Powerball Odds and Vikings Super Bowl Chances
The Big Dawg Barks, But Can it Bite?
The big Powerball Lottery jackpot was estimated to be worth $195 million dollars on Wednesday this week so Randy Moss decided to test his luck. Rumors from a local convenient store near the Vikings practice facility estimated that Moss purchased $1,500 in lottery tickets. I can just about imagine the conversation that Randy shared with the clerk.
"Yo Dawg, I'll take fifteen hundred of them lottery ticket things."
It's not like the kid needed the money. After all Moss recently hit the jackpot with the Vikings Bank of McCombs last month, signing a lucrative $75 million dollar contract. But there is something about taking a shot at defying the odds that lures even the richest most well to do athlete.
Yes, the Powerball lottery is a pie in the sky, and yes the odds of winning are nearly impossible, but no one ever wins a contest without first entering. All around the United States where Powerball is played, millions of people (maybe even other NFL players) bought tickets this week all with hopes of being that one person of 80 million who might win.
It's not really a lottery-type odds that the Vikings of 2001 will be facing this season because the team is one of only 31 NFL teams entering into the Super Bowl lottery. However, in their quest to reach a certain big game and win a certain big trophy in the city of New Orleans this January, the Vikings will face many large obstacles which will make winning the Super Bowl as improbable as winning the Powerball.
People jokingly call Minnesota, the Land of 10,000 chokes, and it's the choke factor that has haunted the Vikings in every big game they have played since their infancy. The choke collar the Vikes wear around their neck includes a 0-4 Super Bowl record, and 2 NFC championship losses in the past 3 years, but the 2001 team still enters the season with arrogant confidence. It' just might be construed as the same type of buoyancy that a
multi-millionaire NFL receiver displays by attempting to defy the large Powerball odds.
Under Dennis Green, Vikings fans have always been given the impression that winning the NFL Super Bowl lottery was and is possible. Fans have seen their Purple Norseman take the NFL by storm with a boisterous confidence, proclaiming every year that it's their Super Bowl or bust. Every year Coach Green maps out an itinerary for every game, including an up-to-the-minute detail for the seconds that count up to Super Bowl Sunday's kickoff! As a matter of fact, Vikings fans watched that plan executed to perfection by their former Offensive Coordinator Brian Billick, who last year used it as
the Head Coach for the Super Bowl Champion Ravens!
It's almost been disgusting to hear Vikings coaches, players and fans throw that Super Bowl word around in every sound bite or interview as if it where a casual expectancy to be owned solely by their team. If I had a dollar for every time I heard Coach Green brashly talk about the Vikings in the Super Bowl, or a quarter for every time I read those words in a quote from a Vikings player who was stating his goals in the local paper, I wouldn't have to buy a lottery ticket. For a team that has never won the Big Dance, the Vikings most certainly should lead the league in conversations about being there.
This year is no different. So far the team has shown every indication in the preseason that they will be a force to reckon with throughout the NFL season. Their offense is hitting gears remindful of the record-setting '98 season, and their defensive schemes are more expansive then a year ago. Faced with much adversity this preseason the Vikings have been talking about the Super Bowl again. With the well-documented losses of their offensive line, and defection of several longtime stalwarts on defense via Free Agency, It doesn't seem to matter that team faces improbable odds. They are confident that they will be Super Bowl champions!
In the past, I have always cringed when the words Super Bowl and Vikings are used in the same sentence. Last week, before the Vikings Steelers exhibition match-up, one of the tailgaters in our group slipped the words Super Bowl into a conversation about the team's chances this season. We immediately created a new tailgating statute that no one would ever be allowed to use the nasty Super Bowl words while discussing the Vikings ever again, unless the team was somehow able to defy Mother Nature and reach the
Big Game itself.
As a matter of fact after this column, you WILL NOT see them used in a sentence by this columnist again. Like the fans of the Red Sox talk of the curse of the Bambino, I believe that every time the words Super Bowl and Vikings are used together, the odds of Minnesota ever getting to or winning the Big One gets worse.
This weekend, the Powerball jackpot will be well over 300 million dollars and the odds of winning it all will probably grow to over 150 million-to-1. If I am a betting man, I am betting on Randy Moss to go to that convenience store again and "Yo Dawg" his Powerball purchase to at least $3,000 ticket things. But the better odds are that I will buy my $1 dollar ticket, put my tongue in my cheek and read in the sports pages how the Vikings will talk their way into the Super Bowl again. When I finally flip the newspaper to the front page and check the Powerball numbers, I am confident that will see, once again, that I lost the biggest lottery in recent.
Then again, I might just get lucky. After all, every "dawg" has their day…
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