Vikings-Lions Wrap: Is the Face-Mask Non-Call Even Worth Discussing?


Blown calls make good talkers. This is one of the immutable laws of the sports gab universe, right up there with “Tim Tebow conversations will always end with someone calling someone else an a-hole.” However, as with all laws (even the immutable ones), there’s lots of gray area here. Not all blown calls are created equal. Some matter more than others. Some, like the blown face-mask call on the last play between the Vikings and Lions, barely matter at all.

That may seem like a stunning statement for a Vikings blogger to make but I’m making it anyway. I really don’t care about that face-mask call. I thought the whole circumstance was frankly comical. I was giggling my butt off all during the last 3:30 of that game, watching Joe Webb lead this incredibly silly drive against a clearly shell-shocked Lions defense. In my oft-bruised Viking fan heart I knew that drive would end with the Vikings blowing it and indeed it did. Joe Webb ain’t no Tim Tebow. He ain’t got no magic bag.

The Lions just needed to make one play to end the nonsense, and they made it. In true Lions fashion it was a questionable play, but at least it didn’t involve anyone getting stomped. Watching the two teams kick the fumbled ball down to the other end of the field provided a perfect slap-stick coda to a wildly entertaining and absurd game. That was how the game should’ve ended, not with the refs calling a face-mask and giving the Vikings one last play with no time on the clock. Why mess with perfection?

Granted, it would’ve been cool to see the Vikings somehow win that game and put a major dent in the Lions’ playoff hopes. Then again, after watching the way the Lions’ offense and defense performed against the over-matched Vikings, I don’t think it matters much if they do make the playoffs. With their non-existent running attack, easily-confused quarterback and woeful-tackling linebackers and DBs, the Lions won’t last long. A squad like the Giants or Niners will eat them for lunch in the first round.

My lack of response to the non-face-mask is simply a measure of how thoroughly I’ve checked-out on the season. It doesn’t matter a lick to me now if they win or lose. And I’m not getting into silly debates about whether it would be better for them to lose games for draft position or win to build the right attitude. That conversation is for people who like easy, non-taxing topics. All I care about now is yuks, and Sunday’s game handed out tons of them.

Give the Vikings credit for this: they lose entertainingly. With the games meaning nothing anyway, I’d rather watch a hilarious loss than a boring win. Of course a hilarious win would be even better but unfortunately winning isn’t in the cards for this bunch. They have just enough good players to stay competitive (unless they’re on the road against the Packers or Bears), but not enough to get them over the hump. Hopefully they’ll remedy that in the off-season, or at least begin the process of doing so.

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