The League

Richard Boadu & Claude Clayborne
6Magazine co-editors

Richard Boadu & Claude Clayborne

Publisher/Co-Editors of 6Magazine - a football and hip-hop culture digital magazine

Vikings are biggest loser

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By Aaron Stern

Way back in September, the popular school of thought was that the Cowboys and Vikings were each solid bets to battle on behalf of the NFC in Super Bowl XLV. Not three months later each franchise has been whipped and scorned, and the only competition left is to determine who has been the bigger disappointment.

Both teams have failed for startlingly similar reasons, so let's go to the scorecard to determine the biggest loser.

Lowered expectations: Last year, the Vikings came within one Brett Favre interception of reaching the Super Bowl. As long as Favre returned, the thinking was Minnesota could go all the way this year. But the road back to the top of the mountain is always harder the next time around, and a drop-off wasn't inconceivable. Dallas, though, had just made the playoffs for the first time since 1938 (give or take), and their star, pun intended, was on the rise. Advantage: Cowboys.

Who's in charge here? Wade Phillips was on the hot seat for two years, and it was no secret that Jerry Jones was itching to promote his golden boy, Jason Garrett. Brad Childress, on the other hand, looked like a genius this time last year for the rewards he reaped by waiting out the annual Brett Favre retirement melodrama. Few would have predicted 10 weeks ago that Chilly would fall victim to the in-season chopping block. Advantage: Vikings.

Point of no return: It's one thing for a franchise to make a desperate in-season trade, but the Randy Moss saga was stupefying. Trade for a player with a bad reputation who previously burned your franchise, then cut him three weeks later? That is an organization in utter chaos. The closest Dallas got to matching that level of disarray was Phillips' increasingly sad, mumbling press conferences and Jones' weird, woe-is-me hallway press conference after getting whooped by the Packers. Advantage: Vikings.

Indecent Exposure: Tony Romo proved he could win big games last year, and this year he was supposed to win it all. Then he broke his collarbone. Such is life in the NFL. Meanwhile, Brett Favre's physical decline has certainly been disappointing. But raise your hand if you called that before this season reached its midway point you could log online and see pictures (supposedly) of No. 4's manhood. Suddenly, the days when ESPN's Rachel Nichols camped out on Favre's lawn every August seem quaint and heartwarming. Old Graybeard has done more than help sink the Vikings' hopes this year: He's tarnished his legacy in unspeakable ways and probably wishes he'd hung it up for good last year. And he is far from alone in that wish.

Game, Set, Match: Vikings.

By Richard Boadu & Claude Clayborne  |  November 23, 2010; 10:42 AM ET  | Category:  Brett Favre , Coaching , Dallas Cowboys , Minnesota Vikings , NFC Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Inevitable in Minnesota, not so in Big 'D' | Next: High hopes, blunted expectations

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