Now I'm a guy that will give credit where credit is due. If a team goes out there and outplays the other one, I'll give them credit, even if I don't like them. This past Sunday, the Saints moved on to their first ever Super Bowl after getting past the Minnesota Vikings. Heading into the Super Bowl, I would love to say that the Saints beat them by outplaying Minnesota, but that's just simply not true. The Saints are going to be marching into a game that they should not be in, instead of watching the greatest quarterback of all time face off head to head against the best quarterback in the game today on the grandest stage in sports. I have nothing against the Saints, but they don't deserve to be there.
5 Vikings Turnovers: When you turn over the ball this many times, its pretty tough to win against any team. Let alone against the number one seed in the Conference Championship. However, despite all of these turnovers, the Vikings still had a very good chance to win the game. How does that happen? How can a team make so many mistakes yet still have an opportunity to win? These dumb mistakes were devastating to the Vikings, but really they did it to themselves. You could make the argument that the Saints "forced" the turnovers and in some cases you're right. But what did the Saints have to do with the Adrian Peterson fumble at the Saints 4 yard line at the end of the first half? Peterson couldn't handle the hand off from Favre and he lost it.
Unnecessary roughing: I really hate these overprotective rules that protect the quarterback, but rules are rules and you can't pick and choose when you're going to follow them. Midway through the 3rd quarter, Brett Favre was picked up and basically slammed into the ground by a Saints defender. Unnecessary roughness was called and the Vikings received 15 yards and a first down. The Saints faithful were outraged and booed mercilessly. Four plays later, two Saints defenders get to Favre, one hits him below the waist after the pass is away. Correct me if I'm wrong, but by rule, if you hit the quarterback below the waist, its an automatic 15 yard penalty. On the play, the pass was intercepted and rather than charge the Saints with another 15 yard roughing the passer penalty, give the ball back to the Vikings, and upset the fans any further, the refs ignored the rule book, looked the other way and allowed the Saints to have the interception. Lesson learned here, you can only get one roughing the passer penalty per drive. After that, you can do pretty much whatever you want to him, the refs won't call it, because God forbid that penalty gets called more than once on a single drive.
Missed opportunity: At the end of regulation, Favre drives the Vikes right down the field, and into field goal range. On 3rd down, instead of going for the 50 yard field goal, the Vikings decide to run another play to get closer. Inexplicably, after a timeout, the Vikings have 12 men in the huddle, pushing them back 5 yards, making it a 55 yarder. The Vikings now feel they have to throw the ball to get those yards back. Favre gets flushed out of the pocket, has at least 5 yards if he runs it himself, but instead throws back across his body to the middle of the field and its picked off. If it isn't for Favre's poor decision, the Vikings are kicking a game winning field goal and going to the Super Bowl, despite all of the mistake they made throughout the night.
Awful officiating in OT: After winning the coin toss, the refs did everything except kick the ball through the uprights for the Saints. The refs make a questionable holding call on 3rd and 7 that extends the drive. A few plays later, the Saints come up short and decide to go for it on 4 and 1. Pierre Thomas leaps into the air, gains the first down, but a Vikings defenders' helmet hits the ball, knocking it backwards behind the line of scrimmage. This wasn't like breaking the plane of the goaline or being pushed backwards after his forward progress was stopped. Even though he held onto the ball, it wasn't where it needed to be for a first down. Sorry Saints fans, but it should have been the Vikings ball at their own 43. The very next play was even more outrageous. Drew Brees throws a pass well over the head of his intended receiver David Thomas. However on the play, Thomas falls over while backpedaling and being covered by Vikings LB Scott Fujita. The two never even made contact until the ball was beyond Thomas. If you're going to call pass interference on a play that pretty much guarantees one team a trip to the Super Bowl, you better be damn sure you're right. They were not. It was an AWFUL call. No way to sugar coat it either. I'm not saying the league "conspired" against the Vikings. I'm just saying that the refs made very bad calls at very big moments and it may have cost the Vikings a trip to the Super Bowl.
Vikings Luck: I talked with a Vikings fan online the other day and he was feeling pretty lousy about the loss, but said he's used to the disappointments. He went on to list of number of things that were unbelievable, but all true. Here is what he had to say...
The Vikings have had the worst luck of any Pro team in sports history other than the Cubs...102 years and counting....
- 4 Superbowl losses
- 5 NFC Championship game losses
- Jim Marshalls wrong way run
- The "Hail Mary" pass Drew Pearson caught against the Vikes in 75 NFC championship to give Dallas the win in the final minute.
- The Herschel Walker trade in which Vikings gave Dallas three 1st rounders, three 2nd rounders, plus a 3rd and a 6th rounder in addition to 5 players. Walker lasts only 3 seasons in Minnesota
- Korey Stringer dies in training camp.
- The love boat incident
- Gary Anderson who had just completed the first perfect regular season in NFL history (not missing a single extra point or field goal attempt the entire year), missed a 38-yard attempt with less than 2 minutes remaining in NFC championship game that most likely puts Vikes in Superbowl in 98.
- Vikings despite being favored, lose 41-0 in NFC championship game in 2000.
- Green Bays Antonio Freeman makes one of the all time great miracle catches in overtime to defeat Vikings
- In 2003 Arizona's last second touchdown on 4th and 28 against Vikings eliminated Vikings from playoffs. The moment of Arizona's touchdown was actually the first moment the entire season in which the Vikings hadn't led their division. The Vikings became the second team in football history to miss the playoffs after getting off to a 6–0 start
- ADD TERRIBLE DEFEAT 31-28 OT to the Saints in the 2009 NFC Championship game..... why did Childress not kick a 50 yard field goal on 3rd down to win it before the Moronic 12 man in the huddle penalty !!!! CMON MAN, how bad of a decision is that ???? Longwell was good to at least 55, CMON MAN!!!!!! and then Favre could have run it AGAIN to the 35 for another 52 yard field goal try. You blow it twice!!!!! CMON MAN !!!!!!!
I knew the Vikings had bad luck, but look at all of this! I never realized it was this bad. As much as I would love to say the Saints beat the Vikings, its simply not true. Whether it was because of bad officiating, bad breaks or just bad luck, the Vikings had more to do with their loss than the Saints did with their win.