It’s a good thing Zygi and Mark Wilf aren’t on Twitter. They’d be awful.
“You mean the 130-character limit?” Mark said.
See. These guys don’t even know that you actually get 140 characters to knee-jerk your way from game to game, quarter to quarter, play to play.
As owners of the Vikings, Monday night wasn’t particularly pleasant for the Wilfs. Their team not only lost a game, it misplaced its identity in a 20-3 loss at San Francisco.
If you think you were upset, well, imagine owning the team. Imagine what you’d do with raw emotion if it came with the power to jerk that knee in any direction you darn well pleased.
So what did the Wilfs do this week? They said they practiced patience and moved on. Sorry, Twitter.
“We’re as disappointed as the players; everyone in the building is disappointed,” Mark said. “But we have to turn quickly on a dime. We’re taking the coach’s cue and we’re on to Detroit. That’s how he says it.”
Like most NFL coaches, Mike Zimmer has a “24-hour” rule. Stew over a loss or celebrate a win if you must, but be done moping or whooping 24 hours later. Owners aren’t exempt.
“When you look at this, you can’t look at things short-term,” Zygi said. “You have to look at things much more long-term. Like with everything else, you have to be patient and you have to persevere. We think we have the right people in place.”
A year ago, Patriots coach Bill Belichick executed the “24-hour” rule to perfection following a 41-14, prime-time blowout loss at Kansas City. With vultures, er, reporters circling a 2-2 team that had pulled up lame, Belichick stonewalled an entire news conference by repeating the words, “We’re on to Cincinnati” so many times that he coined the phrase.
A week later, the Patriots beat the Bengals 43-17. Four months later, they won their fourth Super Bowl title under Belichick.
“It’s a roller-coaster ride; you have to go ups and downs until you find the right rhythm in which you’re constantly competitive,” Zygi said. “I have not been as optimistic as I’ve been this year, and I continue to be optimistic. I’m more optimistic from the big picture.”
Pulling off a franchise-wide “24-hour” rule can be difficult under normal circumstances. It can be downright impossible coming off a game like Monday night’s.
Fans and media, we tend to use our rear view mirrors a whole lot more than our windshields. In cases like this past week, we fill the absence of a 24-hour rule with a “six-day, pick-at-the-scab-until-Zimmer-loses-his-mind” rule.
It almost worked. But Zimmer said he had a pretty good teacher of the 24-hour rule.
“Probably when I was with the Cowboys is when it started,” said Zimmer, who was in Dallas from 1994 to 2006. “You got 24 hours and then it’s said and done. Move on. [Then-Cowboys coach Bill] Parcells, he had you thinking about the next week pretty quickly.”
The Hall of Famer stays in touch with Zimmer.
“He called me this week, matter of fact,” Zimmer said. “We talked for a little bit. He’s always got some really good sayings and quotations for me.”
Did he make sure you had moved on?
“Oh yeah,” Zimmer said. “He made sure.”
Parcells was instrumental in confirming to the Wilfs that their belief in Zimmer was well founded. The search for Zimmer, led by Rick Spielman, the Wilf’s hand-picked general manager, was extensive and sturdy enough to weather a bad night in the Bay Area.
“We have a great foundation of players, general manager and coaches who definitely will be great for the long term,” Zygi said. “So rather than talk one game at a time, I would rather look at it as the beginning of seasons to come of success. I have to look at things much more long-term. If I look at things one game at a time, I’d drive myself crazy.”
So, Zygi was asked, you and Mark must not be on Twitter.
“No,” he said. “We’re not on Twitter. ”