Measuring sports success, Minnesota style

I admit I’m trolling you here, Minnesota. I apologize in advance.

In Boston today they’re holding a parade for the Super Bowl champions.

In the Twin Cities, they’re describing a 7-9 season as “success.”


When your standard is abject failure, just about anything looks like success.

  • Gary F

    I heard Zigi has proposed some value engineering to the new bird killer stadium. He is taking out the area of the stadium where they were going to display future Lombardi trophies.

  • This was a letter I sent to the the Star Tribune (and published). It seems apropos:

    I admit it. I am a “homer.” I always root for my home team, even when that is not a very fashionable thing to do.

    And every year I have been let down by my Vikings and Gophers.

    We bring it on ourselves.

    I’ve noticed that Minnesota football fans cheer like mad when the teams do well, but they have the mindset, “So, when will the wheels come off this year?”

    The wheels always come off.

    Year in.

    Year out.

    Without fail.

    They came off the Vikings during four Super Bowls, the improbable 1998 season, and each and every season that showed promise.

    The Gophers’ wheel detachment seems to center on teams from Michigan, Ohio or Wisconsin. When the wheels come off, I feel bad for the players, coaches, owners (well, maybe not the owners so much).

    The folks who I feel worst for are the long-suffering Minnesota fans. It’s a kind of autumnal ritual: Don the replica jersey, wave the pennant, cheer, and then …

    Deafening silence.

    Jaws dropping.


    And if you are, say, working outside on a fine fall day listening to the radio when this happens, you have to stop your work and take a breath, trying to create in your mind’s eye what just transpired.

    I’ve done this many times over my lifetime. I’m quite good at it. And I’ll do it again this year.

    Because I’m a fan of Minnesota football.

    • It’s very hard for me quite often to figure out where a team’s PR department ends and where a newspaper’s sports department begins.

  • jon

    7-9 is almost as good as if we had just let the coin flip at the beginning of the games decide the outcome!

    Now I want to know how often the coin flip actually is a predictor of the winner of an NFL Game.

  • daklute

    Can Indian fans really troll anyone about success?

    • Jack Ungerleider

      That was just cruel…

    • You can if you’re a Patriots fan.

      • boB from WA

        Ooh, Snap!

      • Winning football games the way Lance Armstrong wins Tours de France?


        • the Patriots never blame their girlfriends, though.

  • David W.

    Well, winning the Super Bowl isn’t the only measure of a team’s success and most NFL teams do give their fans enough on the field to keep them rooting for them, even the Bears. Sometimes. The Chicago Cubs though, it’s hard to root for a team that so manifestly believes in mediocrity year after year after year after year. After year…

    • I think with the TV contract and revenue sharing now, there’s very little incentive to have to be good. Fans will support a mediocre team and — as Glen Taylor has shown — even if you only draw 8,000 a night, the value of your asset climbs 45% in a year, all while someone else pays for your stadium/arena.

      People don’t like egomaniacal owners, but really those are the ones who win because they have a reason to, sickly as that reason might be.

      • David W.

        That’s true. Everybody knew who George Steinbrenner III was, and it wasn’t as a businessman!

  • Zac

    So Newscut has become less a place to put interesting stories and more a place to just annoy MPR readers?

    • Just the readers without a sense of humor, Zac. And it’s highly unlikely those people are NewsCut readers to begin with.

      • Zac

        So you’re saying I should stop reading? Alrighty then, I guess I shall.

        It is funny how you decry internet commenters and their offputting nature whilst running a blog devoted to the very practice.

        But I’ve learned my lesson, Newscut is not for people like me.

        • You have to make your own decisions, Zac, but your assessment that NewsCut has “become less a place to put interesting stories and more a place to annoy MPR readers” suggests you’re not really reading it now.

          I’m sorry I hurt your feelings.

          That said, the definition of “success” in Minnesota sports (7-9) should be rather illuminating to the state of things sportswise here, especially for those who take these things so seriously.

          That the the local sportswriting media continues to treat local sports institutions with kids gloves in the way I pointed out — with certain exceptions — (cough, Britt Robson) — is an issue to be considered, too.

          If that idea offends you, then, yes, perhaps this isn’t a place for you.

          But that’s a choice you have to make for yourself and I’ll respect whatever you choose. God knows, there are plenty of other places in the Twin Cities where you can get your fill of warm and fuzzy local sports coverage, treated as if a game is life and death.

          I’m quite certain you’ll be just fine wherever you go.