Welcome to the Friday edition of The Cooler, where per current Minnesota weather rules you are allowed 15 minutes of sunshine a week. Let’s get to it:
*Reader Nick wants to know how in the world a single Minnesota sports team’s fan base didn’t make its way into ESPN’s ranking of the top 25 most miserable groups of fans in U.S. pro sports.
Nick, that is a very good question. I’d say the short answer is that we’re not even good at being bad any more? But let’s look at the methodology for more information.
First off, it only includes teams in the NBA, NHL, NFL and MLB. OK, Minnesota has all four.
There are five main criteria:
*Winning championships, with an emphasis on championships within the last 25 years. OK, adding them all up from the last 25 years for those four teams and I get … hold on … have to carry the zero … yep, it’s zero.
*Playoff berths. All four teams made the playoffs in the seasons starting in 2017. The Wild has made it six years in a row. The Vikings are typically in the mix. The Twins, not so much recently but plenty in the 2000s. Same with the Wolves.
*Playoff wins. Ummmmmm, I added it up. In the last 25 years, those four teams are a combined 57-116 in playoff games. None of them are even close to having a winning record.
*Heartbreak. Welllllllllll let me tell you a thing or two.
*Rival comparison. That is to say, has a rival team been good while the local team has been bad. I dare say the Vikings are the only team with a true rival in this mix. And they watched Green Bay win a Super Bowl the same year everything fell apart here with Green Bay’s old quarterback. So yeah.
Nick, I have no idea how Minnesota didn’t land at least one team on the list except to say that maybe collectively things look worse than they do individually? There are plenty of bad franchises in the top 25.
In case you’re wondering, the Wolves are the first Minnesota team to appear on the full list at No. 29, followed by the Twins (No. 40), Vikings (No. 69) and Wild (No. 81).
*Using Football Outsiders’ DVOA rankings, we see the revised playoff odds for all 32 NFL teams through the first quarter of the season. The Vikings? They sit at just 24 percent after their 1-2-1 start. The main problem, aside from the record, is that two teams (Chicago and Green Bay) are above them in the division standings. A playoff berth might be hard to come by as a wild card this year.
*The Timberwolves’ only home preseason game at Target Center is tonight against Oklahoma City. Amid a backdrop of Jimmy Butler trade chatter and continue angst over a lot of things that developed during the offseason, it will be interesting to see what the mood is like in the building.
*Veteran Wild wing Eric Fehr apparently went undercover as a beer vendor during a Wild preseason game at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild posted video, and it’s much better than watching highlights of Thursday’s opening night dud of a 4-1 loss at Colorado. Let’s take a look: