News, Views, & Wooooooooooooooo! And The Mfan NFL Picks For Week 2!

Marc Elliott

STONY POINT…. There was sports excitement in the air in the Metroplex today as the Minnesota Vikings bested the Jacksonville Jaguars in OT 26-23. Rookie kicker Blair Walsh from the University of Georgia tied the game at 23 each at the end of the fourth quarter, then got the winner in OT. With the new NFL rule for overtime games in effect, the Jags got one more possession and sputtered, giving the Purple their first season opener win since the 2010 season. And honestly, since I don’t really follow the NFL much anymore, if at all, one of the big things that stood out to me was the attendance: 56,607.

With an attendance number about eight thou short of a full house, on opening day no less, my guess is that number is a combination of economic woes, fan malaise regarding the current direction of the team, and perhaps a little bit of fan anger about how the new stadium got kind of rammed down the throats of the taxpayers of the Metro area and the state. My malaise is with the NFL itself and the way they go about their business. I am still looking for someone from the league who can explain to me why a business that takes in $9 bil a year in revenues needs an already overburdened taxpayer to help fund its place of business.

On top of all of that, out of the Vikings owners’ portion of stadium investment ($477 mil of a $975 mil tab), it is estimated that the Wilf family could possibly recoup as much as $200 mil of their share through stadium naming rights and other revenue streams. Additionally, the real money maker for the Wilf family will be the increase in the value of the team once the new stadium is complete. The new facility will push the value of the team to over $1 bil. The Wilfs paid a little over $600 mil for the club. Good deal for them, eh?
As much as I don’t like how the deal got completed, I’m glad it did. I have every reason to believe that the new facility will be operated as successfully as the HHH Metrodome was, and the Dome was a huge financial success. It was successful to the point that the note on the stadium was retired early. And a lot more than football and baseball took place there. At any rate, whether I’ll be watching or not, congrats on your first win of the season, and good luck the rest of the way….
NOT FAR AWAY, ON THE north side of downtown, the Twins bested the Cleveland Indians on two homeruns by Justin Morneau, including a walkoff solo shot. Obviously the boys are playing for little more than pride, and with only 22 tilts left in their season, it would be nice to see them pass Cleveland and Kansas City in the standings. They are one behind the Indians and five behind the Crowns. The club honored former manager Tom Kelly before Saturday evening’s contest, and a lot of talk surrounding the weekend event was based on the debate as to whether or not TK could get into the baseball HOF.

That’s an interesting question. While he skippered the club to two World Series titles in 1987 and 1991, the Twins of 1993 through 2000 were not very good and took Kelly’s career record to sub-.500. They did put a somewhat respectable record of 85-77 together in the 2001 season, which would turn out to be Kelly’s last, and that season appeared to be a good springboard year as the club would be fairly competitive for the remainder of the 2000s. However, the question of whether or not Kelly can get in with two WS titles and a sub-.500 record remains to be answered.
My thought is that the two titles could gain him inclusion, but we are talking about a very fickle group of voters here. The Baseball Writers of America are anything but predictable, and the reality is that Kelly probably won’t get in. I heard talk around the airwaves over the weekend that TK would probably have to have three WS titles to overcome the regular season record. Whatever. One thing I can guarantee you is that the last guy on the globe who is concerned with that is Tom Kelly…  
THERE IS NOTHING NEW to report on the NHL CBA talks. They broke off recently, but there have been some informal talks just this past weekend at the NHL offices in NY City. The clock is ticking. Saturday is D-Day, or should I call it L-Day for lockout. This will be a real letdown as far as I am concerned. I did see one suggestion on a fan blog that said what the league should do regarding the salary cap and where to set it would be to gear it to revenues of the mid-level teams. This way all clubs could benefit from having a cap. The way it is now, the current floor of the cap is way above what some of the small-market clubs were spending prior to having the cap that was supposed to help and protect all the teams. Let’s hope that some wave of conciliatory vibes hits both sides before Saturday…. PEACE

(HOME team in CAPS )
Bear over CHEESE
NYG over Bucs
CINCY over Brownies
BUFF over Chefs
VIKE over Colts
Saints over CARO
Raiders over FISH
Pats over CARDS
Raven over EAGLES
Wash over GOATMEN
Boys over SEATTLE
STEEL over J-e-t-s
Tex over JAX
CHARGER over Tenn
Bronc over ATL
NINERS over Lion
WEEK ONE: 9-5, incomplete….

Marc Elliott is a freelance sports opinion writer who splits time between his hometown in Illinois and Minnesota. Elliott grew up in the Twin Cities with many of his childhood neighbors working or playing for the Vikings and Twins. He participated in baseball, football and hockey before settling on hockey as his own number one sport. Elliott recently wrote “The Masked Fan Speaks” column for the Lake County News Chronicle for ten years and was a prominent guest on the former “All Sports” WDSM 710AM in Duluth.