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December 6, 2007

The Second KMOTW

Wow! What a busy week in the world of dumb people in sports. I'm sure there will never really be a problem picking a Knucklehead McSpazatron of the Week, but this week offered a lot of good (or is it bad?) options.

The first nomination is Hank Steinbrenner and his stupid little ultimatum. Hey Hank, I think you found out what happens when you try to play hardball with Bill Smith and the Twins! That's right: nothing! So keep your players and money and 26 World Championships and stick it!

My second nomination is Theo Epstein. Smug jerkwad. He is only nominated because if Johan would have been traded to Boston I think I would have had a stroke. I'm sick of Minnesota being a farm club for all things Boston. If a trade to Boston would have happened Theo would have been given a Knucklehead McSpazatron Lifetime Achievement Award.

Ray Edwards made a strong push for the honor. Did he do something stupid? Check. Has he hurt the Vikings defense? Check. Is he the biggest knucklehead in the Vikings organization? Nope.

And I really considered Patrick Reusse because of his annoying habit of referring to himself in the third person. Check out this lame quote from his column on Monday:

A tubby sportswriter sitting directly in front of Childress was grateful that the coach didn't put overeating on Sunday's list. A couple of weeks ago, during a Monday media session, Chilly was on one of his rambles and included "gaining 60 pounds" as a reason not to feel good about yourself.

Ugh. "Tubby sportswriter"? He then referred to himself as "TS" the rest of the column. That is just plain weird. Not clever. Weird.

But all of these potential knuckleheads pale in comparison to this week's winner.

Behold! I present to you the second winner of the Knucklehead McSpazatron of the Week!


Zygi and his clueless drive for a new Vikings stadium has left me confused, perplexed, and mystified. As you all know, this week Pawlenty and legislative leaders basically told Zygi no way, not this year. And for good reason. There is no plan! Nothing but a huge public contribution.

What really has me stumped though is how far Zygi has come from what was actually a good plan in Anoka County. When Zygi first bought the team, he proposed this plan to build a Vikings stadium in Anoka County:

Vikings contribution: at least $280 million
Anoka county contribution: at least $280 million
State contribution: at least $115 million

So, $675 million and a local partner with about 40% of the cost coming from the Vikings (and probably the NFL). A good beginning. A plan everyone could work with. A real "plan."

Today's "plan" is now:

Vikings contribution: $250 million
Public contribution: $700 million

So, $950 million with no local partner and only about 25% coming from the team. Huh? Does Zygi not think we are not paying attention? How can the cost of a new stadium go up by almost $300 million, but his contribution go down $30 million?

It makes me think about what Zygi is really up to. He has got to know this new "plan" of his looks horrible. It is a sucky plan. It makes Carl Pohlad look generous for goodness sakes!

What is Zygi up to? Does he want to alienate us? Does he want to show the NFL he is in a no win situation and should be allowed to move? Is he just setting the organization up to be sold?

Whatever the case, in the past two years Zygi has taken a huge step backwards in his effort to get a new Vikings stadium built. Maybe 2 huge steps back. And for that, he is my Knucklehead McSpazatron of the Week.

Posted by snackeru at December 6, 2007 8:07 PM


What about the roof? didn't that raise the price? Last I heard, that was about a 200M dollar option he wasn't willing to pay for or any part of.

Posted by: STM at December 6, 2007 9:52 PM

Doesn't matter. Stadium costs go up, so should his contribution.

Posted by: Shane at December 6, 2007 10:13 PM

Isn't the percentage similar to your Twinkies park/Pohald deal now? It seems 25-30% is the precedent here.

Posted by: STM at December 7, 2007 7:02 AM

STM, I know you like to be argumentative and contrarian, and I'm sure your family and friends love this about your personality, but are you really arguing that less should be expected out of the Vikings? After all your talk of totalitarianism and the death of democracy and how bad you thought the Twins stadium deal was ... suddenly it is good enough for the Vikings?

The Twins stadium (the stadium alone) will cost $400 million. The Twins will put up $130 million. That is about 33%. The Twins always fought hard to stay at 33%.

So, assuming that $950 million is also for the stadium only, the Vikings contribution should be about $310 million. That is about 33%.

But I would argue that without a local partner, the Vikings contribution should be even more. Zygi cannot expect the state to pick up the rest. It is a huge stretch to even expect the state to pick up 1/3, let alone 2/3 of the cost.

Again, though, my main point is that the Vikings stadium costs have skyrocketed, but Zygi's contribution has gone down. That just isn't going to get a deal done.

I will agree with you that the Twins stadium deal is a good precedent to follow for Zygi, but obviously he is still missing a few key pieces. First and foremost in my mind is his pathetic contribution. Bring that up and the legislature might be more inclined to listen.

Posted by: Shane at December 7, 2007 8:27 AM

Shane you ignorant slut.

Zygi has no intention of building a new stadium here. He is simply putting forth proposals so show he is trying. He's wanting to either:

A - Take the team elsewhere.
B - Sell to another owner.

All of these failed plans are only argumentative tools he can use later on. He'll say he's tried very hard for years to get a stadium built but it cannot happen here. Then he'll politely ask the NFL to move the team, and superstar Adrian Peterson to a shiny new stadium in a better locale where more people can see him. If he cannot get another city, he'll sell the team. I have seen absolutely nothing that shows he is willing to work to keep the team here.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at December 7, 2007 8:48 AM

Zygi's not a seller and he has no place to move the team. All I'm advocating is; at the very least, equal treatment for the Vikes as the Twins got. As I've stated before, I disagree with the process of how Pohlad Park was ramrodded but if that's the way it is? than the Vikes should get the same deal. And, I disagree that the stadium costs have skyrocketed. The roof accounts for the bulk of the increase and as I previously stated, if 110 venues (non-football related) are going to benefit from the addition of a roof, its not unreasonable to expect the cost of such an amenity to be covered from someplace other than the football component.

The "local partner" argument is just a means to stiff arm the process right now. The whole State is/should be a partner in this and will be eventually. Probably as soon as Oputz takes his shoe shining position with the Twinkies and a new Commissioner sits in his chair to champion the cause.

Posted by: STM at December 7, 2007 10:39 AM

The really sad thing is how the public continues to be snookerd on the Pohlad Park deal! Remember all the pacifying promises? Extra money for libraries - poof, gone. How about money for the children (youth athletic programs) - poof, gone also. It seems the shrinking economy has stifled some of the expected sales tax proceeds. Like we all didn't know those were just "buffer" promises anyway.

Doubt me? ask Kazuba.

Posted by: STM at December 7, 2007 11:17 AM

Just had a call from my close, personal friend Zygi. One, he is so upset he will not be flying with the team to San Fran. Two, you will never again be able to see a Vikes game from a nosebleed seat inside the comfy confines of the Hubert H. Humphrey Dome. I guess it is time for you to join with CC and become a cheese-head ;)

All joking aside, I would have waited on Zygi until after the season. This week, I would gone with Barry "Guilty? I'm not Guilty" Bonds who is apparently so "innocent" that he wanted to plea bargin by giving up info on BALCO. Uh-huh. Note to Barry: That ship has sailed.

Posted by: Brian Maas at December 8, 2007 3:45 PM

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