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Coming soon to a stadium near you The wine and cheeseheads (01/14/2004)
By John Edstrom

Well fans, you would be hard pressed to convince a cynic that these NFL games aren't scripted like rassling matches, and that the Cheeseheads and Eagles were mistakenly handed the same one that the Vikes and Cardinals followed two weeks earlier. First there was the failure to cash the three points down at the goal line that turned out to be the winning margin. Sure, Mike Sherman got away with it twice against the Seahawks, but what is that but a sign the odds would catch up with him soon? Why not go in at the half with a ten point lead on grass in cold weather? Your opponent has scored only seven points until now. Was me, I would have gambled on the fourth and one at the end of the game when the opposing defense has to defend half the field and is tired out, as is my own. In those situations, the coach who guesses right is a genius -- but if he guesses wrong, he's an idiot and a bum. For about eight months in this case.

Then, of course, there's the defense that shuts down the other guys for three quarters, sacking their QB six times, only to collapse at the end of the game and fail to prevent a fourth and 26 pass completion. Was that Denard Walker or Bhawoh Jue? (Jimmy Hitchcock?) I'm getting mixed up here.

And how about a crucial holding penalty (on a very thin call) in OT to take your team out of primo field position, dealing away the luxury of pounding the Eagles with Ahman Green, but instead necessitating a pass from Brett Favre which somehow achieves approximately the trajectory of a punt? A few plays earlier he had tossed up that same cripple and got away with it, but not this time, and there's your old ball game. It will be interesting when Favre finally offers some explanation as to where those throws came from. Right now he's not talking. Someone said that the Cheeseheads' trump card going into this game was Favre's ability to make the big play in big games, but if it had been Daunte Culpepper under center, Mike Sherman wouldn't have had to make the fateful decision to punt on fourth and one. (He also probably wouldn't have had a lead to lose, but never mind.)

Maybe what we have just seen is the start of a new economy plan in which Minnesota and Wisconsin will share a team that will play in Green Bay one week, and Minneapolis the next. Just think how much richer ol' Red will get with only half a payroll to meet, half a set of purple and green uniforms to buy, and eventually, just one state of the art stadium in, say, Marshfield. We could call them the Purple Cheeseheads. Or, by just a subtle shift of franchise color, a major upgrade in fan demographics could be achieved, and the tone and style of pre-game tailgating elevated to attract the hoity-toit Twin Cities crowd -- ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Wine and Cheeseheads!  


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