Here is a condensed version of Sunday Night's conversation at home with eldest son during the Debacle of 09, formerly known as Week 15, Minnesota at Carolina.
#1 Son: "What's wrong with the Vikings. They suck."
Father (me): "Nothing. They are playing good defense.'
#1 Son: "We are playing like ----. We are gonna lose."
Father: "We are ahead. This is the Panthers. That is Matt Moore, don't worry."
#1 Son: "We suck."
Father: "We are struggling because of Julius Peppers, he is having his way with Bryant McKinnie. We will adjust."
#1 Son: "We totally suck."
Father: "Yes, number one son. We do."
The game was putrid. Our rivals had witnessed a blowout at the hands of the Panthers on national television. You could see the glimmer in Minnesota Packer fans' eyes the next day at work. Except it was through a tear called '500 yards allowed versus the Steelers in a last-second loss'. Saints fans would love to ridicule us now, but they lost to Dallas at home on Saturday, and were licking their wounds.
So, my son points out the futility of it all. Playing this bad, this close to the playoffs. All the hype was for nothing. The Eagles are better. The Saints are definitely better. The Packers (even though we beat them twice) are better. We have lost two games on Sunday Night by having no running game. Adrian Peterson is not the back he was, my son says. We cannot block. Even Antoine Winfield looked human. It is over.
What can I say? No, McKinnie just had a bad game? We will find a MLB before the playoffs? Brett Favre is not stumbling in December? Adrian Peterson is fine?
I think what I would say to him, and the rest of you purple angry-fists, is this is not cause for surrender. In recent history each Super Bowl winner suffered like this for a stretch. Not to say we are suddenly going to win it all, but I can also say with confidence we are fine. And here is why...
2008 Steelers. Lost by seventeen in Week 16 at Tennessee. Lost 2 of 3 in Weeks 8-10. Both at home.
2007 Giants. Lost last four regular season home games. One by twenty-four, to our Vikings.
2006 Colts. Lost last four road games, weeks 11, 12, 13, 16. One a twenty-seven point loss to Jacksonville.
2005 Steelers. Lost three in a row weeks 11-13, including a 26-7 loss at Indianapolis. That score is familiar. Where have I heard 26-7 loss on the road before?
I know, there is a big difference. I know, things are not the same.
But maybe we should let the North Division winning, 11-3 Vikings try and solve their issues? Instead of jumping on the bandwagon of doubt, where every bad play is an omen, maybe we should show a little patience? Next week is Monday Night, versus the Bears, a game we should win. Can we at least agree to wait on panicking until we at least lose our #2 seed?
It is not the end of the world. At least for those of us that cheer more than curse. And that is OK.
And I feel fine.
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