PHOENIX — It’s over. The worst season of Vikings football since 1984 has come to an end, 17-13 to the Chicago Bears.
Back in 1961 when it all started for the Vikings in Minnesota, they beat George Hallas and the Chicago Bears. Well, Sunday at Mall of America Field at the Metrodome the Chicago Bears ended a five-game losing streak and handed the Vikings a 17-13 loss in what could be the last game the Vikings play in Minnesota.
What’s sad is that nobody knows the lease agreement between the Vikings and the Metropolitan Sports Commission officially is over. The Vikings are now open to do whatever they deem necessary since all else has failed in regard to trying to secure a new home for Vikings football.
The Vikings finished 3-13, last in the NFC North, and 0-6 in the division. A season that started with Donovan McNabb at quarterback and then Christian Ponder ended with Joe Webb and the fact that Jared Allen set the Vikings all-time sack record with 22 in the season. He is the lone Viking selected to the Pro Bowl.
The Vikings’ season ends at 3-13, and since this is a new year, I don’t want to go against my New Year’s resolution by rehashing the horrible 2011 season. The Vikings will have third overall pick in the 2012 Draft.
The NFL regular season ended in a bang with three quarterbacks throwing for over 5,000 yards — Drew Brees (5,476), Tom Brady (5,235), and Matthew Stafford (5,038). If you can throw the football, you’re rewarded. All three QBs led their teams — New Orleans (13-3), New England (13-3), and Detroit (10-6) — to the playoffs.
The Super Bowl defending champion Green Bay Packers finished 15-1, only the third team in NFL history to win 15 regular season games, joining San Francisco and Minnesota.
The Packers are the second-highest scoring team in NFL history with 560 points. Only the 2007 New England Patriots’ 589 points and the 1998 Vikings’ 556 points were close.
Since the old saying is “defense wins championships,” Pittsburgh allowed the fewest points, 227. San Francisco was second, allowing 229 points. The NFC won the head-to-head inter-conference battle 33-31. It marked the first time since 1995 that the NFC won the season series.
The 12 playoff teams, according to seeding 1-6 with 1 and 2 seeds getting first-round byes, are in the NFC Green Bay (15-1), San Francisco (13-3), New Orleans (13-3), New York Giants (9-7), Atlanta (10-6), and Detroit (10-6). The AFC teams are New England (13-3), Baltimore (12-4), Houston (10-6), Denver (8-8), Pittsburgh (12-4), and Cincinnati (9-7).
The playoffs start this weekend, Saturday, 3:30 pm central, Cincinnati at Houston, and Detroit at New Orleans at 7 pm. Sunday it’s Atlanta at New York, 12 noon, and Pittsburgh at Denver 3:30.
Twelve teams finished with winning records; ironically, 12 teams made the playoffs but not all the teams with winning records made the playoffs. Tennessee (9-7) was the only NFL team with a winning record that did not make the playoffs.
Eight teams in 2011 finished 8-8: Arizona, Denver, Chicago, Oakland, San Diego New York Jets, Dallas and Philadelphia. You are not going to believe this: The only 8-8 team to make the playoffs? The higher power from the Mile High City, quarterback Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos. Do you believe in miracles?
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, and on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm; he also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2), and you can follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.