Short Biography of New Head Coach Mike Zimmer and 2014 Vikings Opinions


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Hey folks, since I’m back from a long hiatus and want to get right back into the thick of things, I’d thought I would post a blog biographing Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer. It’s the end of the playing season for the Minnesota Vikings, and as the few teams left battle it out for the 49th Super Bowl ring, us Purple ‘n Gold fans can settle in for the off season and start internal franchise politicing.
One of the biggest pieces of meat on our plate is Head Coach Zimmer. He, along with Norv Turner, will constitute the largest and most interesting aspects of the Viking’s club news until the draft of 2015 starts to heat up.
Just briefly, since I touched on Offensive Coordinator Turner, I’d like to say here and now that he is a -huge- breath of fresh air for our team. And I’m not just saying that because he’s not Bill Musgrave! Honest! He has given the Vikings offense a new look and feel; one that actually works without Adrian Peterson. Musgrave’s rush, rush, screen pass offense was, I felt, a lazy scheme that had no personal stamp on it, but rather stunk of amateurism and was devoid of anything original. If I had to conjecture, I’d say Musgrave, being the droll opportunist he was, realized he could get paid to sit on his ass, and took that paycheck every month smiling at his good fortune that was Adrian Peterson. He knew that all he had to do was allow AP to do his thing, and he could be seen in a positive light… Except it backfired on him. Yes, AP was and is one of the best running backs to play football, and yes, AP could and did carry the team on his back for years – especially recently while the whole Ponder experiment was taking place, and we didn’t have an aerial attack. But Musgrave got fired, because everyone got wise to what he was doing, which was essentially nothing. I am mad everytime I think of how much better a team the Vikings could have been in recent years if our offensive coordinator had gone beyond just the minimum, and actually utilized ALL of our weapons, not just the Atom bomb.
Which leads us back to Norv Turner. This guy gets it. He understood Musgrave had gotten fired because sooner or later (sadly it turned out to be sooner), we wouldn’t have Purple Jesus and the offense would have to get a passing game going if we were ever going to get up off the ground. That’s why you’ll notice that when Peterson was ejected out of the club due to the accusations of child abuse, we didn’t just roll over, lose hope, and die. We went out there and won games. We showed up and in many instances, we straight up dominated without him. Here are some stats from the 2014 season: Peterson ran us 75 yards in the first game of the regular season. Afer he left, in the next 15 games we went 6-9. Losing record? Yes. But we faced one of the toughest schedules in the league that year, without Adrian, and (thank God) mostly without Matt Cassel behind center. In just about every single category, eg. running yards, passing yards, total 1st downs, total 3rd downs, we scored average compared to all the other 31 teams. Our new quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, fresh out of college and green as can be, came out of this season with a quarterback rating of 85.2! Cam freakin’ Newton’s rating was lower, Andy Dalton’s was lower, Nick Fole’s was lower. We were 14th overall in rushing, with Adrian Peterson playing one game out of the year. Tell me Norv Turner didn’t do his job. We ended the season 7-9, and our predicted win/loss record posted by profootball-reference.com was 7.5/8.5 BEFORE they knew AP was going to be out. We reached our expected win/loss ratio that had Peterson factored in!
So Norv Turner, we love you, please don’t leave… ever. Your now 30 years of NFL experience is a blessing to us in the offense department. We salute you, sir.

Back to our new Head Coach, Mike Zimmer. I remember when we fired Frazier and Zimmer came into our club, the big excitement was that his expertise in defensive schemes would help us our tremendously. He had worked as defense coordinator for the Bengals, Falcons, and Cowboys previously. Zimmer was working the Cowboys’s defensive backs when they won Superbowl 30 back in 1995. Since 2008, when he first joined the Cincinnati Bengals, until he left them after 2013 to join us, that team enjoyed 4 years of being ranked top ten in defense. In his last year there, they were ranked #3 overall.
So yah, Zimmer was talked about as being huge for our defense since the outset, even though he came to us in the capacity as Head Coach. I’ll go over this season’s stats and my impression of the intangibles that can’t really be covered by stats both in a little bit. Right now I just want to focus on the man himself, and his past achievements.
I really can’t say how good a football player this guy was back in his youth, because frankly there’s not much to go on. He did play quarterback briefly in college in the mid 1970s, before a thumb injury moved him to linebacker. Then he injured his neck, and he was done playing altogether. But the man must have had a deep-rooted passion for football, because even though he couldn’t play it due to injuries, he still felt compelled to be right in the middle of the action in coaching capacity.
Zimmer’s first coaching job was part-time assistant coaching, and, except for this last transistion to Minnesota, every single coaching job he’s taken has been in the defense department. He was inside linebackers coach, defense backs coach, and defensive coordinator in both college and the NFL. All defense, all the time, baby.
Looking back at his past coaching record, I don’t see one year he took off to do anything else. Since 1979 he’s been coaching defense, without any break whatsoever that I can ascertain. And everywhere he went to coach, the teams improved in defense. He transistioned from coaching on the collegiate to the professional level in 1994, when the Cowboys hired him to be assistant defense coach under Barry Switzer. He was promoted up the coaching ladder within the Dallas Cowboy’s organization, and finally became defense coordinator 6 years later in 2000. Just 3 years after that, while still with the Cowboys, due to his coaching expertise Dallas gave up the fewest yards in the NFL. He used the 4-3 defensive scheme to achieve this.
Now, this next bit of information I’m about to divulge about him speaks a lot to his ability to improvise and succeed under pressure. Apparently in 2005, then Cowboy’s Head Coach Bill Parcells favored the 3-4 defensive scheme. So when he was hired that year, Parcells made Zimmer coach the defense under that scheme. Zimmer effectively went from what he was comfortable with and excelled at, the 4-3, to the 3-4, on a whim of the Head Coach, and ran with it. The 2005 Cowboys defense held their opponents to an average 19.25 points against!
I already spoke above about his success with the Bengals, and he only did one year with the Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta didn’t have an exactly stellar defensive year when they had Zimmer in 2007, and they finished that season 4-12.
While researching his past coaching resume, a picture of the man slowly began to develop before me: someone who was driven, hungry for victory, did excellent under pressure, was willing to go out of his comfort zone, and, most importantly, was very very good at making the defensive side of the team he was coaching one of the best.
Well, how did he do as his first year ever as Head Coach for the Minnesota Vikings in 2014?
We already know he was part of the talent that got our team past the difficulties of losing one of the best RB’s in football history to finish 7/9, when I thought it was going to be more like 2-14.
Robert Blanton had a breakout year at strong safety with 72 tackles and 34 assists. Harrison Smith, our free safety, also had a great year with 72 tackles, 21 assists, and 3 sacks. Overall, we were top ten in defending the pass, but ranked an abysmal 25th in defending the run. That puts us exactly square in the middle in general defense, an improvement from 2013, to be sure.
what extent Mike Zimmer had on our defense, given that he is coaching as Head Coach, not defensive coordinator, is hard to gauge. I’m certain he had a hand in it. As a whole I believe he lead our team to a great year. And by great, I mean a year that could have easily been 1-15, or even 0-16. Up until this season, our whole team structure and foundation had been built on just one man, Adrian Peterson. We had no quarterback, we had lost our one phenomenal wide reciever in Percy Harvin. Greg Jennings is good, but what is a good reciever without anyone to throw the ball to him? Our defense was just starting to take form, with people like Floyd and Griffen.
We had just recieved Teddy, and Anthony Barr. We had a huge question mark for the year, that Zimmer turned into an exclamation mark. After 2014, I now have hope that our team will now be a playoff contender in a year or two. We have all the ingredients, we just need to stir the pot a bit. We’re drafting 11th pick, let’s make this draft a great one, and for God’s sake let’s keep Teddy healthy!

Skol!

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Another Year


Well, fellow bloggers and readers everywhere, another year of American football has come and gone again.  Every season is like a beautifully crafted story of honor, courage, strength, and …well, let’s face it, cheating.  I can’t think of one nationally-recognized sport that doesn’t involve itself in some form of shystering.  Even Lance Armstrong needs drugs to ride his bike up and down the grassy hills of France.

Here’s the deal.  I just spent 4 hours straight trying to find a correlation between Super Bowl attendance and football game trends. Why?  I don’t know.  Perhaps I’m bitter my team didn’t win the Super Bowl… didn’t make it to the Super Bowl, heck, has never won a Super Bowl ring.   Perhaps I really like making graphs on Microsoft Office’s Excel (ooh, more on graphs and football in another post!).  Either way, I may or may not have some evidence for the NFL and/or other affiliates rigging Super Bowl games.

So read on.   There’s already no way to refute the the truth that football athletes take illegal ‘performance enhancing drugs,’ and there are many people and organizations who believe, but can’t prove, that games in the NFL are thrown.  This is just one more attempt to hack away at their facade of credibility.  I mean seriously, even if the NFL doesn’t orchestrate and plan their games ahead, it’s already such a corrupt organization in so many other ways that it doesn’t really matter.

People often forget that the NFL is an umbrella company, and the teams are franchises, just like we have a corporate McDonald’s corporation, with franchise restaurants that make money under its name and protocols.

The NFL is corporate headquarters Mickey D’s, the Broncos are the McDonald’s restaurant down the block, Peyton Manning is the Big Mac, and every 50 yard completion or hand-off to Moreno or McGahee for a touchdown is the beef.

And hey, please don’t misunderstand, I love McDonald’s.  I also just know it’s a company, and companies only have one goal: make money.  They don’t want to find a cure for cancer, or have empathy for suffering, or spend money on sheltering the homeless… well unless those activities happen to make them money, that is.  And I think that’s just fine, but let’s call a spade a spade and not kid ourselves…. They’re certainly not.

I really don’t care that the games are likely thrown, I will still love football until I die.  The athleticism and mathematics that run it are mind-blowing and will keep me occupied and diverted forever.

So here’s to truth and the eternal search for it:

After the Raven’s beat the 49ers to win the 2013 Super Bowl, I looked up the list of Super Bowl contenders and stats since 1967 on Wikipedia.  I played around with the numbers, trying to find a correlation between ‘exciting’ games and Super Bowl attendance.

Here’s some of the graphs I compiled with the data:

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The Blue line is the attendance at the Super  Bowl over the years, and the Red line represents the total points scored per game.  The correlation on this is 0.027581.  For those of you who aren’t math geeks we’re looking for a .5 correlation at the very least to signal a strong enough correlation to consider using it as a predictive tool for future games.

I also drew up graphs for other correlations I thought might exist, but nothing with a correlation coefficient  higher than .003.   I also found out, just for fun that the average combined score for all Super Bowls is 46.98, with a standard deviation of 13.1545, a minimum total score of 21, and a max of 75.  But plugging those numbers into algorithms to try to find a pattern ended up nowhere.  Then I found this:

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The blue line is attendance again, but the red line represents how close the game was, i.e. how many points the winning team won by.  It looked visually like a good correlation, but when I did the math it was only a -0.014 (negative and positive coefficients can have the same strength, they’re just moving in opposite directions.  A positive correlation means that the more of x, the more of y.. and negative is the more of x, the less of y.  They’re just different correlations).

But then I thought about it, and it didn’t make sense that the attendance THAT YEAR would reflect or be reflected by the outcome of the game.  The fans wouldn’t know ahead of time how awesome the game would be.. but if there were to be an awesome game, they would sure as hell come next year.  And if there was a crappy game, that wouldn’t be reflected in attendance until the year after as well.  So, after I stopped assuming that fans are mind readers and psychics, I figured in a one year delay in correlation, and this is what I got:

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This is the same graph, only the attendance by the fans of the Super Bowl game is delayed by one year.

I found this extremely high correlation with a cheap old version of excel and 4 hours.  I’m pretty sure a huge corporation is going to notice pretty quick.. and not only this correlation, but dozens of others I haven’t found.  And what do you think an entity whose only existence is to make money will do once it finds something like this?  Not take advantage of this almost guaranteed way to raise their cash-flow?  No, I’m afraid not.  It’s impossible to think of them not exploiting this, and anything else.

Anyway, let me reiterate how much I love football, because I think despite my varied protestations to the contrary, some of you may take this in the wrong way.  I don’t care that football games are rigged, I just want people to wake up about it.  Don’t be like the pro-wrestling fans that still think it’s real.  🙂

The Super Bowl 2013 Event!


Ravens vs. 49ers!

Unfortunately, neither team deserves the Ring this year, in my biased opinion.  Nevertheless, if one has to go home with a Victory, Flacco and the Ravens are the most worthy.  Their quarterback has excelled all my expectations; his accuracy is dead-on, and he can throw bullets 50 yards out no problem.  This will be the biggest game of his life, and I hope he’s up to the challenge of trouncing the 49ers.

MY PREDICTION:
RAVENS 34, 49er, 21

Take that to the bank.


Since I, and vicariously, my family, are Vikings and bleed purple for life, we are attired appropriately for today’s game:

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Note my son’s face of disgust  at the Vikings absence in this game. He knows.

Vikings 2014!!!!!

Skol!