Linemen football painting by John Robertson
Question: do linemen like playing on a rug called "SportexeMomentumTurf"? It is winter. Where is the snow? Where is the rain? Where is the mud?
The 2010 NFC Championship game at the Louisiana Superdome between the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings is this Sunday and they are playing it indoors. I never think of football being an indoor sport. Injured Minnesota Vikings defensive lineman Ray Edwards and defensive tackle Kevin Williams might as well play in their patient green hospital gowns. Linemen tend to live in obscurity, so why not play in the mud instead of inside 400,000 square feet of aluminum siding? Who needs to see the numbers on their jerseys? Hopefully not the refs.
Nineteen stadiums are grass fields on playing day — except in winter when some are ice or swamps. Neither the Vikings' Metrodome nor the Saints' Superdome have grass. Both teams play on a surface made in Peachtree City, Georgia. Do you think Saints Pro Bowl right tackle Jon Stinchcomb likes playing on a surface made in Peachtree? I hope Stinchcomb remembers the good old days playing on grass and dirt where the gophers roamed.
The line game is based on being physical. And nothing says more about a lineman than being physical in winter. It takes away the notion of assignment and techniques. It is more like using the "catch and release" method. Bear in mind: that place on the field is called "the trenches." With a good rain to contend with, it would be difficult for Saints pro bowl linemates Jonathan Goodwin, Jahri Evans, and Stinchcomb to "get crunk" in the mud.
The Vikings and the Los Angeles Rams had a great "Mud Bowl" game in a divisional playoff in 1967. Yes, I am that old. And the reason I remember it was because I was there, sitting in a torrential rainstorm. The muddy field was trampled into a virtual bog. Vikings 14, Rams 7. I loved watching the game in the rain. Those elements should be part of the play.
The only element the Vikings will face in New Orleans (barring another Hurricane Katrina) is the noise. They're even handing out earplugs to muffle the screaming at the Superdome. I would rather see a game played outdoors in a rainstorm where the coaches need to hand out snorkels.