Following the national trend of using color-coded alerts to address matters of urgency, the NFL, yesterday, issued its own color alert. On the heals of yet another befuddling Minnesota Vikings' loss to one of the league's junior varsity components, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell promptly unveiled what he termed a "Purple Alert."
Goodell did not mince words when conveying the rationale behind the alert. "Clearly, something is amiss in Minnesota," Goodell gravely intoned, brushing the Dunkin Donut crumbs off of his rumpled, multi-colored, striped tie. "We've done what we can to promote that situation up there, to assist that ownership group in its efforts to assist itself and the rest of the league--and, of course, the great fans up there--but the rest of the league can only do so much. If we cannot figure out what's going on with that franchise, then, at some point, we simply will have to leave it to them to figure out."
Dabbing tears from his eyes with a well-worn thousand dollar bill, Goodell stated that the Purple Alert was the league's final effort to assess how it could be that a team with eight pro bowl players, the league's second softest schedule, and a league orchestrated delivery of Brett Favre from his one-year hiatus with the New York Jets to the Minnesota Vikings, could be foundering so profoundly.
"I don't have any answers," Goodell said, exhaling heavily. "This thing was set...They had everything in place--or so we all thought. We wanted...They wanted to show well for the fan base to win support for a publicly...for the team. It was all coming together."
Goodell choked back more tears, pulling his gold-leafed handkerchief from his vest pocket and blowing his powdered nose.
Regaining his composure, Goodell noted that "the League has done everything to assist the Vikings in this joint venture to build the Viking brand in a manner that allows the NFL to expand its own brand. This is important enough for us to ask for the assistance of every caring NFL fan in deducing how the Vikings' ship can be righted."
Asked what he thought might be the problem, Goodell shrugged and looked down at his podium as though the answer to the question would appear there before him. "I don't know," he admitted, slowly shaking his head. "Honestly, I just do not know. We gave them Jared. We gave them Brett. We gave them Adrian. We gave them Big Hutch. We gave the Percy. We gave them Pat. We gave them Kevin. At some point, it's up to them to put those guys together and win. It seemed a lock. All they had to do was take advantage of the situation. Why they haven't done so is anyone's guess--that's what we are all trying to figure out."
Goodell initially was less responsive when asked if he had any suspicions of his own regarding the Vikings' difficulties. "I can't comment on that at this point," he demurred. When asked the root of the problem, Goodell allowed, however, that "the Vikings have the players. By any measure, they have the players--far more than do most other teams in the League. I think our Pro Bowl announcements reflect that. But it's the piecing-together of those talents--using the players, moving players around to help those learning or less talented, exploiting an opponent's weaknesses, calling...." He stopped short.
"Let me just say," Goodell concluded, "that this is about figuring out something that many of us thought was already figured out. This is important for the League and for the Vikings--and for the Vikings' fans, too. And that's why we are issuing this Purple Alert at this time."
Up Next: Finding the Haystack Surrounding the Needle.