The Ironman Record Debate

October 31, 2010

Read the opposing arguments from Optimist Prime and Loyal Homer.

Participating in professional sports is obviously physically demanding. World class athletes earn our respect not only for keeping their bodies in tip top physical shape, but also for surviving the grueling toll a season takes on them. Even the best and most heroic athletes, however, prove their mortality when they break down physically with injuries

But, a few men seem to rise above the rest, defying the odds by playing through pain, never missing a game. These improbable few – these supermen – earn the title of Ironman.

Two men exemplify the Ironman ideal like no others – Brett Favre and Cal Ripken, Jr. Each is unquestionably among the most durable and dependable athletes in their respective sports. But which one boasts the more impressive record?

That is the question The Sports Debates takes on in today’s epic debate: Which iconic ironman holds the more impressive record, Brett Favre or Cal Ripken, Jr.?

Optimist Prime will argue that Brett Favre’s record of 291 consecutive starts over an 18-year career is far and away the more impressive record. Playing for 18 years is a feat in and of itself, but to never miss a start – in one of the most physical sports there is – is simply amazing.

Loyal Homer, on the other hand, believes that Ripken’s 2,632 consecutive games is more improbable. Baseball is a marathon sport where surviving one season of 162 games is impressive enough, but Ripken’s unmatched ability to adjust and change at the plate and on the field helped him to reach extreme heights.

These arguments need to be as solid and unshakable as the men they represent to be worthy of victory. May the endurance test of your collective intellect begin.

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The Time To Panic Debate… The Vikings Ship Is Still Sinking

October 17, 2010

Read the opposing argument from Babe Ruthless.

I was looking forward to today’s debate all weekend long. Both teams are two high profile teams, and since both the Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings were matched up in a late afternoon national broadcast yesterday, I knew I’d get a chance to sit down in my recliner and soak it all in. Being the lazy man that I tend to be on Fall weekends, that’s exactly what I did. Thanks to a couple of Tony Romo interceptions and a handful of Cowboy penalties, the Vikings were able to escape with a much needed victory. That victory left the Vikings at a much more manageable 2-3 and within striking distance of the vulnerable Bears in the NFC North. But, a victory does not mean all is well in the Twin Cities.

First, let’s look at yesterday’s game. By no means did the Vikings dominate the game. Hardly. A quick look at the box score shows quite the opposite. The Vikings had 188 total yards, which included a measly 118 passing yards from Brett Favre. The Cowboys, in contrast, had 314 total yards, and seemed to be able to move the ball a lot easier than the Vikings. If it wasn’t for Percy Harvin’s 95 yard kickoff return to open the second half the outcome of the game could have been flipped as the three other scoring drives by the Vikings totaled an embarrassing 75 yards! Ouch! Obvious questions remain.

New acquisition Randy Moss was supposed to jump start the Viking offense, but that really hasn’t happened yet. He hasn’t been a distraction yet, either. In fact, both Favre and head coach Brad Childress credit Moss for firing the team up at the half. But Moss really hasn’t been the spark to the offense on the field. In two games he has nine catches for 136 yards. Expectations are admittedly high for Moss, but I don’t think nine catches over two games meets those expectations.

Then there’s our newest text message fanatic, Mr. Favre. For those of us who have watched the NFL for the past eighteen years we have gotten used to #4 riding in his white stallion and saving the day for his team. He’s not that guy anymore. And to be perfectly fair, we shouldn’t expect him to be. What he accomplished last season at age 40 was amazing. What he is doing this season at 41 is realistic. Last season we often heard, “How did he make that throw?” This season we are hearing, “Brett would like to have that one back.” I heard that more than once from commentator Troy Aikman. That’s not to say that Favre doesn’t still have it in him. He can still play. He’s just not an All-Pro quarterback anymore. Not to mention the fact that he has been battling elbow tendinitis and also has ongoing off-the-field distractions.

The Vikings, however, are built to win in 2010. They traded for Moss to win in 2010. They talked Favre out of retirement… AGAIN… to win in 2010. And if you look behind Favre on the quarterback depth chart, quarterbacks number two and three bring out the names Tavaris Jackson and Joe Webb (who?). At least Dallas has Jon Kitna! Can the Vikings win this season with those guys if Favre goes down with injury (entirely possible)? Are those guys capable of leading the team in the future? Hahahahahaha!!!

Both the Cowboys and Vikings have uphill battles to make the playoffs in 2010. With both being 2009 division champions, they have extremely difficult schedules the rest of the way. But the Vikings have age going against them. They HAVE to win now and that’s why there is more panic in the Twin Cities.

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The Most Interesting 2010 NFL Matchup Debate… Rivalry is Favre From Over

September 6, 2010

Read the opposing arguments from Bleacher Fan and Loyal Homer.

He did it to us again. Brett Farve dragged the Vikings, the media, and the world through the emotional ringer as the “will he or won’t he” retirement drama unfolded once more. Just when we were all sure that number four had finally hung up his cleats… for good… he unretired… again. While some people grow tired of Brett’s ability to unretire with the frequency of a professional wrestler, I love it.

Knowing that Favre will be back in Minnesota again means football fans will be treated to one more ”final” season of one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. It means we’ll get to see another season of Favre making big throws, leading fourth quarter comebacks, and playing with the joy and passion of a kid. But it also means something special. Favre’s return means NFL fans will bear witness one of the greatest of all time playing with true purpose against his former team in Week 11 when the Green Bay Packers travel to Minneapolis.

Favre has something to prove to the Packers, to the Vikings, and to himself. He knows that he is one of the best of all time, but his departure from Green Bay must cause him to believe there is doubt about that fact. The fact that he did not get to leave Lambeau Fields on his own terms still motivates him to show the Packers exactly what they let slip away. So when the Packers come to his new home in Minnesota, he’s going to put on a performance for the ages.

Sure, we saw it last season. The Vikings bested the Packers both at home and on the road, but 2010 is different. Aside from the fact that this may be Favre’s swan song (seriously, this has got to be it… right?), the Packers have motivation to march into Mall of America Field and show they won’t be pushed around again. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers were dealt two tough losses at the hands of Favre’s Vikings last season, and that has got to be motivation for them to show they won’t roll over for Favre and company again in 2010.

Although Rodgers is one of the best young quarterbacks in the league he has been – and remains – in Brett’s shadow. No matter how well he plays, until he beats Favre there will be doubts about both his ability and his legacy. Even if his stats are better. If he can’t beat the guy he was promoted to replace, he will always carry the stigma of being a downgrade from Favre. The Packers went through quite an ordeal to put the young quarterback under center and he wants everyone to know it was the right decision. But each year that Favre comes back and excels, he undermines the achievements of the talented new signal caller in Green Bay. The Packers are Rodgers team and his teammates want to prove it to him. They will get potentially a last chance to do that when they go to Minnesota and try to take one from Favre on his new home turf.

No other matchup in the NFL has this kind of drama. Gone are the days when America hung on the Cowboys and Redskins. Similarly, the Colts-Patriots rivalry is not exactly what it used to be since the Pats have struggled lately. A Super Bowl rematch would easily be one of the most exciting matchups of the season, but NFL schedule makers did not see fit to make it happen. There is no substitute for the rivalry and drama of the Farve versus Packers saga, especially since this should be the final chapter. If old number four is healthy, you know he will give it everything he has… which is all a NFL fan can hope for.

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