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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Speaking with writers who have covered him and various NFL people this week in New York, I’ve heard great things about new Vikings coach Mike Zimmer.
The consensus: Zimmer is a tough, genuine guy, demanding but likeable, and forthright with the public and press. And that he’s also an excellent coach.
As the Vikings found with Leslie Frazier, having a likeable, respected head coach is a great organizational asset.
So why are the Vikings screwing up Zimmer’s first few weeks as head coach?
Zimmer has already hired all, or nearly all, of his assistant coaches, but the Vikings haven’t announced the moves. By the time the Vikings holds a press conference to introduce the staff, the news will be old, the Vikings will look silly, and the introductions will seem stilted.
By delaying the announcements, the Vikings look hopelessly slow and obtuse.
Zimmer’s success and failure will depend on wins and losses, but it doesn’t hurt to make a good first impression, and the Vikings are making no impression at all right now.
I'll be on WJON in St. Cloud at 7:15 a.m. tomorrow, and on 1500ESPN in the Twin Cities at noon. We'll run Sunday Sports Talk on 1500ESPN from 10-noon Sunday.
As I sit on a boat docked off Jersey City, waiting for the Broncos to speak this morning, I'm contemplating the Seahawks' divergent approaches to the demands of Super Bowl week.
Richard Sherman, the master marketer, has capitalized on the profile he raised with his post-game rant at the NFC title game by being accomodating, funny, glib. His teammate Marshawn Lynch has reluctantly answered a few questions each day before departing, risking a large fine from the NFL.
In my younger days, I believed that athletes should be forced to cooperate with interviewers. I still believe it's part of their job. But there is no effective way to make someone forthcoming, or interesting, or engaging. There are a lot of athletes I've covered I wish never conducted interviews, because the interviews are a waste of time if the interviewee has nothing to say.
Yesterday, Lynch had a teammate field questions. The teammate would then forward the question to Lynch, who was sitting next to him. Lynch would offer a one-word answer, then the teammate would offer an interpretation, attempting at humor, and sometimes succeeding in being funny.
if that's the best you're going to get from Lynch, that's the best you're going to get from Lynch.
Some people aren't cut out for mass media. They're naturally private, or quiet, or introverted. Lynch being uncooperative is actually much more interesting than Lynch using the more common approach of recycling cliches until everyone leaves him alone.
I'll be on WJON IN St. Cloud at 7:15 a.m. and on 1500ESPN at noon. Mark Craig and I will be writing stories, columns, notes and blog posts from the Super Bowl all week. My Twitter handle is @Souhanstrib.
The Seahawks have zero players who have played in a Super Bowl.
The Broncos have four - Peyton Manning, Wes Welker, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Jacob Tamme. Manning is the only current Broncos player with a ring.
Since Manning won his first Super Bowl and lost his second, experience wouldn't seem to matter much. The Broncos have tried to highlight their experience, anyway, just in case it can make a difference.
So Broncos coach John Fox, last week, had all of the key members of the organization with Super Bowl experience address the team. So team president John Elway and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio (who coached with the Ravens when they won a Super Bowl) were added to the list.
``I think coach Fox dia godo thing last week,'' Manning said. ``He gave some of the players and coaches who have some Super Bowl experience, including himself and John Elway, a chance to address the team with what each guy thought might be important and share with the rest of the guys about how they prepared during the week, what to expect with the media days, etc.
``I thought it was a real productive meeting.''
I'll be on WJON in St. Cloud at 7:15 a.m. and on 1500ESPN (am) in the Twin Cities at noon tomorrow. Mark Craig and I will be writing stories and columns and filing blog posts from New York/New Jersey all week. Please follow me on Twitter at @Souhanstrib.
While most of his teammates and coaches were surrounded by reporters on Wednesday morning, Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson sat on the floor, back against a wall, playing with his phone.
``It's been cool,'' he said of his week so far. ``Just chilling, not doing too much. Being bored, pretty much. I don't have a lot to do.''
There's the rub. The former Viking could accept his role as Russell Wilson's backup and enjoy the good life: An NFL salary, the perks of being an NFL player.
Then Jackson looks around the league and wonders why he's not a starter.
``I still think about it,'' he said. ``Of coruse, I’d rather it went a lot different, but I feel like I have nothing to be ashamed of. I’ve actually been thinking abuot it the last few days. Just being here, thinking about wanting to be a starter in this game. Recapping my career, I unfortunately wanted it to be different, but it is what it is.
``You look around the league, and you're like…maybe I have a chance. But I haven’t played football in two years, so who knows. It’s a different experience but I’m trying to take it in and take it as it comes.''
Mark Craig and I will be covering the Super Bowl all week from New York and New Jersey. It's cold here, too.
Got mired in a traffic jam in New York while hearing that Fred Smoot is trying to organized a Love Boat party and the Twins have signed Matt Guerrier.
In other news from the mid-2000s: Don't worry, Kevin McHale just assured me that the Timberwolves would never consider trading Kevin Garnett.
Even with a police escort, traffic in Manhattan is terrible. Not a complaint. I love New York. Just a fact.
What is surprising is how nice Jersey City is. We were in the refurbished Newport area, and it sparkles.
Anyway, after talking to a bunch of Seahawks with Minnesota connections, I dropped in to talk with Seahawks star safety Earl Thomas.
He was not shy. ``This matchup is everything that I want.''
``Peyton Manning. Future Hall of Famer. I want to prove everybody wrong, that he's just a man.''
Then he paused, and said, deadpan, ``Omaha,'' a reference to Manning's most-used signal at the line of scrimmage.
This is classic NFL behavior: A player working himself into a lather for no particular reason. There's no reason to hate Manning. There's no reason to dismiss his accomplishments. So Thomas is making himself believe that Manning is getting too much credit or attention.
I'll be on 1500ESPN all week from New York, and will be doing Sunday Sports Talk, 10-noon on Sunday, from here as well. Please follow me on Twitter at @Souhanstrib.
I'll be posting about my conversation with Tarvaris Jackson and my thoughts on Marshawn Lynch's behaviour later today.
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