What Does 2-0 Mean?

The NFL is big on numbers -- some meaningful, others insignificant. But, what does the Vikings winning today mean? Playoffs, if you're a gambler and/or a historian.

Statistics are huge in pro sports. They're the barometer of how good a player is, how good a team is and how to calculate how individuals and teams will finish from early results.

About the only place the NFL takes a backseat to baseball is that MLB is a sport for "Rainman" toothpick-counting nerds who can tell you a batter's average with an 0-2 count. Even so, the NFL has stats that many of you have likely already seen -- the percentage of teams that make the playoffs by winning their first game or that only two teams have started 0-2 and won the Super Bowl (Dallas shouldn't really count as one of them because Emmitt Smith held out and the team went 0-2 and signed him back up).

But, here's a question for you? How many teams that start 2-0 make the playoffs? At VU, we don't care about anyone else -- that's not our stock and trade. We care about the Vikings, which is why tonight's game with Chicago is so important.

Remember 1985? Most Vikings players don't because they were in grade school at the time. That was the only time in franchise history that the team started 2-0 and didn't make the playoffs. It should be noted that it followed the ill-fated Les Steckel year as head coach (or as fans called it "Less Steckel") and the Vikings were rebuilding.

Aside from that, the Vikings have started 2-0 11 times in franchise history. Aside from 1985, they have made the playoffs every year. That is a stat that can't be ignored. Unlike fans of the Raiders who pull back 20-30 years to talk about success, the five times the Vikings have started 2-0 since the 1985 season, they have made the playoffs five times -- advancing to the NFC title game three of those years.

Will beating the Bears tonight assure the Vikings of a playoff spot? No. Will it give them two wins in the division and in NFC tie-breakers? Yes.

Take it for what it's worth. If the Vikings win tonight, you will see these same numbers thrown out by local and national media as reasons to get on the Vikings bandwagon. We're just telling you ahead of time. If Kordell goes down -- figuratively -- tonight, the Vikings are going to the playoffs -- at least to a 91 percent certainty.

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