Joe Webb may not be Jack Webb or Joe Friday, but he is the only one who can catch the killer of the Super Bowl Dream in this week’s episode of …
The story you are about to read is true. The quarterbacks have been changed to protect the innocent.
It was an icy Saturday evening after a heavy snowfall in Green Bay Wisconsin. My partner and I were working the internal investigations desk for the Vikings police department. Our chief was Leslie Frazier. My partner was Adrian Peterson. My name is Joe Webb. I carry a clipboard.
PETERSON: Hey, Joe, check out these brochures of Rio de Janeiro.
PETERSON: Looks like a great place. Lots of beaches. Beautiful women. Can’t wait for 2016.
WEBB: Why’s that?
PETERSON: The Olympics, Joe! I am thinking of becoming an Olympian. Track, probably, though something keeps drawing me to the bobsled.
WEBB: Why’s that?
PETERSON: I don’t know. Some people think it’s a Vikings running back thing. Or maybe with the bobsled, when you have three good teammates, you can win a gold medal. I’ve been getting by with three good teammates for years.
WEBB: Isn’t bobsledding in the winter Olympics?
PETERSON: Why, I never thought of that. Maybe I will just become a kickoff returner. There’s the phone, Joe.
WEBB: (answering) Yeah? Yeah? Yeah. Got it. Grab your helmet, Adrian. Someone just killed the Vikings Super Bowl Dream.
PETERSON: How does that involve us? We are internal investigations, not homicide.
WEBB: They think it was an inside job.
Our first stop was at the locker of John Kuhn, Packers fullback and fan favorite. Kuhn was seen scoring two touchdowns while the Vikings Super Bowl Dream died.
KUHN: I’m surprised to see you fellas. I thought you would be licking your wounds in a snowdrift somewhere.
WEBB: Save it for the funny papers. Where were you when the Vikings Super Bowl Dream died?
KUHN: In the end zone, or doing the Lambeau leap.
WEBB: Uh-huh. And I suppose that’s a coincidence.
KUHN: You can’t pin nothin’ on me. I was just doing my job. And that Dream was pretty well dead long before my second touchdown.
WEBB: Uh-huh. Why don’t you just tell me what you saw.
KUHN: I saw you fellas put up quite a fight for the first quarter, thanks mostly to your partner there. Then my buddy DuJuan Harris -- you don’t know him; nobody does -- scored a touchdown, but you guys kept scrapping. That Fred Evans made a big stop on me at the goal line; that I remember clearly, because we settled for a field goal. But then your defense started to crack. We marched right down the field with 1:48 to play to make it 17-3. If you want my opinion, that took the fight out of all of you.
WEBB: Just the facts, Kuhn.
KUHN: Right. Well, my second touchdown made it 24-3, and your partner there could not help you anymore. I watched you stand in the pocket, get chased around, throw some ugly passes, get picked, get strip-sacked. We just handed off and punted on all out late drives. The Dream was already dead, you see?
WEBB: I see.
KUHN: In fact, it looked like you were the one who killed the Dream, Webb. Somebody might be setting you up to take the rap.
WEBB: All I’m interested in is the facts. I can see you’re clean. But don’t try anymore Lambeau Leaps, buddy.
KUHN: Why’s that?
WEBB: Your next playoff game is on the road.
Our first stop was at the locker of Christian Ponder, hotshot quarterback and newlywed. Ponder mysteriously took Saturday night off, just as the Vikings Super Bowl Dream was about to die.
PONDER: I’m surprised to see you guys here. I'm just icing my shoulder.
WEBB: Uh-huh. Shoulder got hurt all of a sudden, didn’t it?
PONDER: Well, I was limited in practice all week, then after a pregame short passing session I realized I was too injured to throw the ball.
PONDER: Coach Frazier said it would be OK because of all the bootleg plays.
WEBB: What bootleg plays?
PONDER: The bootleg plays where the quarterback -- usually me, but you instead -- rolls out and runs with the ball himself. The bootleg plays freeze the weakside defenders, which opens running room for Peterson because there is less pursuit. Plus, coach said we could run some option stuff, like the Redskins use.
WEBB: Is that what coach said?
PONDER: Yep. He said we could catch the Packers off guard.
PETERSON: Did coach inform you that without a legitimate downfield passing threat, rollout plays and options can only keep a defense guessing for so long? That after an initial field goal drive, the defense would cope with the fact that I was going to gain some yardage, then pin their ears back after Joe?
PONDER: No, he just told me to ice my shoulder. Say, you fellas don’t think I was in on this do you? If I cannot throw downfield, then I am just a runaround guy. And you are faster than I am, Joe.
WEBB: I think you’re clean. Keeping icing that shoulder. It won’t be used for what we wanted to use it for.
PONDER: What was that?
Our investigation took us right back to the chief’s office.
FRAZIER: Do you fellas have any leads? You have been running around all day.
PETERSON: That’s what you wanted, right? Joe and I, running around all day.
FRAZIER: I don’t like your tone. What are you insinuating?
WEBB: We are on to your little strategy of having me run around in circles. It has been a long day. I was shaken down by Clay Matthews. I made a few long-distance calls that didn’t connect. But Christian Ponder came clean: he said it was your plan to keep me and Peterson busy all night long.
FRAZIER: You fellas have it all wrong. Sure, I had Bill Musgrave go heavy on the handoffs and misdirection early in the game. But that was the only way to protect the Vikings Super Bowl Dream. We didn’t have the manpower, so I knew we had to win with running and defense. And the defensive game plan was sound until that final drive of the first half. If you had completed more than two passes in the first half, we might have gone into halftime tied.
WEBB: Uh-huh. How do I know this is not just a smokescreen to hide the fact that I was supposed to take the fall?
FRAZIER: Look, Joe: no one works as hard as you, but you and I know you are not a second-string quarterback. The person responsible for this is the one that put you in a position where you were bound to fail.
WEBB: I think I get it. You are clean, but don’t get too comfortable in that coach’s chair..
FRAZIER: In what way?
WEBB: I’m not the only one who was put in a position to fail.
We were closing in on our killer. Our last stop was Vikings headquarters. This conspiracy went all the way to the top.
RICK SPIELMAN: You fellas can’t come in here. Mr. Wilf will be here in five minutes to discuss building a new stadium out of popsicle sticks.
PETERSON: Mister Wilf can wait. The jig is up, Spielman. We know you killed the Vikings playoff hopes and that you set up Joe to take the fall.
SPIELMAN: Oh really. And how do you figure?
WEBB: You are the general manager. You are responsible for signing or drafting a viable backup quarterback to Christian Ponder.
SPIELMAN: I did! Sage Rosenfels.
WEBB: Try again. Rosenfels has fallen off the bottom of more depth charts than an old Post-It note tape. You cut him in August.
SPIELMAN: You played well in the preseason. Frazier and I figured you could handle the job.
WEBB: I completed 51.2% of my passes in the preseason, with no touchdowns and five sacks in 41 attempts. Does that sound like a good backup to you? And Frazier’s a defensive coach: you know they always fall head-over-heels for pesky scramblers. All through the playoff run, you sat on your hands, knowing you were one hit away from starting a converted return man at quarterback.
PETERSON: Why’d you do it, boss? I worked so hard all year to protect that Super Bowl Dream.
SPIELMAN: Fellas, you gotta understand … I never thought it would come to this. I thought Ponder would flub in mid-season, Joe would come in, Peterson would have to grind for every inch, and we would lose a bunch of games and start fresh in 2013. The Super Bowl Dream was never supposed to survive this long. And we were in no position to protect it! You guys played great in Week 17, but this is how it was bound to end: a 24-10 loss that was not really that close.
WEBB: Well, that was some confession. You had your master plan all figured out. You just forgot one thing.
SPIELMAN: What’s that?
WEBB: Super Bowl Dreams don’t die easily.
Bum-da-dum-dum! Bum-da-dum-dum!! Bum-da-dum-dum!!! BUM-DA-DUM-DUM Dumb-dumb, dumb-dumb-dumb, dumb duuuhhhhhhh
On January 6th, 2013, the case of Rick Spielman versus the Minnesota Vikings was heard in the blogosphere. Spielman was found guilty of killing the Vikings Super Bowl Dream. However, several mitigating factors, including the frail health of that dream in the first place and Spielman’s efforts in assembling the team that kept it alive, resulted in a suspended sentence.
Quarterback Joe Webb was cleared of all charges of attempting to kill the Super Bowl Dream and was reassigned to the scout team. Coach Frazier was also cleared and sentenced to another year as head coach of the Vikings. Zygi Wilf was unable to get public funding for a popsicle stick stadium.
Adrian Peterson was found guilty of bobsledding while under the influence of Herschel Walker fantasies, but let off with a warning.
Not Totally Non-Unimpressive
The Texans did not lose to the Bengals by a score of 19-13 on Saturday afternoon in Houston.
The game was not as close as the score, and the Texans should have not lost by a wider margin. The Texans controlled the ball for 38 minutes and 49 seconds, including 22 minutes and 53 seconds in the first half. They did not lose because several of their non-risky decisions failed to not pay off as badly as could have, and the Bengals succeeded in not capitalizing on several Texans non-gambles.
Matt Schaub threw 29 passes that did not fall incomplete, for 262 yards, but most of his passes were not thrown deep or to open receivers. Two long early-game drives ended in non-touchdowns. With the Texans not trailing 6-0, Schaub threw a pick-6 when Leon Hall stepped in front of a short pass to James Casey. Kevin Walter broke free of a safety on a corner route down the field on the interception, but he was unseen.
The Bengals went 0-for-9 on third down conversions, but the Texans averted a convincing victory by failing to go for it on 4th-and-short twice near midfield and kicking a 24-yard non-touchdown on 4th-and-goal. These “safe” decisions left the team with a six-point non-deficit and no margin for error on late Bengals drives, and the Bengals nearly tied the game when A.J. Green streaked toward the end zone uncovered on third down late in the fourth quarter. But Andy Dalton’s pass was overthrown. The Texans ran out the final 2:44 in much the same way they ran out the first 47:16.
With the unconvincing non-loss, the Texans travel to New England to face a team it is incredibly hard to not lose to. The Texans will be non-favorites.
J.J. Watt and Connor Barwin had tremendous games, as did safety Glover Quin and, really, the whole Texans secondary. That’s all we can say about this game that is not un-positive.