The League

Michael Kun
Author

Michael Kun

Co-author of The Football Uncyclopedia. He is also the author of six other books and is a practicing attorney.

Changing the postseason landscape

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In four short weeks, the Minnesota Vikings have gone from Super Bowl contender to overrated also-ran, to potential playoff team, back to Super Bowl contender.

And in the same span, the New England Patriots have gone from potential playoff team, to flawed playoff team, to Super Bowl contender, back to flawed playoff team.

The latest assessments of each team are tied, of course, to this week's blockbuster trade, where the Patriots sent future Hall of Fame wideout Randy Moss back to the Minnesota Vikings, changing the identities of both teams, at least for the short term.

Putting aside the interesting but ultimately academic question of whether a team has ever traded such a standout player in the middle of a season that was by no means lost, in one fell swoop the landscape of this NFL season has changed rather dramatically.

The Vikings now must be considered one of the strongest NFC teams once again. The trade will be felt not only in Minnesota, but in Green Bay and Dallas, whose teams' chances of making a Super Bowl run just became more difficult (though, oddly, only a little more difficult than everyone had believed during the pre-season).

And while the Patriots' season is by no means done -- after all, Bill Belichik and Tom Brady have won a Super Bowl or two without Moss -- every AFC team with Super Bowl hopes, from the Jets to the Colts to the Chargers, must be feeling a little better about its odds now. (Although the Jets can't be feeling very good about having to see Moss in a Vikings uniform this Monday night after his performance against them in a Patriots uniform a few weeks back. Remember his one-handed catch in the end zone after beating Darrelle Revis? No? Then turn on ESPN, because they've been showing it every five minutes.)

If the Vikings win the Super Bowl, everyone will point back to this trade.

If the Patriots fail to make the playoffs, or come up fall one drive short of winning a critical game, everyone will point back to this trade, too.

Only time will tell of course, but it would not be surprising if, directly or indirectly, we can tie this season's Super Bowl winner back to this trade.

By Michael Kun  |  October 7, 2010; 12:09 PM ET  | Category:  Michael Kun , Minnesota Vikings , New England Patriots Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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