Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

Yakkin' About Football With David Roth And Jeff Johnson

mossThe NFL was rocked today by news that the New England Patriots' Randy Moss is returning to his old club, the Minnesota Vikings-a club helmed by QB Brett Favre, who has openly pined for Moss since before "Guiding Light" was a hit soap opera. We asked Jeff Johnson and David Roth to make sense of it all.

Jeff: Does Randy Moss going back to the Vikings "excite" you?

David: Physically, yes. It definitely adds a new wrinkle to the way I feel about that team. Which was previously "Positive but also Favre." Now it's more "Very positive, but bemused but still also Favre."

Jeff: In the sense of you being physically excited? Or that the Vikings will now be more physical and have a receiver taller than Toni Tenille?

David: The former. But the latter is also important.

Jeff: I didn't root for Favre in the ‘90s. I'm an apologist for him now.

David: Yeah, I know as much. Odd timetable, there."I didn't really like him until he joined the Jets after the second non-retirement."

Jeff: I was angry at Green Bay.

David: Everyone came out of that looking shitty.

Jeff: To me, it seemed to me they took the path of "authority" figures in Wisconsin that I'd grown up underneath: "No. Because we say so. It undermines the job we are trying to do, which is ‘Not being interesting.'"

David: That job being "being the boss."

Jeff: Let's move on to some new business. I have no idea what is going on in the NFC North.

David: Me either. I haven't seen the Vikes yet this year. And judging by my predictions I have no idea what's going on anywhere in the NFL.

Jeff: Is Detroit actually sorta good? Could have easily beaten Bears and Packers?

David: Detroit is actually sort of good. (Did actually beat the Bears.) Something's happening there. I don't know that you go out and get Randy Moss because you're worried about the Lions, though.

Jeff: I miss the days of Detroit being explosive. Playing Queen songs after wins.

David: I still see a bunch of dressed-up 7-9 teams and the Packers and Vikes in that division.

Jeff: You go out and get Randy Moss because…

David: Tall, great at football, future Hall of Famer, knows lots of trivia about Robert Byrd, is as defiantly country as any multi-millionaire in the world. What the Vikings are doing seems unlike anything I can think of another NFL team ever doing, though.

Jeff: Building by getting older.

David: Just stacking the olds and giving it One Last Try. Totally not the move in the NFL.

Jeff: Maybe Jan Stenerud will come out of retirement.

David: You know he's keeping fit.

Jeff: Skiing.

David: Doing decathlons in Bemidji or whatever.

Jeff: Having sex in the Alps.

David: High-altitude sex: that was P90X before P90X was.

Jeff: I don't want to live in a world where he can't.

David: I mean, there's a chance no one plays football at all next year. So I guess I get the eggs-in-one-basket thing.

Jeff: Yeah…But this week!! Are the JETS for real? How will the Mossed-up Vikings do against them? The Jets remind me of .38 Special fans or something when they had a hit single. Getting all cocky. Not comprehending a world where synthesizers and Quarterflash could supersede their domination.

David: And also unstylishly dressed, but yeah I get that. Remember that you're asking a dude who is getting fucking TROUNCED by a coin in the prediction department. The Jets make a ton of mistakes. Even against the Bills, there were some moments where you're kind of wondering how they're getting away with this. But playing the Bills is like scrimmaging against Manalapan NJ High School.

Jeff: I loved the Bills QB Fitzpatrick. He looks like a guy who is throwing a frisbee in the parking lot of a Dead show and someone asks if he wants to QB an NFL team and he says "When?" ‘Cause he has some other shit to do.

David: "We've got an ultimate game against BU that morning. But totally I'll try to make it if I can. Very cool of you to ask." He actually is pretty good, too.

Jeff: Fitzpatrick had some awesome plays.

David: I like how he played the whole game without sliding once. Just totally dedicated to sticking his helmet through Bart Scott's sternum. Not a lot of humans want to do that. But it was like he was playing totally by himself at the end. Receivers dropped everything he threw. Fred Jackson was reading a magazine on most plays.

Jeff: What will happen when/if Randy Moss catches a TD against the Packers in Green Bay? Will he do the ass-wiping on the goal post/mooning thing again?

David: That's your region. You'd know better than I. I mean, I hope so. And the crowd responds with things that sound like compliments but are actually really undermine-y?

Jeff: I imagine the thinking is that Randy Moss is a reanimated Chuckie doll. Kind of funny, can also kill you. "Oh, gosh, what do we have to do to get away from these unsportsmanlike creeps? First we had ‘Brent' the waffler and now we have this guy coming back." Moss will eat that up. He will love that.

David: Yeah, his motivations are always unclear to me.

Jeff: I think he and Favre always wanted to play together, just maybe not waiting until 2010 to do so. So, what's your outlook on the Vikings with this?

David: I think they're better, but I also sort of wonder how much, or how soon? In-season NFL trades don't happen because there's this idea that the baroque strategery of each team is FAR TOO COMPLEX for anyone to pick up in a week or two…This year, Favre has looked weird and bad-decision-y. The defense is still quite good. Peterson is still Peterson.

Jeff: It's kind of an All-Star wrestling move.

David: Right?

Jeff: Favre needs to remember that it is Peterson's team, and safeguard the football.

David: That seems to be what the Jets are excelling at right now. And Sanchez seems to have embraced that role, and done well with it. Favre gets praise for doing that when he's NOT back-footing interceptions into the end zone.

Jeff: Maybe Favre will give himself permission to kind of chill now. Feel less pressure? Not be so force-y and dramatic?

David: I could see him having a terrible game against the Jets if he keeps playing all go-for-it all the time. But I could also see him playing well if he does take it easy a bit.

Jeff: He will not be welcomed into the new Giants stadium or whatever they're calling it.

David: No. But Jets fans don't welcome anyone that is not showing [her] tits. Jets fans are the worst. I feel like polling the parking lot at a Jets game on current events or political issues would be the most depressing experience in the world. 22% for women's suffrage, 76% against, 4% vomit instead of answering the question.

Jeff: Your vomit numbers are low. I was happy to see Ed Anzalone at least get arrested or whatever…"questioned?"

David: The fireman dude? What did he do? Is it now illegal to scream things while wearing a Wayne Chrebet jersey?

Jeff: He had a tussle with a giants fan in the preseason. They will now be forced to live together as the basis of a CBS sitcom.

David: Good for him. I remember reading a piece about him when he got hurt fighting a fire and had to recover enough to get back in the stands. Don't remember where, but it read like a recovery piece on an athlete. "Every day Anzalone is getting closer, training harder. Working out his lungs, practicing spelling the word ‘Jets.'"

Jeff: So in summary on a scale of 1 to 10…How do you rate the move for the Vikes? I am giving it a 7.

David: For what it is, I'd give it a 7 or an 8. Moss is still pretty great.

Jeff: I am also giving it a 7 for the Patriots.

David: The Patriots I wonder about. They now have no WRs taller than my wife.

Jeff: Wes Welker is like Don Beebe 2.0 He's always scooting around. No one can catch him. He has like 100 catches already.

David: And Julian Edelman is like some beta-version Wes Welker. Also his name is Julian Edelman, which you know I'm down with. Although I was thinking again this week that it seems like Belichick is intentionally trying to win with the goofiest possible team. Like he's going to insist on using Danny Woodhead as the feature back, just to prove a point about his blazing genius.

Jeff: Brady needs a haircut though. Okay, we get it, you're married to a model.

David: Really. He looked like Pam Dawber in the preseason. Just flowy and middle-parted and Breck as fuck.

Jeff: I liked him more as a proto-Republican.

David: So last thing on the Vikes: I think they'll be a much better team if Favre is not freaking out all the time. Like if he knows he has Moss to throw to. Whether Moss actually helps or not.

Jeff: Yes. he needs a Zen master from Anoka to come and sit with him.

David: For a great player, Favre seems super-neurotic in a way.

Jeff: He will probably be 36% more relaxed. He needs to find Shiancoe more.

David: Agreed. And they'll be great when Sidney Rice is back. Honestly anything to get Favre to just stop throwing the ball straight up in the air. Or trying to throw it through the sternum of some safety.

Jeff: Yes, or throwing it 6 feet to a 357 lb lineman. I can't stand to see a lineman in a full sprint with the football.

David: It offends your aesthetics?

Jeff: It's like seeing a guy coming out of an outhouse with his pants down because he saw a squirrel in there.

David: I always think of "Supermarket Sweep."

Jeff Johnson has long complained and cheered about sports, while making little sense. Follow him here. David Roth co-writes the Wall Street Journal's Daily Fix, contributes to the sports blog Can't Stop the Bleeding and has his own little website. Both agree that with hard work the Vikings could maybe be 11-5.

Photo by Keith Allison from Flickr.

21 Comments / Post A Comment

boyofdestiny (#1,243)

Question: What will the Patriots do with the three fifth-round picks they inevitably trade this third rounder for?

Bittersweet (#765)

Probably pick some more short wide receivers.

sigerson (#179)

Relative height doesn't matter when you're Brandon Tate and you're fast enough to get 10 yards behind the defense. That kid is going to go ballistic.

brn9000 (#7,785)

I loved this. Intelligent, funny and profane football commentary. I'm going to be looking forward to this as much as the season itself. Thanks, guys.

TCJunior (#1,099)

It's like Gregg Easterbrook's commentary, but less Dennis Miller-y.

TCJunior (#1,099)

I should note that I think this is a good thing.

Ronit (#1,557)

As a Jets fan, this made me laugh:

Jets fans are the worst. I feel like polling the parking lot at a Jets game on current events or political issues would be the most depressing experience in the world. 22% for women's suffrage, 76% against, 4% vomit instead of answering the question.

David Roth (#4,429)

Laugh at my incredibly perfect arithmetic? Because that is funny. Yikes.

As a Jets fan, I can say that Jets fans ARE the worst, and that's in a town that also includes the execrable Giants fan base. Maybe it's the green? I almost got into a fistfight with a bunch of guido Jets fans on St Patricks Day.

keisertroll (#1,117)

God, this takes me back to Jeff Johnson's legendary NFL picks for McSweeneys. I never thought of Dick Vermeil crying the same way again.

David Roth (#4,429)

Those really were the greatest. There was one that compared some Jaguars game to getting a nosebleed in a rental car that pretty much changed my life.

Hirham (#1,709)

I should note that the last 7 or 9 lines of this made me laugh uproariously (sp?). An accomplishment even were I not drunk.

Michael Dunford (#4,984)

Man, the above comments about Ryan Fitzpatrick made me laugh harder than I have in probably three or four days.

KeithTalent (#2,014)

"Belichick is intentionally trying to win with the goofiest possible team."

This is true and I love him for it. Flutie dropkick?

Bittersweet (#765)

That dropkick was one of the highlights of my decades of NFL viewing.

Michael Dunford (#4,984)

@Keith and @boyofdestiny, below: I once had a dream that Belichick changed the Patriots into a lacrosse team so nobody could play them anymore.

are either of you native vikings fans? because there's a totally different angle to this trade besides the favre always having wanted to throw to moss thing.

what is important but went unmentioned above is the huge nerve this trade strikes for everyone who loved the vikings in 1998 and 1999. for me personally, it was 9th grade and the first time i bothered to pay attention to the hometown team and football in general. you cannot underestimate how amazing and entertaining and awe-inspiring the 1998 team was and how much that nfc championship loss hurt. it was a horrible first year to be a vikings fan. the greatness of the team ensured that every subsequent team would be a disappointment, simply because it couldn't possibly live up to the 1998 team.

how i met your mother did an episode about that vikings season, and everything about it was true, not even close to overestimating the huge deal that team/game was. i cried for like three hours that sunday in january '99.

so basically, we were scarred, and this trade triggers so many memories of euphoria and also disappointment. mostly it stokes little flames of hope in our team that some of us, afraid to be hurt again, kept carefully stifled for years.

i stopped paying attention to the vikings 7 or 8 years ago. right now i imagine i feel a bit like a reformed cocaine addict remembering the joy of that first high, bittersweet because nothing was ever that good again and so much pain followed.

and anyway, finally, yes to the brady seriously needs a haircut thing.

ANY discussion of the '98 Vikings that omits the wonderous and melodic accomplishments of Gary Anderson's perfection on the kicking tee is nothing that I can agree to take part in. How can one deny the sheer greatnessest of him scoring MORE POINTS than the ENTIRE Philadelphia Eagles did (164-161)? How can the sheer aerodynamic fluiditity of his single-face-mask-barred, I fear not for my nose, I've it's a dead animal's skin I'll kick it through impaled uprights from distances approaching hundreds of feet away be denied?
People often say, "oh the '98 Vikes were all Randall Cunningham and Randy Moss and Helga the drunken cross-dressing-pigtailed mascot of the Metrodome Nose Bleeds"– but Gary Anderson— HE – was the high fructose corn syrup that made the coke machine hum.
He's the reason for the K-Ball. The mythically Guarded and often whispered object that NFL kickers Alone are allowed to touch. While other "kickers"- I'm looking at you Scott Norwood- resorted to smuggling portable inflaters onto the sidelines, Anderson stayed true to the spirit of the game and kicked Whatever lay in front of him, whether it be held, teed or even bouncing aimlessly, like a brown trout in a forgotten Montana stream, after a forlorn long-snapper's misdeeds.
The Vikings may think they are returning their "magic" or "penash" by bringing back Moss. But this is like sending Neil Armstrong back to the lunar surface without a spaceship. You may see the moon on the horizon, you may see the NFC Championship Game on the schedule, but none of these possibilities, none of these goals, none of the dreams can be realized without one thing. Gary Anderson.

boyofdestiny (#1,243)

I blame this post for causing me to have a dream about Randy Moss last night. I dreamed that he worked in the English department at the University of Minnesota in the offseason. I went to visit him, and he asked me to sign this poster he had hanging up over his desk that was signed by all of the '98 Vikings. Except I only had this cartoonishly big Sharpie, and he asked me to be careful that I didn't sign my name bigger than Gary Anderson's.
I couldn't help it, though, because the marker was so big. So he kicked me out of his office.

What does it all mean?

Charlie (#4,250)

that is one happy looking negro

David Roth, you are now my secret best friend. And Brett Favre makes me queasy, not just because I am a Jets fan.

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