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Rather, they were fixated on a fan seated directly behind tthe Wild’s bench holding a simple but memorable sign that read: “HAHAHAHA PACKER FANS.” We tweeted about it, as did countless others. The fan — 31-year-old Ryan Rhody of St. Paul — earned instant Internet fame and heard himself being talked about Tuesday morning on ESPN’s SportsCenter. He was also kind enough to chat with us Tuesday to paint a fuller picture of his big night and big idea.
As you might imagine, Rhody is a big Vikings fan — he went to 13 games in person this season, including five on the road — and an equally big anti-Packers fan. Sunday’s NFC title game was about as good as it gets for him, he said.
“I hate the Packers fans more than anything. So I will do anything to chirp them in any way possible,” Rhody said. “With the amount of texts and Facebook messages I got when they were (ahead on Sunday). This was my way to laugh right back at them.”
So Rhody made the sign and headed to the game with his sister and parents.
“I didn’t tell anybody,” he said. “I just pulled it out of my jacket right when the game started. And it just went nuts.”
Indeed, it kept coming in waves on social media every time there was a fresh shot on TV of the Wild’s bench, with Rhody and his sign perched just to the side of head coach Mike Yeo. But Rhody — who says he has made plenty of signs for games before but never experienced anything like this — didn’t anticipate just how popular he would become Monday night.
“I had easlily 20,000 tweets or retweets. I couldn’t even keep up with my Twitter,” he said. “My phone went from 70 percent battery down to 7 percent like nothing. I got like 200 or 300 texts. My phone died and I turned it back on. In that time I had 120 texts in 45 minutes.”
Some of it was backlash from Packers fans, but most of it was positive — either from Vikings fans or neutral parties who thought it was funny.
It will be hard to top in the future, but Rhody already has some ideas. He’s going to be in Arizona during the Super Bowl, which offers a much bigger stage than a Wild game.
“I don’t have tickets yet. I wouldn’t go if Green Bay was there,” Rhody said. “I’ve had the trip planned for over a month. I think I can figure out a way to do something good at the Super Bowl.”
Most of the Wisconsin-based coverage of the Packers’ meltdown in Seattle is predictably sour today, as is the Twitter banter about who is really to blame (truth: any number of plays, players, coaches or entities can take the fall for a loss like that).
But the saddest thing you’ll read might be a Q&A with fans on Packers.com by editor Vic Ketchman. The headline: “It’s the most heartbreaking loss I’ve ever covered.” Vic is 63 years old, so that covers a lot of ground. Let’s take a quick look at a few of the questions and answers:
James from Paris, France: Vic, do you think this loss is a case of the Packers getting ahead of themselves in the fourth quarter and starting to think about going to the Super Bowl instead of concentrating on putting the game away? I’ve seen it happen before.
The loss is the result of not making plays at crunch time. I think everybody that reads this column knows how I feel about crunch time. That’s when games are decided. That’s when championship teams play their best football. The Packers played their best football at crunch time on several occasions this season – the Cowboys game immediately comes to mind – but something happened in those final seven minutes of yesterday’s game that I can’t explain. It felt as though a switch was turned off, and I’m not referring to Coach McCarthy’s play-calling. A pass was dropped on third-and-4; let’s not forget that. I’m referring to performance. It wasn’t there at the end. I don’t know why it wasn’t.
Tim from Rosario, Argentina: Did the team lose its edge after the Burnett interception? Not much went right afterwards.
Yeah, the Packers lost their edge. That’s the only explanation I can offer. I think I lost mine, too. At that point in the game, I was in the interview room, watching the game on the TV monitor and writing my bulletin story. After Morgan Burnett made the interception, I wrote in my story that the “win was clinched when Morgan Burnett intercepted a Russell Wilson pass that deflected off his receiver’s hands.” Shortly after that, I deleted those words from my story. I thought it was over. Maybe the Packers did, too.
Robby from Loma Rica, CA: Vic, I’m wide awake at 2:30 a.m. It’s dead silent outside, and the game is starting to settle in along with some thick fog in these California foothills. When’s the last time you’ve covered such a heartbreaking loss?
I’ve never covered a game that hurt as much as that one.
They are also 21-20, resting uncomfortably as the No. 6 seed in the mediocre Eastern Conference. Not much has gone according to plan, and Love’s play is among the things in question among Cavaliers fans and the national media.
Did Cleveland make a colossal blunder in trading for Love? A recent ESPN.com Insider piece seems to think so. It’s headlined “Best trade fits for Kevin Love,” and yes, author Tom Haberstroh is entirely serious.
It’s time to pick up the phone and see what you can get for Love. … He’s not a great fit on the roster, one with no rim protector. The coach obviously doesn’t trust him in late-game situations. If you don’t trade him, you run the risk of watching him walk for nothing this summer. You can’t afford to be stuck in that situation, and right now, the Cavs are going down that path. If things continue down this road, a Love deal has to be considered. The general manager’s job is to prepare for every scenario and look at the options.
The author then outlines four trade possibilities — to Golden State, Oklahoma City, Phoenix and New Orleans. While Love would still fetch value in return, none of it would be as close to as good as what Minnesota appears to have in Andrew Wiggins.
We have to imagine Cleveland actually trading Love is far-fetched. This isn’t just a one-year experiment, and there is plenty of time for the Cavs to figure things out. That said, the notion that this sort of thing is even being thrown out as a possibility speaks to how poorly this trade has worked out, so far, for Cleveland.
Packers fans and Vikings fans will never agree on much (at least football-wise … in real life, we agree on as many things as the general population agrees upon). They’re allied on a distaste for the Bears and Cowboys. They like a beer at the game. And that’s about it.
But we can’t help but think the two groups are growing closer, at least in understanding, as Green Bay catches up to Minnesota in gut-punching playoff losses. Yes, yes, we know, Packers fans: Green Bay has won four Super Bowls, including after the 2010 season. That’s a nice pillow to land on. But still, the past dozen years have vaulted the Packers toward the star-crossed Vikings when it comes to misery. Consider:
2002 season: The Packers and Brett Favre, previously seemingly invincible in home playoff games, are routed 27-7 by the Falcons at Lambeau Field.
2003 season: Packers lose to Philadelphia in overtime of the playoffs, which the Eagles forced on the miracle 4th-and-26 completion near the end of regulation from Donovan McNabb to Freddie Mitchell.
2004 season: Packers lose a home playoff game to the Vikings and mooning Randy Moss.
2007 season: In Brett Favre’s final game with the Packers, they lose in overtime, at home, in the NFC title game to the Giants.
2009 season: Overtime loss at Arizona, a 51-45 shootout. The winning play is a strip sack fumble of Aaron Rodgers returned for a touchdown, a play on which a penalty could have been called for grabbing Rodgers’ facemask.
2011 season: A 15-1 regular season is washed away with a home playoff loss to the Giants.
2012 season: Colin Kaepernick runs wild in a 45-31 49ers playoff win.
2013 season: The Packers again lose a home playoff game, 23-20 to San Francisco. The 49ers’ game-winning field goal comes within an eyelash of being blocked.
2014 season: We all saw what happened Sunday in Seattle, but this was probably the biggest punch of all. Up 19-7 and in control, the Packers lost the lead, rallied to tie, then lost in overtime — almost like losing twice.
Green Bay fans: We count a lot of rough endings, including four of the past 12 seasons ending with OT playoff losses. If you need further advice or coping mechanisms for all this, we have you covered.
The logic when the Wolves and Cavaliers involved the 76ers in their summer trade in which the big pieces were Kevin Love and Andrew Wiggins was this on Minnesota’s end: Philadelphia was willing to part with power forward Thad Young, who could replace Love’s minutes on a young, rebuilding team. Philadelphia took a couple of contracts off Minnesota’s hands and received a real asset, too: a top-10 protected pick in 2015 from Miami.
The Wolves could have had that pick instead of Young had they kept the trade simply between two teams (though they presumably wouldn’t have been able to offload those contracts). Some think the Wolves would have been better off keeping the pick, though some of that is hindsight now that the Wolves’ season has descended more rapidly into a full scale rebuild thanks to injuries to several key veterans.
Whatever you think of the original trade, there is now this: Marc Stein from ESPN is reporting the Wolves are willing to trade Young, and it sounds like Brooklyn is a suitor.
Dealing Young now makes some sense. He’s a useful player and a good guy. But he also has a player option next year at around $10 million, money the Wolves could conceivably spend on other assets while hoping Anthony Bennett or someone else grabs hold of the power forward spot in the future.
That said, if the Wolves aren’t able to get a real asset in return for Young, those who were scratching their heads over bringing Young to Minnesota in the first place are going to be looking smarter.
|New England||2/1/15 5:30 PM|
|Stephen F Austin||82||FINAL|
|Sam Houston St||80||FINAL|
|Miss Valley St||84|
|Central Conn St||51||FINAL|
|Miss Valley St||52|
|(12) Texas A&M||61||FINAL|
|(1) South Carolina||79|
|Mount St Marys||44|
|East Tenn St||72||FINAL|
|(18) Miss State||59||FINAL|