January 17, 2010
Did the Minnesota Vikings run up the score on the Dallas Cowboys in Sunday's NFC divisional playoff? Keith Brooking(notes) thinks so. A late Brett Favre(notes) touchdown pass infuriated the Dallas linebacker, who charged over to the Vikings' sideline to voice his displeasure. And in his postgame press conference he didn't back down.
The Vikings had held a comfortable 27-3 lead since the early part of the fourth quarter. Dallas looked completely deflated after going down 24 points and the team's subsequent play did nothing to dispel that notion. On the Cowboys' next two possessions the team went four-and-out, gaining a mere 14 yards on eight plays.
After the second turnover on downs, Minnesota took over on Dallas' 37-yard line. With 5:26 remaining and the Vikes holding a nearly insurmountable lead, runs to milk the clock were expected. But after an Adrian Peterson run on first down, Favre hit Bernard Berrian(notes) for 19 yards on the next play. Two Peterson runs followed, before Favre threw a short three-yard pass to bring up fourth-and-three after the two minute warning.
Here, the Vikes had four choices: 1. They could take a knee and give Dallas the ball back for the game's final two minutes; 2. Wave a partial white flag and run the ball up the middle; 3. Kick a field goal (which also could have been percevied as running up the score); 4. Drop Favre back to attempt a pass.
Minnesota went with option No. 4 and Favre hit tight end Visanthe Shiancoe(notes) for an 11-yard touchdown. This choice did not go over well with Brooking. The Cowboys' linebacker, presumably upset because he felt Minnesota was running up the score, stormed over to the Vikings sideline and exchanged words with coaches and players, including Favre. He had yet to calm down after the game:
"I thought it was totally classless and disrespectful. This is the NFL, that's not what this is about. I don't think there's a place for that ... I was looking for [Vikings coach Brad] Childress. I didn't think it was right, but they've got to see us next year."
Brooking needs to relax and listen to his own words.
He's right. This is the NFL, not high school or college. The Dallas Cowboys don't get sympathy. Throwing that pass may not have been the greatest sportsmanship, but it also wasn't an affront to decency. If Brooking didn't want Minnesota to score then maybe he and his 10 teammates on the field should have done something about it.
Just because the Cowboys quit doesn't mean the Vikings needed to also.
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