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December 3, 2006

Today's history lesson

brookbridge.jpg I am continually amazed by what I read in childrens' books. The Brooklyn Bridge opened in 1883 and at the time was the longest suspension bridge in the world. And while a lot of people immediately used the bridge to travel between Brooklyn and New York, many people still doubted its structural integrity. Hearing this, and knowing a great marketing scheme when he saw one, P.T. Barnum of "The Greatest Show on Earth" fame decided to test the weight limits of the bridge by marching his own elephants across it in the interest of the "dear public." The May 18, 1884 New York Times tells the story:


At the end of the march, Barnum declared that he too was satisfied with the "solidity of the masterpiece."

I thought that was pretty cool.

• I don't know about you, but I don't think I have ever been more apathetic about the Vikings than I am now. I don't know how they have done it, but Zygi and Childress have created the most lifelless and uninteresting Vikings team I have ever seen. No personality, no team identity, nothing to get excited about. Everything is vanilla mediocrity. The Vikings marketing department must be gnashing their teeth in frustration.

• Today on the Sports Huddle with Sid and Dave, Sid Hartman was unbelievably confident that Flip Saunders would take the Gophers basketball head coaching position. That, my friends, would be reason to celebrate.

Posted by snackeru at December 3, 2006 9:32 PM


I'll be stunned if Flip ends up in Minnesota. Are the Gophers going to wait around until June for Flip?

As for the Vikings, they have invented new and exciting ways to lose. Imagine if someone had said to you the following. The Vikings are going to go into Chicago and rush for 190 yards and have a 20 minute advantage in time of possession. They are going to hold the Bears to 107 yards of total offense. They are going to force five turnovers. And they are going to get beat and it's not going to be particularly close. You would have said impossible! I can't possibly imagine that could ever happen! You would have said I'm going to have to see it to believe it.

Or how about this. The Vikings are going to play a team with Joey Harrington quarterbacking. They are going hold that team to -3 yards rushing (or 4 yards, depending on who you believe). And they are going to get beat.

You would say, that's unbelievable! You would be right. That is unbelievable.

Posted by: SBG at December 4, 2006 10:13 AM

Zygi and Brad have completely removed the fun and passion from following the Vikings. Both of them act too much like CEOs; it's a game for Pete's sake, so heaven forbid they have any fun doing it! I have no desire to see Johnson back in there, and I doubt Brooks "Pride of Grand Forks" Bollinger will be healthy enough to play. So, it looks as though the Tarvaris era is going to begin. Of course, I wouldn't put it past Childress to start Johnson again, in order to protect Tarvaris until next year.

One more question: When do pitchers and catchers report?

Curt in Grand Forks

Posted by: Curt Hanson at December 4, 2006 1:51 PM

If they could muster any competent offense (mostly in the passing game), maybe we'd be talking about a team with the identity of a smothering defense that crushes an opponent's efforts to run the ball.

Instead, we have no offense, no passing game, and a defense that is wasted. It's not as much fun as when we had a great passing game that was wasted because of a poor defense, but it amounts to the same thing.

Posted by: Pacifist Viking at December 4, 2006 3:27 PM

I'm as big a Flip pimp is there is out there, but I agree with SBG, no way Gophers wait to May or June for Flip. I've been really disappointed in Sid's non-hyping the Bobby Knight angle. God would that be fun! Also, if you want to see an unbelievable game, look back at the Twins victory over the Tigers in early August, Jeremy Bonderman pitching.

Posted by: Freealonzo at December 4, 2006 4:07 PM

If I'm the head coach of the Vikings, I am calling the owner and telling him that we can't make the playoffs with Brad Johnson and that we want to try the kid out. We might lose every game the rest of the season. But, we're gonna find out about Jackson. And, if we lose those games, we will get a better draft pick and maybe an impact player on offense. Unless the owner screams bloody murder, that's exactly what I'd do. Then, I'd get in front of the media and say that we're going with Jackson because we think he can be our guy and we want to give him a chance. Everyone but the most die hard, rose-colored glasses wearing, "we're going to the Super Bowl" Vikings fans knows that this season is shot. The fan base would welcome this approach. I'm sure of it.

But, I'm not the head coach of the Vikings. I'm just a schmoe with Internet access.

Posted by: SBG at December 4, 2006 4:47 PM



Posted by: Jeff A at December 5, 2006 11:57 AM

I think I'm a bigger Flip pimp than Freealonzo and even I have a hard time maintaining the optimism that the Gophers could hire Flip, though I will say that if they have the chance to, it's certainly worth waiting until June to do it. I'd be among the first in line to get Gopher season tickets again, which I haven't had since I graduated from the U in 1997.

Count me in agreement with SBG that it's time to give Jackson a shot. Even if the Vikes lose their last four games with him, they've been losing with Johnson anyway, so what point really could there be to sending him back out there?

Posted by: Mark at December 5, 2006 4:48 PM

Shane, I just finished reading David McCullogh's book about the creation of the Brooklyn Bridge and he actually mentioned P.T. Barnum's stunt in the final chapter. It's a good read, if you're interested.

Posted by: Will Young at December 6, 2006 10:56 PM

Thanks for the comment Will! At least a couple of us are cultured enough to appreciate interesting historical anecdotes. I appreciate the suggestion!

Posted by: Shane at December 7, 2006 9:55 AM

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