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As The Fans Said… Too Soon, Zygi

Many wondered why Zygi Wilf was content to extend Brad Childress’ contract in the middle of this season, which seemed incredibly premature.

Now, as we see our team on the wrong end of yet another instant classic game, there are many questions about how the coaching staff handled this game and I can’t help but think Childress should be fired.

He won’t be fired, because of his shiny new contract… but perhaps he should be.

Here are some reasons why I think that:

  1. TALENT:  People will point to Brad Childress’ improving record over the course of his tenure with the Vikings and say, “hey, at least they keep getting better!”  That is true, and I have never really denied his ability to spot talent.  But when you have more talent, more Pro Bowlers, on your team than any other NFL team, then making a late run into the playoffs is expected. 
  2. CHILLY BALL:  This is the term designed to explain the way Brad Childress has been known to operate.  The basic gist is to keep the game close and hope you get a break at the end.  To me, this came out in the fourth quarter on Sunday when Childress was seemingly so concerned about the Saints having time left that he refused to play for anything better than a 50 yard field goal.  Calling runs at the beginning of that drive essentially wore down the clock before they got to where they wanted to be, instead they should be getting to where they need to be and then running down the clock.  Poor game management in yet another crucial point.
  3. PENALTIES:  The Vikings have shown a lack of discipline on the field this year.  This played a huge part in the loss to the Saints, as a twelve men in the huddle penalty is basically what did them in.  Favre never should’ve been in a position to make that horrible throw to end regulation, especially after a timeout was called.  After losing in the playoffs to the Eagles last year, a player commented to the media that the sideline was in total disarray.  This year, perhaps the same could be said, as I cannot think of any other reason why twelve guys should be in that huddle.  To make matters worse, Childress seemed to throw Fahu Tahi under the bus by going out of his way to say that it was a fullback that was where he wasn’t supposed to be.
  4. INSPIRATION:  Sean Payton brought hall-of-famer Ronnie Lott in to help inspire his team.  Brad Childress had an American Idol punch line on his sideline.  Inspiration has never appeared to be his strong suit and I think it showed on Sunday.  Favre was playing inspired football, which seemed to rub off on guys like Shiancoe and Berrian, but the team otherwise seemed to lack any fire.  The home crowd will get this team fired up for half their games, but Childress needs to find a way to get his team to play inspired football on the road.
  5. REGULAR SEASON:  I am somewhat convinced that the Vikings would have torched the Saints had this game been played in the Metrodome.  Given that they ended up only one game behind the Saints, this would have been a possibility had the Vikings not choked away one of their four games that resulted in losses.  I tore into Childress, blaming his play calling for the loss to the Steelers (9-7).  Losing to the Panthers (8-8) and the Bears (7-9) was unacceptable to the fans when it happened, and is even more annoying now.  Losing to the Cardinals (10-6) was a little easier to swallow given that they were the NFC Champions the year before.  Regardless, winning one of these games means the Vikings play the Saints at home.  I saw nothing on Sunday that makes me think the Saints would have beat us in our house.

I know the point is moot, but these reasons are exactly why so many fans were flabbergasted when Zygi Wilf agreed to give Childress a premature extension.

So, with Brad Childress giving season ticket holders no reason to expect anything different next season, one has to wonder how sales will do in 2010 with or without Brett Favre at the helm.  If sales decline, if getting a new stadium becomes even tougher, then I think Wilf will be able to directly attribute those struggles to his decision to extend Chili’s contract.

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25 Responses to “As The Fans Said… Too Soon, Zygi”

  1. We’ll see how he does in 2010 without Brett Favre. If he fails miserably, then can him.. but I’d at least give him one more year.

  2. bigjohnny84 says:

    Well put Adam. The same things have been going through my mind as well.

  3. Ben Dover says:

    Brett Favre sucks, I’m so glad he threw that interception, maybe now he will go away for good.
    That was my favorite Vikings loss since the Steelers beat them in Super Bowl IX.
    I don’t feel bad at all for the Vikings organization, you got what you deserved for bringing that cancer onto your team.

  4. CO Vike Fan says:

    Nice job Adam. I actually found myself telling Mrs. CO that Childress finally did a decent job of clock management, and that we were in good position with 20 seconds left, can run any play, and still have a timeout. Then,…WHAT? 12 MEN IN THE HUDDLE??? AFTER A TIMEOUT??

    I take back all the good things I just said. And, to all the Favre haters, he was a warrier out there. The interception didn’t lose the game, the fumbles lost the game and the penalty sealed it.

  5. Kevin WI says:

    I don’t even need to read this article to disagree with you. Childress is no Bud Grant, but he can hold his own…..
    Fire him???? for this??? what the hell are you smoking?

  6. B. Grant says:

    I respect your perspective, Adam, as always, and there are some valid concerns. However, the loss against the Saints needs to set squarely on the shoulders of the players, IMO. Five turnovers was completely out of character for a team who had committed only 18 all year. The Vikings appeared VERY well prepared for the noise in the Super Dome, and I liked the lack of penalties last night. The stats all pointed to the fact that we were the more prepared team, and Sean Payton made some VERY questionable decisions of his own last night. We did not get outcoached, the players beat themselves, and any coach has to do a LOT of things right to get where the Vikes got.

    I do agree, however, that the extension seems premature. I was very surprised at that, but it is clear that Chili is his man. It does help in the acquisition of FA’s to see stability in an organization. And it is my opinion that, even with the final minute of regulation admittedly weak, Chili did what HE needed to do to get this team to the Super Bowl.

    I know that’s not polular, but I do think it is objective.

  7. Fragile Freds says:

    AK –

    Freds loves you and your site, but Kevin and Buds are right on the money.

    Fred would be interested in your thoughts in a week on this topic. Your article is short on facts and large on emotion. Chilly is a bore and not a crowd favorite, but if you look at facts, he has done a good job for this organization. Yesterday was a well coached game he had the team ready and they never gave up. Now if the players came out and said, that Chilly didn’t tell us we had to hold on to the ball, you might have a point. That was a players loss, not a coaching loss. You can pick apart any coach with any game if you want as a fan. Stick with facts my man.

    “So, with Brad Childress giving season ticket holders no reason to expect anything different next season…”

    32 teams, 4 left as of yesterday and you want him fired. Fred doesn’t think so. The fans got their money’s worth this year.

    It was a great ride!!

  8. Matt T. says:

    Have to agree with B. Grant on this one. Childress and his staff put together really good game plans for both playoff games. Only reason the Vikings didn’t put the game away earlier was b/c of the 2 fumbles in the red zone.

    AP had a huge hole when they fumbled the exchange – that’s not on the coach.

    And the coach’s play call put the ball in Berrian’s hands inside the 20 when he fumbled it after being hit – that’s not on the coach.

    And Johnson let the ball slip through his fingers for an INT in OT – that’s not on the coach.

    Favre made great decisions all year, and why he missed the open receiver on the sideline on the last INT is hard to understand. Coach’s called a play should have worked, but Favre missed the open receiver to give them better FG range.

    The only thing I was thinking, even though they had just run Taylor for 14 yards, was running on 1st & 2nd down with a minute left. I really thought they were going to pass on 2nd down, get the ball to the middle on 3rd, and then kick it for the win.

    What in this game led you to believe that Sean Payton was a better coach (you didn’t say this, but can be inferred from the article). I think this article is in the “mailing it in” variety. Coaches put the players in great position to win the game, and they just came up :20 and a coin flip short. If anything, I have more respect for the coaches after this playoff run.

  9. Adam Warwas says:

    Intersting points from everyone (except Ben Dover) and I can see both sides of this, I really can.

    Freds, you are right on with the emotion vs. facts thing, but there is plenty of time to bring out the facts… and you know I will.

    To me, the season was defined by their first loss to the Steelers. The choice to pass, albeit a screen, to Taylor when a simple run would have ended the game with a Vikings win was terrible decision making in my opinion. A win there would’ve put the NFC Championship at home.

    Instead, it reminded me of Chili’s ability to throw a game away which, again in my opinion, reared its head in this loss.

    the Vikes did a very good job of many things, and the coaches deserve credit for those things. Having a disorganized sideline which results in having too many players on the field at the game’s most crucial moment is inexcusable. Getting almost no pressure on Brees was inexcusable. letting Favre get pummeled on nearly every play was inexcusable. Where were the in-game adjustments to solve these problems?

    The player’s deserve much of the blame, and I agree with that for sure, but extending Childress in the middle of the season did nobody any favors.

  10. Adam Warwas says:

    Oh, and I in no way mean to say Payton is a better coach. Known as a very good inspirational guy, however, I think he easily takes the cake over Chili on that one. that’s all.

  11. Matt T. says:

    Vikings were within a minute and one play of probably making the Super Bowl. I think Childress gets his extension in off-season, if it didn’t happen in middle of the season.

    Remember that the screen pass to Taylor was dropped (why can’t this team hang on to the ball?) and they were down 13-20 to Pitt at the time. Previous to that, the strip-fumble TD made it 6-20. Harvin’s return made it 13-20. So a run would not have sealed the win. They needed to score a TD to tie. Again, players dropped the ball.

    I’m having a ball talking this stuff after the game yesterday. I’m not as devastated as in ’98 or angry/humiliated as ’00. Just left wishing/wanting them to make one more play. It was there, but they just could not grasp it. What a great game, despite the outcome.

  12. Brendan says:

    I also have to agree with you on this one. Sure I thought that we should’ve tried to get closer then a 50 yarder at first, but we dominated this game and easily could’ve won even though we fumbled the ball a whopping 6 times (3 lost). All in all the game was well called. Even the last offensive play was perfectly called. Brett could’ve crawled for enough yards to get into FG range. This loss falls solely on the players.

    Ps- I don’t think Favre comes back. What do you guys think about McNabb. It’s obvious McNabb is the QB Childress built his offense for (see drafting Tarvaris Jackson)

  13. Adam Warwas says:

    Not reviewing Pierre’s touchdown was B.S. too. That should’ve been reviewed. Sure, it would have been 2nd and goal from the 1, but how many times have we stopped teams there before. And what good do challenges do if you don’t use them?

    • bigjohnny84 says:

      Adam, some more ammo for you. What about the end of the first half? We had two timeouts in the bank and had Saints deep in their end. Chili should’ve used the timeouts and tried to make them punt out of their own endzone but just let the clock run out.

    • Adam Warwas says:

      Agree Johnny, another example of ChillyBall.

      Look, I know that going afte rthe coach is the “easy way” out. But I am not denying the part the players had in this loss.

      I’m just saying that Childress doesn’t have “it” and I don’t think he ever will. The decision to give Chili the extension is even harder to swallow knowing that eventually Frazier will go be a good head coach for someone else.

  14. Lost Viking says:

    Its natural to blame the Head Coach after a loss like that. After some solid clock managment the last three offensive plays were curious.

    Chillyball: It would have been better to have let Favre continue passing on 1st and 2nd downs. Was there again disagreement between Favre and Childress resulting in the timeout being taken in the first instance? And, will the tensions between these two result in an easier-than-expected Favre retirement? Speculation

    Favre played only an average game. However, he was great all season and, as others point out – he did the job to get us there.

    Why do we attach all the blame to the Head Coach? Shouldn’t there be a review of Darrell Darrell Bevill Bevill’s game performance. Wasn’t it Bevill’s responsibility to get 11 players on the field? Does the Offensive coordinator bear some responsibility for fumbles? Weak, weak, weak.

  15. Matt T. says:

    My guess is that the guys upstairs didn’t get to see the Pierre TD before the kick. His knee might have even been down outside the one. Can’t fault that one, too much, but I’ll take our chances stuffing them on the goal line.

    Boy, I’m torn on McNabb. He’s proven he can lead a team deep. Maybe the Vikings have the talent to help him get over the top. My hope is that Favre does come back. Watching him execute the game plan from the 2nd half at Chicago through the game yesterday in New Orleans was a thing of beauty. For 3.5 games, this offense might have been more explosive than the ’98 team. Let the speculation begin.

  16. B. Grant says:

    New Orleans Destiny?

    Vike defender unknowingly deflects almost certain teammate interception.
    Two Viking fumbles lost inside opponent 10 yd. line, one totally unforced.
    One fumble lost deep in our own end. (Harvin’s first of the year?)
    Both second half scores on short fields (fumble, and KO return to start half.)
    Favre throws worst INT of the year.
    Lost coin flip.
    Thomas’ 4th & one dive nearly short/nearly a fumble.
    Phantom PI penalty on Leber.
    Johnson drops almost “undroppable” INT.

    I don’t usually go this route, folks, but my goodness, what an amazing series of events for Saints to win that game. Don’t mean to take anything away from a team who had a great year, but what had to happen for them to win that game was almost comical.

    • Purple Charlie says:

      Your right, Unbeleiveable for the Saints. PLUS 5 turn overs, 3 was the worst before this game…I look for the train to stop in two weeks.

      I don’t see that happening to the Colts, The SAINTS will have to play a Heck of alot better than this week. Manning and Company will be ready!!!

  17. CalVkg says:

    i’m not a big fan of chilly’s, and we had plenty of opportunities to win or make better plays and decisions, but we lost because of the turnovers, period! otherwise, we were much better. who gets the blame? everybody who fumbled or threw the turnover has the greatest responsibility, and then every coach who didn’t stress the turnovers enough or teach how not to turn it over, especially in AP’s case. who gets the most credit when they score or have a big play? the player, not the coach. anyways, i’m just very disheartened, if that even describes it. we gave this game away, what a waste, we could’ve won the freekin’ super bowl. here’s the best article i’ve read so far on it –

    Brett Favre Played Like a Warrior, Not a Champion

    Here is the scenario: Your team is tied at 28 with less than 15 seconds left in the NFC Championship on your opponent’s 38-yard line and you’re the quarterback.

    You rollout to the right and you have three options. Option A, you run for 10-15 open yards and put your field goal kicker up in a much better situation. Option B, you buy time for an open receiver. Option C, you throw it across the middle, the most frowned upon throw a quarterback can make.

    You and me, like most quarterbacks, would have taken option A. A few idiots would have taken option B. However, only Brett Favre would have taken option C.

    Even with all the mistakes, the fumbles, the bad play calls, the bad protection, the penalties, and everything else, the Vikings still were in position to win the game at the end.

    That’s why Favre’s second interception was the worst mistake of all.

    If Favre would have refrained from letting out his old gunslinger mentality we all knew could come out at any time, he could have thought clearly and ran the ball into the open space, giving his field goal kicker a much easier field goal attempt.

    I honestly feel bad criticizing Brett Favre after the game on Sunday, because he had one of the gutsiest performances I have ever seen. Favre, at 40-years old, took more hard hits than almost any other normal quarterback could have taken.

    He was beaten up repeatedly, but he kept getting up and didn’t lose a beat. Once a defender rolled on Favre’s ankle, I actually thought Favre’s day could be done. However, one again, the greatest warrior in NFL history showed us he was a tougher breed than everyone else.

    I have never been a passionate Brett Favre fan. I generally despise his off the field antics, but I have always admired him for his toughness. Even so, I haven’t been that upset over a game in a long time. Nothing can describe my feelings better than simply saying Favre deserved the victory.

    The loss should be blamed on the Viking’s coaching staff.

    First off, does it have a problem with Chestor Taylor? Adrian Peterson should have been benched after hist first two fumbles, and Harvin, who fumbled as well, should never have been put in the game at running back.

    If I were Brad Childress seeing my team collapse before my eyes because of fumbles, I would have immediately inserted the sure-handed Taylor for the rest of the game.

    Taylor is a very good running back, and Harvin and Peterson, especially of late, haven’t been good enough to be worth keeping in the game. Mistakes in football do happen. Reggie Bush’s fumble, and Drew Brees’ botched exchange with the center, were two big mistakes on the Saints’ side. However, some of the Vikings’ mistakes could have been prevented had Childress stepped up and kept Taylor in the game.

    Secondly, why did the Vikings seem to settle for a 50-plus yard field goal at the end of the game? Once they got into 50-yard field goal range, they ran the ball on the first two downs, very predictably, for no gain. If we’ve learned anything this playoffs it’s settling for a long field goal can be costly.

    Following this, the Vikings then switched up personnel, and cost themselves five yards on a penalty for 12 men in the huddle, making the possible attempted field goal 56 yards. The costly interception Favre would throw on the next play very likely would not have happened if Favre knew his kicker was in reasonable field goal range.

    The Saints were not the better team on Sunday. The Vikings had a total of 457 total net yards compared to the Saint’s 257 yards. The Saints had a 25 percent efficiency rating on third down and could not move the ball in the second half. The Saints were given so many opportunities to punish the Vikings for their mistakes, but repeatedly failed to do so in the second half.

    Ultimately, despite this, the Saints are going to the Super Bowl, and Favre and the Viking’s are not. Adrian Peterson has lost the glamour he has had the last couple of seasons, and needs to work hard this offseason to correct his fumbling problems and regain his mojo. If he doesn’t, the running back who seemed destined to be one of the greatest ever likely won’t be.

    The worst part of the Viking’s loss is now we have to hear whether or not Favre is going to be back for a another season for who knows how long. If I were Favre, despite having a great team around me, I might just retire.

    As a tough as Favre is, I can’t see him putting a another season with that much effort at the age of 41.

    Before the season, I said Favre’s legacy had been severely damaged because of his off-the-field antics, and although he had no hope for saving it completely with Packer’s fans because of his betrayal, it could be saved with most of America with a Super Bowl win. I do believe there are still a lot of anti-Favre sentiments around the country.

    However, despite not winning the Super Bowl, if Favre does not make this offseason all about him again, Favre’s legacy will be somewhat saved.

    Favre will never be the golden boy, he was once perceived to be by the media. However, the truth is Favre never needed to be that guy. Favre’s legacy he leaves is that there has never been a tougher player in NFL history than Brett Favre, and he proved that this season.

  18. B. Grant says:

    Adam, I’m gonna say it was too early in the game for that challenge. (I’m really not trying to be disagreeable!) It was sure to be a wild and wooly event, and there was the very good chance that a much greater need for two challenges might have come along. (Actually, I thought Payton might have backed himself into a corner when he challenged that 4th down spot.) I agree it COULD have been a difference maker, and I think it would have been a good challenge, say late in the third qtr. Not so much in the first (early 2nd?) quarter. Yes as it turned out, would have been a good one to challenge, but that’s only with 20-20 hindsight. Again, IMO.

  19. Fragile Freds says:

    Buds when you post, are there times when you post in someone elses opinion? Just wonderings. Otherwise no need to specify its your opinion.

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