By now, if you've read my "Reaction to the Action" enough times, you know how much I hate to lose and how much I'm looking forward to my grandson turning 5 so I can beat him in checkers. I truly believe winning is a habit, as is losing. But then you throw in fate with a little bit of luck and a winning habit can get discombobulated. Luck really was a heavy factor that gave classy first-year professional head coach Jack Del Rio his first NFL win.
The luck I'm talking about is the rare fumble by Vikings running back Larry Ned on the 3-yard line, which was picked up by Jacksonville's Ike Charlton and returned 97 yards for a touchdown, which was a 14-point swing. The reason the luck factor is mentioned is because in the locker room after the game players found a lot to be proud of. Daunte Culpepper was so excited about the way the first-team offensive line played that he was bubbling about the playoffs already. The enthusiasm he portrayed was genuine and was backed up by the first-team offensive line. As I went to their unique corner of the locker room, I was verbally attacked by each and every one of them, which is how it should be. They were definitely in a good frame of mind. Being the true professionals that they are, they wouldn't have taken this type of attitude after a loss if they didn't take some serious intangibles from their first half of play.
Even the first-team defense played well. When you hold a team to one out of 10 third-down conversions and a total offensive production of just 215 yards, you do have something to build upon. But this positive, contagious feeling cannot be shared by any members of the special teams. How players can make so many mental mistakes knowing that they are on the fringe of the roster and fighting for their professional livelihood is beyond my wildest dreams. Fans are throwing the blame out to the coaches, the training camp production and player nerves — they are all pointing a finger in a different direction. But I truly feel in my heart that some of these fringe players just don't have the commitment and the intelligence to survive in the National Football League. They will cut themselves.
And speaking of this great game of football, I would like to change the subject slightly and say something about Kelci Stringer suing the NFL. Her lead attorney, Stanley Chelsey, and the others representing Kelci in their lawsuit state that the NFL is "perverse, insidious and a deadly culture." I have three words for those attorneys — get a life. Thanks for letting me vent. I feel better even after this loss.
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