If you've never before had root-canal surgery without anaesthesia and want to experience the pain without paying the price, you're in luck. Every Thursday throughout the 2007 NFL season, Vikings' play-by-play announcer, Paul Allen, hosts a weekly radio show, with Vikings' head coach Brad Childress as the weekly featured guest. After a brief listen, you will be left with the inescapable conclusion that it cannot get any worse than what you have already heard. You will be wrong--very wrong.
It is difficult to decide with whom to place one's sympathy, the listener, Allen, or Childress. Childress is a sympathetic figure for having to deal with inane question after inane question, with nary a follow-up in sight, and weak attempts by the show's host to cajole information from the head coach that the head coach has made abundantly clear he does not intend to divulge.
But Chilly is also an unsympathetic figure for feeding the appetite of the host, thus allowing the show painfully to crawl forward, and for refusing to give anything more than tightly couched responses to virtually every question that the host poses.
And that makes Allen a sympathetic figure, as he is forced to ask questions that Chilly will answer. That frequently leads Allen to ask such questions as "Does it make you feel good when your football team performs well on the field?" Allowing Allen his penchant for using extraneous words, is this really a question that can lead to anything anyone cares to hear?
At best, it's a rhetorical question, but Allen makes the question worse by rephrasing it, as if it were not clear to begin with and as if there were a deeper question at the core. Alas, there is not, as the re-phrasing typically follows something along the lines of "What I mean is, do you get some extra satisfaction from seeing your football team--guys that you put into position to make football plays--make those plays and help your team to a victory?"
That makes Allen an unsympathetic figure and leaves only the listener for whom to have any sympathy. For the unwitting listener, some sympathy is in order. But for the fan that has listened to this in the past and still come back for more of the same, there can and should be none. And Vikings' fans who tune into this mush will have to content themselves merely with knowing that it is done for the week.
In spite of the routine pablum of the coach's show, there are, from time to time, some nice tidbits to be gleaned by listening to Chilly's consistent themes. Thursday night, Allen, pushing the envelope a bit for a guy who usually seems most comfortable sharing a pair of pants with the head coach, almost accused the coach of making a mistake by not getting Sidney Rice, Adrian Peterson, and Chester Taylor on the field together for numerous plays throughout the game.
Though Allen immediately back-pedaled, acknowledging his deep, dark secret that Chilly "knows more about this stuff than I will ever know" (sound of lips smooching butt cheeks in the background), he nevertheless remained bold enough not to withdraw the question. And Chilly's response was as telling as anything that Chilly has ever publicly said while head coach of the Vikings.
"There are times when we can get all three of those guys on the field, yes," Chilly replied. "But, you know, you only have one ball, so you can't get it to all of them."
There was a pause as Allen processed the response, thinking he could not possibly have heard what he just heard. He could not possibly have heard the Vikings' head coach suggest that it was pointless to put Rice, Peterson, and Taylor on the field together when there was only one ball, could he have?
"But, coach," a stunned Allen replied, pulling his upper lip away from Chilly's sphincter, "um, you could use two of them as decoys, right?" Again, Allen offered that the coach knew "way more about this stuff" than did he, but, again, he refused to withdraw the question.
"Sure, you could," Chilly replied, still not realizing his gaffe. "But there's a lot that goes into that."
Not clear what Chilly meant, Allen moved on.
For fans waiting to see if the light will go on for Chilly, the wait might be long. The Vikings clearly have some offensive talent at this point that the coaching staff simply refuses fully to utilize. While the implication once was that those players were not ready, the suggestion from the head coach now appears far more ominous--it is the coaching staff that is not ready to use the players. With such laggardly use of talent, fans can expect the coaching staff to catch up to the talent about the time that the talent decides to leave.
Up Next: Blues for the Vikings?