remember John Gutekunst.''


It is becoming fashionable to doubt LeBron James as a ``winner,'' as his new-look Cavaliers slog through the early season.

I hate this line of thinking. Dan Marino was an all-world quarterback; his inability to win a Super Bowl was not due to his passing skills; it was due to the players assembled around him.

John Elway didn't suddenly become a better quarterback during his last two years in the league; he was allowed to operate a passing system that better featured his talents, and he was given Terrell Davis, good receivers and a killer defense.

James could be slightly better at closing out games, but he is asked to do so much over 48 minutes that it isn't realistic to expect him to always be at his best in the last two. He doesn't have a Pippen. I'm not sure he even has a Paxson.

He put together one of the greatest all-around statistical seasons in basketball history last year, and he won games singlehandedly in the playoffs. He is already one of the greatest basketball players of all time. If he fails to win a title, the fault will be with the Cavs' executives who failed to take advantage of this rare talent.


My Vikings pick this week: Vikings 34, Seahawks 17. If I weren't so modest, I'd point out that I'm 9-0 on Vikings picks this year.

Penalties and turnovers kept the Vikings from scoring 40 last week. They'll play better this week, and the fact that the Seahawks are a better team than the Lions won't make much difference.


Upcoming: I'm writing about the Gophers athletic department for the Friday paper, then heading to Iowa to see Tim Brewster celebrate the greatest victory of his college playing career.

Scratch that.

You can follow me on Twitter at SouhanStrib. Or not.

I would mix in more pop-culture references, but I can't find time to watch TV or movies these days, and I'm sure you don't need any more references to my memories of the early days of Everybody Loves Raymond.

 

Vikings recap

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: November 15, 2009 - 7:05 PM

My latest Sport SORT (Series of Random Thoughts) following the Vikings' 27-10 victory over the Lions on Sunday at the Metrodome:

-We asked Brad Childress if Adrian Peterson could have done anything to prevent the fumble on his breakaway run, and he said that if this were a new stadium with a huge Jumbotron in each end zone, Adrian would have been able to see the defender coming up behind him.

I asked Brad if he was blaming the taxpayers of Minnesota for Peterson's fumble. He said, ``Whoever is responsible for us not having a Jumbotron.''

-I came out of this game really liking Lions rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford. He took a severe beating from the Vikings' defensive line, avoided a handful of sacks, threw well on the run, displayed a strong arm and rallied his team to make a game of it.

The key will be keeping him healthy. I covered the 1989 Dallas Cowboys during Troy Aikman's rookie year, and if he had played in every game, his career would have ended with zero Super Bowl rings.

-It's amazing how much this season's offensive success _ and Brett Favre, of course _ have changed our perceptions about the Vikings. Last year when they struggled against the Lions, they won 12-10, largely because of a bad call.

This year, when they ``struggled'' against the Lions at home, they won, 27-10; their quarterback passed for 344 yards; their running back ran for 133; their top receiver gained 201; and they didn't throw an interception.

Now, that's the way to struggle.

-Don't be surprised if you see a few more lackluster efforts down the stretch. Players can't perform at their peak every week; it goes against human nature.

-Best quote of the day, from tight end Visanthe Shiancoe: ``We're not trying to be 9-1; we're trying to be 15-1...We're trying to build an empire.''

-Gawd, I hate the Dome. Beautiful day, maybe one of the last of the winter, and we sat under Teflon watching the stinking Lions.

-Childress said Ray Edwards has quietly had a good year.

-Vikings fans are right, by the way: The safeties simply don't make enough plays. When the defensive line puts pressure on the quarterback and the safeties don't even come close to making interceptions, they lack range and instincts.

-I understand fan anger of the penalty to Ray Edwards for launching himself at the quarterback's head, but I am completely in favor of officials protecting quarterbacks. Because, if they don't, we will spend a lot of Sunday afternoons watching John David Booty quarterback against Sage Rosenfels.

Upcoming: I'm on Rosen Sports Sunday tonight. I'm the shorter guy with the smaller nose.

I'll be on with Reusse at 6:40 a.m. on am-1500, and on in St. Cloud on WJON at 7:14.

You can follow me on Twitter at Souhanstrib.

And: I promise you I will be ready for the Jackrabbits.

 

Gophers beat hated Jackrabbits

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: November 14, 2009 - 4:33 PM

My latest SORT (Series of Random Thoughts):

-The Gophers are getting worse. Their offense was pathetic against South Dakota State on Saturday, Adam Weber looks like he's regressed five years in the last three months, the Gophers have no running game, and anyone wanting to see this team get whipped in a bowl game is a masochist.

-I'm going to have Wolves boss David Kahn on the radio Sunday morning. He'd like to clear up what he says is a misperception about the Wolves' use of the Triangle Offense. I will apologize for calling anything they are doing right now an ``offense.''

-I think Kurt Rambis is a smart and tough guy, but I'm not sure he has the personality to last through a 10-72 season. It's one thing to say that you don't expect to win in a given season; it's another thing to survive the season with relationships and philosophies intact.

-Here's my preferred, realistic Twins infield for next April (before they blow it up and start all over, as they do every other year): Nick Punto at 2b (I know you hate him, but he's a good field who can turn the doubleplay, and if your No. 9 hitter hits .240, your No. 9 hitter hits .240. Get over it.); Hardy at SS (of course) and a veteran bridge at third who keeps the Twins from being dependent on Danny Valencia (maybe Pedro Felix, maybe Joe Crede, maybe someone who hasn't surfaced yet.)

One good thing for the Twins: Teams are increasingly reluctant to commit multiple years or big bucks to average, fill-a-gap players, meaning the kind of player the Twins usually covet in free agency might be more affordable.

-What a strange sports weekend: The visiting teams are the Detroit Lions, the Tennessee Tech basketball team, the South Dakota State football team, and the Bemidji State hockey team...and Bemidji State is the powerhouse.

-If the Gopher hockey team loses any more players, Lucia is going to have to have more kids.

-Upcoming: As always, you can follow me on twitter at SouhanStrib. Sunday I'll cover the Vikings-Lions game, Sunday night I'll be on Rosen's Sports Sunday with that slacker Mark Rosen, and Sunday morning I"ll host my show on am-1500, from 10-noon. Guests will include Wolves basketball boss David Kahn, Detroit Free Press columnist Michael Rosenberg (to talk Lions, Michigan football, Tigers, etc.) and OnMilwaukee.com columnist Drew Olson (to talk Packers, JJ Hardy, Brewers, Wisconsin sports, etc.)

Rosenberg and Olson are two of my favorite people in the business and great guests. Reusse will come on to do NFL picks.

Reusse got on me last week for not including the name of my co-host when I plugged the show. He's right. I should do that.

Remember, if you don't buy the newspaper, the terrorists win.

 

Favre still hasn't shaved

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: November 1, 2009 - 9:38 PM

I don't know how long this can last. I don't know how long a 40-year-old quarterback coming off arm surgery who skipped training camp can keep playing this well, and throwing with such zip.

I don't doubt that Favre drove the Packers bonkers for the last few years of his career, and I don't doubt that some Jets players found him to be a diva. I wouldn't be surprised if he fails physically in December or January.

I really don't care anymore. Sports are enterainment, and I'm not sure it's possible to watch anything more entertaining than the most prolific quarterback in NFL history playing brilliantly in a dynamic offense while offering a more dramatic storyline every week.

Favre is 7-1 as a Viking now, has beaten the Packers twice while throwing for seven touchdowns with no interceptions and taking no sacks, and he might have played his best game in his only loss.

The guy is a sportswriter's dream _ legendary, prolific, exciting, risk-taking, eloquent, emotional. I figured he'd play well in stretches, but I never dreamed he could play this well every week, and I never dreamed he could handle his emotions as well as he has in the two Packer victories.

The best practical aspect of this for Vikings fans is that, if Favre and the rest of the team keeps playing this well, Childress may get the opportunity to rest Favre down the stretch, so he's fresh for the playoffs.

It seems to me that the Vikings, as an organization, have attacked their flaws brilliantly the last couple of years. They needed a pass rusher? They got the best, in Jared Allen. They needed a deep threat? In comes Bernard Berrian. Percy Harvin falls in the draft? They take him without hesitation.

For all of the Childress-bashing that goes on in this town, this looks like a well-coached team to me. And now it's a well-coached team entering a bye week with a big lead in the division and the still-putrid Lions looming.

Speaking of sportswriter's dreams, how about playoff games in Atlanta and New Orleans, with a potential trip to Miami for the Super Bowl? A Super Bowl at the age of 40. Favre might even shave for that.

Looking ahead: My column for the Monday paper is on Favre, of course. Duh. I'll be on am-1500 with Reusse at 6:40, and on WJON in St. Cloud at 7:14. You can follow me on Twitter at SouhanStrib. I plan to write about Kevin Garnett's return to the Twin Cities for the Wednesday paper. If you don't want to pay for Access Vikings on the Star Tribune website, I have two recommendations for you:

1) Buy a paper. They're 50 cents, the last bargain in America. If you have developed an aversion to buying the newspaper, think of it this way: The information is free, and we'll print out all of our stuff _ along with crosswords, Soduku, coupons, editorials _ for just two quarters.

2) How much do you spend at the coffee shop in a day, for sugar and caffeine? Skip one day and you can get three months of Access Vikings, and Chip and Judd (or as I call them, Chudd) finish each other's sentences 24 hours a day. I mean, I'm not a very nice guy, but Chudd would drive to your house and read their stories to you if you subscribed. Seriously. Stop being so cheap. I know how much you spend on beer.

As I get more accustomed to writing a blog, I may invite a few guest-posters on to discuss basketball, music, pop culture, etc. I think my FSN colleague Mike McCollow and his entire extended family may just highjack this blog and fill it with references to Bill Self, Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers, MadMen, the British version of The Office (of course) and Larry David.

Re: Larry David, I'll just say of Favre: Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good. Favre is up there among my favorite athletes, right along with Super Dave Osborne (aka Marty Funkhouser.)

--------------------------

As for the Gopher football team, I believe Tim Brewster and Adam Weber both saved their jobs on Saturday night. And I'm happy for Weber.

---------------------------

 

 

Favre still hasn't shaved

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: November 1, 2009 - 9:38 PM

I don't know how long this can last. I don't know how long a 40-year-old quarterback coming off arm surgery who skipped training camp can keep playing this well, and throwing with such zip.

I don't doubt that Favre drove the Packers bonkers for the last few years of his career, and I don't doubt that some Jets players found him to be a diva. I wouldn't be surprised if he fails physically in December or January.

I really don't care anymore. Sports are enterainment, and I'm not sure it's possible to watch anything more entertaining than the most prolific quarterback in NFL history playing brilliantly in a dynamic offense while offering a more dramatic storyline every week.

Favre is 7-1 as a Viking now, has beaten the Packers twice while throwing for seven touchdowns with no interceptions and taking no sacks, and he might have played his best game in his only loss.

The guy is a sportswriter's dream _ legendary, prolific, exciting, risk-taking, eloquent, emotional. I figured he'd play well in stretches, but I never dreamed he could play this well every week, and I never dreamed he could handle his emotions as well as he has in the two Packer victories.

The best practical aspect of this for Vikings fans is that, if Favre and the rest of the team keeps playing this well, Childress may get the opportunity to rest Favre down the stretch, so he's fresh for the playoffs.

It seems to me that the Vikings, as an organization, have attacked their flaws brilliantly the last couple of years. They needed a pass rusher? They got the best, in Jared Allen. They needed a deep threat? In comes Bernard Berrian. Percy Harvin falls in the draft? They take him without hesitation.

For all of the Childress-bashing that goes on in this town, this looks like a well-coached team to me. And now it's a well-coached team entering a bye week with a big lead in the division and the still-putrid Lions looming.

Speaking of sportswriter's dreams, how about playoff games in Atlanta and New Orleans, with a potential trip to Miami for the Super Bowl? A Super Bowl at the age of 40. Favre might even shave for that.

Looking ahead: My column for the Monday paper is on Favre, of course. Duh. I'll be on am-1500 with Reusse at 6:40, and on WJON in St. Cloud at 7:14. You can follow me on Twitter at SouhanStrib. I plan to write about Kevin Garnett's return to the Twin Cities for the Wednesday paper. If you don't want to pay for Access Vikings on the Star Tribune website, I have two recommendations for you:

1) Buy a paper. They're 50 cents, the last bargain in America. If you have developed an aversion to buying the newspaper, think of it this way: The information is free, and we'll print out all of our stuff _ along with crosswords, Soduku, coupons, editorials _ for just two quarters.

2) How much do you spend at the coffee shop in a day, for sugar and caffeine? Skip one day and you can get three months of Access Vikings, and Chip and Judd (or as I call them, Chudd) finish each other's sentences 24 hours a day. I mean, I'm not a very nice guy, but Chudd would drive to your house and read their stories to you if you subscribed. Seriously. Stop being so cheap. I know how much you spend on beer.

As I get more accustomed to writing a blog, I may invite a few guest-posters on to discuss basketball, music, pop culture, etc. I think my FSN colleague Mike McCollow and his entire extended family may just highjack this blog and fill it with references to Bill Self, Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers, MadMen, the British version of The Office (of course) and Larry David.

Re: Larry David, I'll just say of Favre: Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good. Favre is up there among my favorite athletes, right along with Super Dave Osborne (aka Marty Funkhouser.)

--------------------------

As for the Gopher football team, I believe Tim Brewster and Adam Weber both saved their jobs on Saturday night. And I'm happy for Weber.

---------------------------

 

 

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