There was once a little science fiction article I read as a kid in school. A client had just bought a ticket for a safari where he was to go back in time and kill a dinosaur who was about to die anyways. The trip’s instructions had hard-lined restrictions, the hunter was not to veer off a certain path. The day he steps into the time capsule, he and the trip outfitter shoot the breeze talking about how glad their party candidate had won election to political office the night before.
Well, hunter shoots his dino, but steps off the path in the process. He then travels back into the present to a very different communist-like society. It turns out that the other candidate (‘the bad guy’) had now won – and that there was a stepped-on butterfly on the sole of his boot.
Morale of the story was that by not following directions he changed the whole ecological course, and in turn – the history of everything. That dino meat ended up not tasting quite as good.
Which leads us to the current NFL season…
The Seattle Seahawks did a tremendous favor for the Green Bay Packers Sunday night.
But ‘Fail Mary’ still pisses me off as much as ever.
True, the Packers now control their own destiny, the cliché we hear a million times this time of year. Simply win at the Metrodome in Week 17 and the Packers will have a first round bye, and it would be like Fail Mary never happened.
But Fail Mary, and incompetent replacement ref Lance Easley, did happen – and there are still repercussions for the Packers as a result.
If Fail Mary had not happened, and every other result in the league had gone down the same in 2012, the Packers would have a 1 ½ game lead over the San Francisco 49ers, and thus the number two seed and first round bye clinched. And some key players currently nicked up could had gotten some valuable rest.
But because the record books still show the Packers with a loss from the now infamous Week 3 game in Seattle, Week 17 at Minnesota becomes a must-win – and along with it a ton of questions.
Do you play Randall Cobb, who tweaked an ankle during the Pack’s 55-7 rout of the Tennessee Titans?
Will Charles Woodson finally be ready to go? His broken collarbone has taken much longer to heal than anticipated.
And now Aaron Rodgers will have to play an entire game and deal with Jared Allen and company.
That’s because the game is also a must-win for the Vikings, who now also control their own destiny and will clinch a playoff spot with a win, incredibly, just one year removed form a 3-13 campaign.
Incidentally, the long-term Fail Mary aftermath also has a domino effect down to the Vikings organization – their chances of winning and making the post-season Sunday would obviously be greater if they were playing a team locked into the number-two seed, rather than needing to win to ensure the two seed.
What the game will be is great television, and it has already been flexed by the FOX network to the 4:25 PM time slot.
The Vegas line already says the game is far from a lock for GB, as the line has the Pack as a mere three-point favorite.
Despite being held to a human-like 86 yards on 25 carries in the Vikes’ must win in Houston on Sunday, Adrian Peterson remains on one of the most impressive tears in league history over the past two months, gaining 1,399 years in his last nine games. Projected out over a 16-game slate, that would fall just short of an extra-terrestrial 2,500 yard rushing season.
Adrian continues to deserve all props as the front-runner for NFL MVP, and one of AP’s two 200-yard rush games came at Lambeau earlier this month.
Yes, there will be a lot on the line in Border Battle CIV.
If the Pack wins, the reward is a week off before a seemingly inevitable re-match with the 49ers in the Divisional Round of the NFC playoffs at Lambeau Field.
But if the Vikings win, then Border Battle CV would take place a mere seven days later in the Wild Card round at Lambeau.
In my opinion the Packers win the rematch, as I (with all due respect) do not envision the Vikes beating Green Bay twice on consecutive weekends.
If GB were to beat the Vikes in the Wild Card round, they would still then get the Niners the following week, but out in San Francisco.
More importantly, the Packers will have been forced to play two high-stress games just because of the events concerning that final play in Seattle way back on September 24.
A questionable or even blown call by the varsity refs at some point over the season, I would have far less trouble getting over. The human element between players and game officials is simply part of the game, even in this age of instant replay.
But what happened in Seattle that Monday night, as things dragged on in an idiotic labor dispute, remains simply unacceptable.
I’m just hoping the casualty list over the next two weeks isn’t too damaging, and there are not any serious injuries that can possibly carry over to 2013.
If that comes to pass Packer Nation, just be certain to send a big thank you to Lance Easley (who is still convinced he made the right call) and Commissioner Roger Goodell. The blood remains squarely on their hands.