Monday, December 20, 2010


The Minnesota Vikings will play the Chicago Bears tonight on Monday Night Football. The game will be played outdoors here in snowy, frigid temperatures for the first time in 21 years, due to the recent roof collapse of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome caused by an unusually strong snowstorm a short time ago. Minnesota punter Chris Kluwe tweeted that the playing surface at nearby hurried-replacement field TCF Bank Stadium was "unplayable" and expressed fear about the safety of players from both teams due to the cold and unthawed nature of that field.

My, how short are people's memories!

Above is a picture of Metropolitan Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings from 1961-1981. Unlike modern outdoor stadiums of today, there were no heated coils beneath the playing surface to heat the playing field. NOBODY liked playing on that frozen tundra of a field, either, especially in subzero temperatures with a biting northerly wind. Yet play they did, week after week, and many times the Vikings also WON, against higher-ranked teams, because they learned to adapt and make the bitter cold their friend and the opponent's enemy. Those were the days of glorious outdoor football here in Minnesota, when tough and stoic Vikings coach Bud Grant refused to let his wide receivers wear gloves, just so they would be accustomed to catching passes with cold hands. In contrast, opponents like the Los Angeles Rams would come in and drop passes all over the place, allowing the Vikings to sneak an upset victory.

Kluwe's attitude is a prime example of just how pampered today's overly-paid pro athlete has become. I'll be the first to admit that in times past, say 30-35 years ago or so, before free agency changed the nature of pro sports, athletes were tremendously UNDERPAID. Yet today that's no longer the case. In addition to exorbitant salaries, pro athletes are also allowed GENEROUS per-diem food allowances while on the road. Come salary-negotiating time, they all demand huge increases in pay, as if the world truly owes them (and only them) a living. Well, it most certainly does NOT owe them a living. Nor, because they are the stars everyone comes to see should that entitle them to a salary far in excess of what the average American business owner makes. Nor, just because the average pro athlete's career lasts only 4 to perhaps 10 years or so should he or she be guaranteed fabulous riches, or a taxpayer-funded venue to play their games in.

So for Kluwe to complain about conditions being less than desired at a field on which he'll only play ONE STINKING GAME is ridiculous. My advice to him and all the other prima donnas out there making similar charges is simply this: suck it in and play your game without complaints. You and your overpaid, perennially-underachieving Vikings will just have to, for once, know what it was like to play under less than pampered and less than ideal conditions, just as your predecessors did routinely!

And, most importantly, just be glad you have a JOB that allows you to live comfortably, for millions of Americans do NOT have that luxury at the moment!


Max's Dad said...

Hey Jack, I remember being in Dallas for the 1977 or 78 NFC championship game when Bob Lee couldn't complete a pass to save his life. The Vikings brought a bagful of snow and dumped it on their sideline to feel at home. It did no good but those were the good old days when the visiting teams hated to play outside at the Met. Now it's the Vikings who can't stand to play outside. How times change.

Jack Jodell said...

Max's Dad,
How true; how true. I'm writing during halftime, and, while I never expected to see Favre start toniight, thimgs are looking so far kind of like I thought they would...