Thursday, February 5, 2009

Shakes Your Hand, Then Punches You in the Face

It really is pretty amazing, being a Minnesota Vikings fan. I don't refer to the fact that geographically it makes no sense for me to root for the purple and gold, being a lifelong resident of Maryland, but most people in my neck of the woods root for a Pennsylvania football team anyway. Rather it's the fact that Minnesota shares, along with the Buffalo Bills, some rarefied air: 0 for 4 in Super Bowls.

My brother-in-law, who won two Bowls as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers back in the 70s, says that basically the Vikings won their conference four years, and that's nothing to be ashamed of. Of course, he won two Super Bowls. Winners can afford to advise the less-fortunate on the value of the moral victory.

Last weekend was supposed to be a bit of vindication for the two unluckiest conference champs in the sports history. The Hall of Fame would be announcing its newest inductees, and sure to top the list were a Bill, monstrous defensive end Bruce Smith, and a Viking, gracefully devastating wide receiver Cris Carter. So imagine my shock and apall when the ESPN2 scroller showed that while Smith indeed made it...Carter did not.

My initial disbelief was tempered by the justice that longtime Vikes guard Randall McDaniel was voted a Hall of Famer. 12 Pro Bowl selections in 14 years, 9-time First Team All-Pro, a spot on the League's 1990s All-Decade Team, and the lynchpin of the mighty Purple o-line of the late 90s. Well deserved.

As far as Cris Carter, hell, I guess this is going to be another Art Monk situation. Although Monk had nowhere near Carters stats. Third in all-time receptions, second in TD receptions, eight Pro Bowls, and, like Mr. McDaniel, a member of the 1990s All-Decade Team. Know the only receiver to record two 120+ catch seasons? Carter. Who mentored Randy Moss? Carter. Who would have won Super Bowl MVP in 1999 if Robert Smith wouldn't have kept running out of bounds and stopping the clock in the last minutes of the NFC Championship, thereby giving the Atlanta Falcons ample time to kick a game-winning field goal? Carter! Stupid fucking Broncos!

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