The Minnesota Vikings are a playoff team in turmoil. They've lost two of their last three games. Their left tackle was benched after one of the more embarrassing performances of the 2009 season. Their illustriously self-obsessed quarterback and prematurely extended head coach have decided to air their grievances in public. They have gone from a Super Bowl favorite to battling the Philadelphia Eagles for a first round bye. And no team in the NFL needs that rest in January more than the one with a forty year-old quarterback.
Have no fear, Vikings fans. The Chicago Bears have become the penicillin for the NFL's bacterial infections. Bryant McKinnie won't have much to do on the left side of the line. Favre will find the passing game's rhythm. Adrian Peterson will break at least one fifty-plus run. The Bears will also turn it over a few times to get your defense feeling good again. On Tuesday morning, the talk in Minnesota will be whether or not they should go all-out against the New York Giants.
This is what it's come to. Three days after Christmas, on a brisk Chicago night, Soldier Field will be reduced to sixty thousand cold people holding a three-hour funeral service for another season dead and gone. If Jerry Angelo is to maintain control of football operations, he must fire Lovie Smith and subsequently reinvigorate the 2010 season. There will be no excitement in Bourbonnais with Lovie Smith. There will be no expectations, except failure. A new coach. A new future. A new hope. That's the opportunity Jerry has before him right now.
And for those of you who want Jerry gone too, I understand. But I'm willing to give him one more free agent group/draft class as long as there's a new man running things on the field. Lovie is the key. The time for doubt was a month ago. That time has gone. The team on the field lacks the fire of three years ago. They lack the fire of Dick Jauron. They even lack the fire of Dave Wannstedt.
It's Christmas, Jerry. You've never had an opportunity to give so many people such a beautiful present.