Bison Drive For 5ive!

Congratulations to the North Dakota State University Bison on their fifth straight FCS National Championship — something no other college football team has ever done! Bismarck’s very own Carson Wentz led an impressive performance against the Jacksonville State Gamecocks. Final Score: 37-10.

Gen X-Box

Generation XBox

If the repeated complaints of my boys were to be believed — that they were the only kids in the world who didn’t own a game system — then it would be reasonable to assume that I was the only dad in the world who didn’t. Well, no more. With my excuses waning and their piggy banks bursting, we agreed to let them joyfully buy their way into the majority. With this ‘box of Xs’ commandeering so much of our only television’s on hours, I knew it would only be a matter of time before my woefully inept gaming skills were exposed.

I dodged the bullet for a week before my oldest son managed to coax me into playing with him. Ever the sports competitor he eagerly popped in Madden ’12 and quickly handed me a game controller. This clearly wasn’t the simple joystick I grew up with. My sweaty hands nervously held the wireless package of buttons, triggers and controls. Overwhelmed and intimidated, I sluggishly meandered through the set-up menus with my son’s help and before long the game was underway. I felt like a passenger plucked from coach, in the cockpit of a 747 barreling down the runway, getting last minute instructions from the pilot on how to fly.

‘Dad, remember to hit this button to go back, and this one to pick which play you want. All those numbers and letters on the screen are the buttons you should press to make the play.’

‘Oh’ was thankfully all I managed to verbalize. After three consecutive delays of game, I began to lose it. Clearly frustrated, I reiterated over and over how I didn’t know what I was doing. How the controller was too complex. He simply repeated the advice he gave me earlier but added, “and do it fast before the play clock runs out.”

I probably wouldn’t have made it through an entire game had it not been for his encouragement (and pointers). In fact, I was starting to feel pretty good about my progress and after four quarters we were tied at 6-6. With ten seconds left in the game, his QB threw an unbelievable hail mary pass to his wide open receiver who quickly sprinted his way towards the end zone with my defense nowhere in sight. Then the strangest thing happened. Right before my eyes, his receiver stopped short at the one yard line, backed up three steps and jumped out of bounds. After I called shenanigans on his ‘mercy move’ he quickly put me out of my misery in OT.

I don’t mind admitting that my 12-year-old son ‘powned’ his old man in football. I’m okay with it. I’m proud of the fact that he had the patience to teach someone as clueless as me on how to play his games. I figure with a couple weeks off for Christmas break I should get better with that controller.

Mediocre Merch

It’s the annual football match-up for all the marbles – the National Football League’s NFC-AFC Championship Game; the Super Bowl. Part of the excitement behind this event is the marketing and advertising surrounding it. Many years the commercials are the MVPs, but what always intrigued me was the Super Bowl logo design. Every year a custom-designed logo is created for the event – usually incorporating elements that relate to the locale of the game. Not anymore. Beginning next year the logo will be standardized. The focus of the logo will be the infamous Lombardi Trophy with the locale’s stadium as the background. Beneath the logo will be the words ‘Super Bowl’ and the roman numerals counting off the contests. I’m not sure why the NFL decided to water down their main event in this way, but without the individual expression of the event it’s no longer as ‘super’ as it used to be.

Praying for Victory

I hate to admit it, but I’ll be cheering for the Purple and Gold today. Deep down inside there’s the boyhood Viking fan who grew up disillusioned and disappointed with the team he claimed to love. A victory today would consummate and appease that part of me that always dreamed of seeing the Vikes go to the Super Bowl. The last time I had these feelings was in ’98 right before Gary Anderson missed that 38 yard field goal attempt against the Falcons. I couldn’t say that I was as torn up as my friend Doug (a die-hard fan) that day we left the Cinebar but I can tell you that moment pretty much defined the Vikings’ season performance ever since. I’ve been saying it all season long (and not just because I’m a Favre fan): if there was ever a year that the Vikings could make it all the way, this is the one. This is your chance, Minnesota, don’t blow it!

SKOL Vikings!

My oldest son, Mason, is a devout Bears fan (I think he still is) so Sunday afternoon’s Vikings – Bears game was a must watch. “Just-like-a-car-wreck” must watch. After several fits of anger followed by tears, we had to remove him from the game all together. We all knew the Bears were going to eat it, except Mason. I certainly don’t worship football, but I do claim to be a Packer Backer. One thing I will freely admit, is that Favre, even wearing the Purple and Gold, is still fun to watch. For 16 seasons he pulled a lot of the same stunts for the Pack and now he’s doing it for <ughh> their chief rival. Minnesota sure looks tough this year and the kid in me (the one that used to like the Vikes growing up) wants to see them make it all the way to the Super Bowl.

Disciplinary Football

Despite Vegas odds, it was upset Sunday in the NFL with several teams having their W and L columns adjusted. Among the most gratifying of wins was Green Bay’s 17-7 triumph over “America’s Team”. Statistically speaking the numbers weren’t very lopsided but between fumbles and turnovers (thanks to Woodson’s MVP performance) the Packers threatened the Cowboys the entire game with a shut-out. I have to give Romo credit though. He did manage to muster up enough self-respect to throw a face-saving touchdown completion with only 38 seconds left on the clock. Okay, so it wasn’t exactly a spanking, but I have to admit the shut-out would’ve been nice.