Feeling for Minnesota This week, it was confirmed that Adrian Peterson will indeed by suspended for at least the rest of the season without pay, and will not be eligible for reinstatement until training camp in April.
Adrian Peterson is the Tom Brady of the NFC: a Hall of Fame-bound veteran who is synonymous with his team. I can not properly express the respect I have for AP not throwing his weight around and demanding a trade in any of the several abysmal seasons the Vikes have had during his tenure. This is why, and rightfully so, AP had such a rapport with the fans of Minnesota. He was their guy.
I knew Peterson's forced benching would horribly affect the Vikings' fans this year. This past Sunday, in their loss to the Bears, I saw what I perceived as a record low in Vikes fans repping at Soldier Field. Again drawing a Brady comparison, I pictured the 2014 Vikings fans acting like the 2008 New England Patriots fans, who were forced to root for Matt Cassel every week while their hero was out for the season with a torn ACL and MCL. The fans had a hint of lethargy the entire season. The difference: Pats fans saw a light at the end of the tunnel. At this point, I'm not sure if Vikings fans do.
Now, Peterson will probably be back next season. But how easily will this incident be forgiven and forgotten? Personally, I'd be pretty creeped out seeing someone wear an Adrian Peterson jersey, kind of like when I see someone wearing a Rush shirt. I'm sure I'm not alone, and this saddens me. A great legacy, arguably rightfully so, has been tarnished for him and his unbelievably supportive fans.
Ten weeks into the season, I reached out to my friend, Minnesota Vikings fan and Grind King Luke Olson (Ambassador Gun), to ask him about how the vibe in Minni has changed since this disaster:
"When the story broke, Minnesota sports fans were up in arms, freakin’ out that the season was shot. [Not only that], but it was the headline, not only in Minnesota, but all media, for a while, mainly because he was one of the greatest players out there."
Two things are certain about this story: 1) no one would give a damn if it wasn't the illustrious Adrian Peterson and just a run-of- the-mill player, and 2) probably another obvious observation, this story would be nowhere near the firestorm it turned out to be had the Ray Rice incident not preceded it.
Time heals wounds, yes. But it's also important to remember that people forgive, but rarely forget. This stigma will follow Peterson for the rest of his career.
"His legacy is absolutely tarnished in Minnesota. I’ve never seen a Target store or grocery store strip all AP merch that fast. I think a lot of Vikings fans assumed he was nothing but a humble and amazing player, and were let down. I [for one] was quite surprised when all this surfaced. A lot of people will get over it, a lot wont. Some may boo him when he walks on the field."
Don't put it past Peterson to end his career early, or maybe even never play again, if this spirals further out of control. There's no guarantee he will be allowed to play next year . Personally, I feel that this might be a good thing for the Vikings. It might be time to move on from AP being your franchise, as sad as it may be.
I feel for you, Minnesota fans. Y'all annoy us Bear fans, and we all hate the color purple because of you (and Oprah), but we like you. Until this works out, hang your hat on Prince and the rest of the kick-ass music scene you got going on up there.
Check out Ambassador Gun's latest record, Golden Eagle, out now on Prosthetic.
Is it too early to talk about playoff scenarios? I usually wait 'til after Thanksgiving, but I'm starting a little early this year.
We all know that the Indianapolis Colts, even with various pivotal losses, are going to win the AFC South and get a home game in the wild card round.
Given the 42-20 loss to the Patriots this past Sunday, Andrew Luck's team more than likely will not get a first-round bye, likely occupied by the Pats and Broncos, both teams that the Colts have lost to significantly in prime time games this year. Based on this, the odds of Luck clashing with Brady and/or Manning this postseason is obviously very high.
Everyone knows that the AFC's is Luck's throne to inherent, including Luck himself. Once Brady and Manning retire, somewhere in the next three seasons, Luck is going to have a field day. The Colts are without a doubt the Super Bowl dynasty of the future. They will bolster their defense through the draft, pick up smart free agent vets, and will have a great army for Chuck Pagano, a future Hall of Fame coach, to lead.
But -- and this is an Iggy Azalea size "But" -- Andrew Luck doesn't like waiting. This is dangerous for the Broncos and Pats this postseason.
Luck reminds me of a Velociraptor: When he watches you, you can see he's working things out. He metaphorically tests fences for weaknesses systematically. He remembers.
(By the way, a little birdie told me the trailer for Jurassic World premiers December 17 with all showings of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. You're welcome.)
I'm fairly certain that in a head-to-head match in Denver, Luck's Colts would lose. Denver has an opportunistic defense that has actually heavily underachieved this year. They, in theory, should be a top-five NFL defense. Instead, they've flirted around the bottom half of the league this season. New England's D is ranked around there as well. However, their D has overachieved this year. Plus, they've played teams led by way worse QBs than the Broncos have.
Based on this, I am extremely confident in saying that New England has a significantly worse defense then they would appear to have. Also, I would argue that the Colts have a better, yet obviously greener, offense than the Pats. Lastly, keep in mind that Luck lost to Brady's Pats last year in the playoffs, as well as this season. Will Luck lose three matches in a row to the Pats? If Luck goes to New England after the wild card round, New England will get blindsided. I am stoked to see what I anticipate as a playoff coming-out party for Luck, Pagano and the Colts this year. If Denver gets upset somewhere down the line, I am even confident enough to say they will rep the AFC in the Super Bowl this year.
Are You There, LeGarrette? It's Me, God.
Is it too late for you to go to law school?
Sluts for Slumps
Last week, I didn't have a Pick of the Week at the end of my column. I actually received several emails and text messages asking why I "forgot" to put one in. I didn't answer any of them because I'm a delicate genius who can't be disturbed.
I actually didn't forget to put one in. There was a reason I didn't. After a seven-week run of winners, I had two losers in a row. In the gambling world, that's called "slumping."
When I was 18 years old, my college roommate, standup comic Dan Bush, told me a story about legendary Chicago Cubs first baseman Mark Grace. He said when he was slumping, he would go "hogging." He'd go to a bar, pick up an overweight chick, and have sex with her. Then suddenly he would get out of the slump. This would explain Grace's borderline Hall of Fame career. Probably the most important story I was ever told in my life.
Now, I did go to a bar this past week, but it was with my dad, who obviously is a C-Block. However, we did our own version of slump-busting (he, too, was slumping after betting against the Packers two weeks in a row). To slump-bust this week, I booked a very dumb bet: under 31 points in the Colts/Pats game. With Andrew Luck and Tom Brady set to sling it, it was a dumb bet that only a desperate man would roll the dice on.
I barely won with the 24 combined points they put up at the half. It was very stressful, but worth my dad going completely apecrap in a bar the whole time. "I feel like throwing this fucking glass right now," he said after Tom Brady threw a weak interception, leading to an Indy score in the second quarter. Total confusion was exhibited by the stranger next to us wearing a Patriots hoodie, who saw my dad clap when the Pats forced a three-and-out in the first quarter, followed by more clapping when the Colts forced a three-and-out in the following possession. The Patriots fan had a look on his face like, "Does this guy know how football works?"
After Brady kneeled down to end the first half and lead his team into the locker room, my dad slammed down his crumpled napkin in joy, stormed out of the bar rejoicing and swearing (shoulder-blocking a bus boy on the way out), and stuck me with the check. Gambling and slumps suck.
Doing a Drug Named After a Part of Your Own Ass
And finally this week, cornerback Patrick Peterson said on the Dan Patrick Show yesterday that wideouts DeSean Jackson and Mike Wallace have "crackhead speed."
Never heard of it, but I'd be down to try some. Keep in touch. See ya at Ozzfest, DeSean.
Pick of the Week
Seattle -6 over 'Zona