Was it Abraham Lincoln who said, “Better to be silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt”? Too bad Dallas Cowboys linebacker Keith Brooking didn’t embrace that saying. Instead, following the Minnesota Vikings fourth touchdown pass, this time to Visanthe Shiancoe, Brooking said the Vikings showed a lack of class, running up the score when Minnesota’s victory was secure. Apparently, despite talking trash about the Vikings for executing a winning game-plan and failing to help his team neutralize the scoring threat of Brett Favre and company, Keith Brooking is a really classy guy. Yes, he’s the kind of Boy Scout who followed Brett Favre to the sideline after that touchdown, making threats to Favre’s back the whole way.
Brookings was hardly the sole person to show the Vikings a decided lack of respect heading into Sunday’s game, just the last and loudest one to voice it. Absent from the cameras during their bye week while the media gushed about the Cowboys’ decisive victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in the Wild Card round, it seemed everyone assumed the Cowboys would stomp the Vikings and face the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship game. And, even the normally deadpan Brad Childress stated how sick they were getting about hearing how the Cowboys were going to ride in from Texas on their wave of momentum and just roll over the Vikings.
But, rather than counter all the pro-Cowboy sentiment flying around with words, Childress focused his team in what appeared to be the spirit of another former president, Teddy Roosevelt. The Vikings may have talked softly during the last week, but on Sunday they carried a very big stick. And, they used it to beat the Cowboys silly.
To say that the Vikings beat the Cowboys on every game front doesn’t quite do justice to the total ass-kicking that they dealt the Cowboys in Sunday’s showdown. The Vikings absolutely dominated every aspect of the game, offense, defense, special teams.
It wasn’t as if the Cowboys weren’t putting in the effort on Sunday, they just didn’t seem to have enough effort to win. They had some success completing short passes to Jason Witten, kicking the ball deep so the Vikings couldn’t return it, and sacking Favre three times. However good that was, their effort was no match for the Vikings, who prevented the Cowboys from scoring even one touchdown, or getting decent field position on a kick return, or keeping Favre in the pocket.
On Monday as I watched Sunday’s game highlights, the thing that struck me was that, while there were clearly a few Vikings that had an uber spectacular game (Sidney Rice, Ray Edwards, Ben Leber spring to mind), overall, the entire team played great, no goats to be found. In light of the entire team’s brilliant performance, that final touchdown to Shiancoe was simply the product of a tremendous, sustained, four-quarter effort from the Vikings. And it seems like that should be a measure of respect and class in the NFL—preparing for an equal opponent all week and playing them all four quarters as if they could rally at any time—not playing down to save a whiny linebacker’s feelings.
*This piece is also posted at vikingsmix.com under my alter ego Skol Girl, where you can find Vikings-related news stories and blogs.