Are Gamers Athletes?

I know this story is a week old, but I must address it. A week ago Sunday, on professional gamer Fatal1ty and how he’s making a ton of money winning .

The piece details the exploits of Fatal1ty (a.k.a.  Jonathan Wendell) and his growing celebrity as a gamer and his clout as a commercial endorser. His agent tries to argue that Wendell is an athlete for a new form of sport.

No. No no no no no no no no no NO. He is not.

I’ll agree that video games are sport in that they consist of people competing against one another and that they are quickly becoming a spectator sport, but gamers as athletes? Please.

One of the primary aspects of being an athlete is skill of a physical nature. Don’t tell me that a largely sedentary activity such as playing video games is a sport, the most excursion of which requires sweating over controller.

Wendell clearly has mad skills as a gamer (and actual athletic skills, as the piece points out), but to call someone an athlete merely because they excel at video games is purely absurd.

Watch the 60 Minutes Video:

This Week In Internet Marketing – 1/24/06 – 1/27/06

Here’s a roundup of this week’s posts at my :

Randy Moss Video

on ESPN Radio about ‘s status with the Vikings and it only served to remind me of one thing: God I miss Moss. Anyone who wants to learn to be a good receiver should watch as much video of Randy Moss as possible. Toward that end, I’ll do my part to help out:

Randy Moss Video

Fran Tarkenton Video

Old Skool Vikings

Amid the ‘ quarterback controversy of who should start, , I thought we might take a breath and a step back to look at a bit Viking history in the form of Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton.

Tarkenton was an amazing quarterback. Nicknamed "The Scrambler," he was the forerunner of current mobile quarterbacks such as Daunte, Donovan McNabb, and Michael Vick. As the following NFL Films segments show, he had an amazing ability to elude the pass rush and buy time for his receivers to get open.

Fran Tarkenton Video

Fran Tarkenton On The Web

Vikings Video – 2005 Season

At 9-7, the finished with a winning record for the 2005 season but they could not overcome numerous mistakes, ineptitude and injuries in a year in which the seemingly came out of nowhere to become the division’s powerhouse team.

Nevertheless, the team provided many highlights in their first post- season.

Minnesota Vikings Video Highlights – The 2005 Season

  • Falcons 30, Vikings 10 – Week 4
  • Bye – Week 5
  • Bears 28, Vikings 3 – Week 6
  • Vikings 23, Packers 20 – Week 7
  • Panthers 38, Vikings 13 – Week 8
  • Vikings 27, Lions 14 – Week 9
  • Nate Burleson TD
  • Vikings 24, Giants 21 – Week 10
  • Vikings 20, Packers 17 – Week 11
  • Vikings 24, Browns 12 – Week 12
  • Vikings 21, Lions 16 – Week 13
  • Vikings 27, Rams 13 – Week 14
  • Steelers 18, Vikings 3 – Week 15
  • Ravens 30, Vikings 23 – Week 16
  • Vikings 34, Bears 10 – Week 17
  • Daunte Culpepper Or Brad Johnson?

    It has had to have been a strange few days for new head coach .

    On January 9, Strib columnist saying: "I spoke to Daunte Saturday morning. I had a nice conversation with him. I will have a chance to sit down face-to-face with him here later in the week."

    On the same day, Pioneer Press writer seemingly trying to put Culpepper at ease: "Daunte Culpepper right now is the franchise quarterback. That’s how they signed him. He’s the guy."

    A handful of days later, with in town, , over the phone.  How very odd.

    [UPDATE 1/18/06: The Pioneer Press that Culepper was in town to meet with his doctors, not Childress. Still…]

    All the while, in the background were the rumors that wanted to be traded, or, at the very least, start for the the Vikings next  year. The rumors became fact  when that though he didn’t ask for a trade, he does want to be a starting quarterback.

    The Vikings have had a quarterback controversy since the final game of the season ended with their win against the . Johnson’s insistence now that he start just moved up the time table of the eruption of the controversy from when it would have otherwise occurred: The point next season when Daunte is healthy enough to play again.

    Perhaps that explains Culpepper’s odd behavior in not meeting face-to-face with his new head coach; perhaps he saw the inevitability of Johnson beginning the season as the Vikings’ number one signal caller and he wanted to play a Whose The Boss? card.

    I don’t know that another quarterback in the NFL has ever returned from the type of : He injured three of the four major ligaments in his knee: The  ACL, PCL, and MCL. That’s going to take a while to recover from. From what I understand, it would be a miracle if Culpepper were to be ready to play by the time training camp rolls around.

    Couple that with the fact that Daunte would need to learn an entirely new offense, and it’s reasonable to think that he couldn’t possibly be ready to start the season opener.

    And all that, of course, makes Johnson’s boat-rocking all the more aggravating. He signed a three-year contract. He’s locked in. And he should just keep his mouth shut because he already is the de facto starting quarterback. If he plays well enough, who knows? By the time Culpepper’s ready to play, Childress may not want to change quarterbacks.

    Who Is Best Suited To The West Coast Scheme?

    For a West Coast offense you need a quarterback who is accurate and can throw with touch so the ball is catchable. He has to have an excellent sense of anticipation in order to effectively execute the timing routes upon which the West Coast offense it built.

    Another skill you want in a West Coast quarterback is the ability to throw all types of passes, from screens and timing passes, to Short, middle, and deep routes.

    But since the West Coast offense is predicated upon the idea of obviating the running game with a short passing game, throwing the deep ball is not nearly as important as it is in other schemes. The idea in the West Coast is that when you start killing a team with a short passing game, they’ll inch up to defend it to the point that the middle and deep routes open up.

    When that happens, you don’t need to be able to throw that deep in order to get the ball behind the defense. Your deep routes are explosive because the receiver catches and then runs for a lot of yards.

    Brad Johnson

    Right off the bat, it would seem that Brad Johnson is currently better suited to running the West Coast offense. He is very adept at getting the ball out of his hands to his receivers quickly and he can put some touch on the ball. While his arm strength is nowhere near that of Daunte’s, he’s got enough of a long ball to work well in the West Coast offense.

    Perhaps the biggest thing Johnson has over Culpepper right now is his experience. He’s played in three different offensive schemes in Minnesota, Washington and Tampa Bay and, with the Bucs under Jon Gruden, he ran an extraordinarily complex system. That bodes well for Brad quickly picking up Childress’ version of the West Coast. Check out the following video clips to understand Johnson’s understanding of the game:

    Oh, yeah; and, uh, Johnson has won a Super Bowl.

    Daunte Culpepper

    Assuming Culpepper can come back from is injury, no one seriously thinks he is not the long-term answer at quarterback. But it is a big assumption he can come back and even if he does, it’s an even bigger assumption that he will return as the same player he was before he was injured.

    One of the things that made Daunte such a dangerous weapon on the field was his mobility; not just the ability for him to tuck the ball in and run downfield or beat defensive ends to the edge, but his ability to make a quick move in the backfield to make a rusher miss. He’s also got a cannon for an arm, he’s a very accurate passer, and he’s a load to bring down.

    But Daunte has played in one system his entire NFL career and for most of that time he was afforded the ability to freelance on the field. When both he and Randy Moss were on the field together, if a play broke down, both were such superior athletes that they had the ability to make something out of nothing. It was a beautiful thing to watch.

    The West Coast offense, however, is built on precision and timing. There’s very little freelancing involved. So that part of Daunte’s game would not be utilized.

    In addition to his injury, he’s also got to learn a new offense. It’s not that he’s not capable of overcoming his injury and learning the West Coast offense, it’s a question of whether he can do it in time to be of much help to the Viking next season.

    Yet when you take a look at the following video highlights of Daunte Culpepper, any Vikings fan can only fervently hope that he comes back as good as new and thrives in the West Coast system. Because, damn, that guy can play:

    The West Coast Offense Explained

    The Vikings will be adopting the West Coast offense under head coach .

    There is some dispute over the origin of the West Coast offense. In January, 1999, in an article in The Sporting News, saying it’s misnamed because, he says, it began in Cincinnati when he was on the Bengals staff.

    But Sports Illustrated‘s Paul Zimmerman, or to Sid Gillman of the 60s-era San Diego Chargers and of 1930s-era Ohio State teams.

    Others have put Don Coryell of the Chargers of the 70s and the Redskins’ Joe Gibbs in the West Coast tradition.

    Annoyingly, no one ever mentions the Vikings as a West Coast team even though the 70s-era teams under and his offensive coordinator ran an offense consisting of a short, ball-control passing game directed by with running back Chuck Foreman often used as a receiver our of the backfield. (Tarkenton himself argues in this NFL Films interview that the Vikings ran a forerunner of Walsh’s West Coast offense).

    ESPN’s .

    Pasquarelli describes the Bill Walsh version of the West Coast offense thusly:

    The initial Walsh concept was for a standard
    pro-set offense — two backs in split alignment, two wide receivers and
    a tight end — designed to get the ball quickly from the quarterback to
    the skill-position players. The idea was to release all five of the
    eligible receivers at the same time, relying on three- and five-step
    drops by the quarterback to compensate for most blocking breakdowns,
    and to throw the ball crisply and on the break.

    Sounds a lot like the Eagles offense, which probably means that we’ll get something closely akin to a Walsh-style West Coast offense.

    ESPN’s Joe Theismann, Sean Salisbury and Mark Malone list . One opinion they all share is that the West Coast puts less pressure on the offensive line because the lineman do not have to hold their blocks as long as they do in other systems; that will help the Vikings current linemen.

    of the Bill Walsh version of the West Coast offense on his Football 101 site. and a PowerPoint presentation by Ron Jenkins called (only works with the Internet Explorer browser) are designed specifically as aids to teaching the West Coast offense.

    For a superb explanation of the interdependence of the quarterback drop and the receiver’s patterns in the proper execution of timing routes, watch these NFL Films videos featuring Bill Walsh and Joe Montana.

    HBO’s Football Show – 1st & Ten

    is the best. I mean, who needs TV when you’ve got Home Box Office? ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; and now and –the list goes on.

    Apparently, it goes back as far as the 80s, when HBO boasted their comedy series , a sitcom about the fictional NFL team the California Bulls. The show stars as a divorcee who seizes control of the team from her ex.

    The show ran from 1986 to 1991 (before I started subscribing to H-boe) and featured appearances by a plethora of NFL stars and former stars.

    With the Vikings season over, I’ve been filling my time watching episodes from the box set of 1st and Ten. The highlights for old school football fans like myself, no doubt, will be the player appearances. The Vikings featured on the show include , , , , and .

    While , you can find the box set now at Best Buy, Circuit City, Wal-Mart, Borders, and Barnes & Noble.

    Vikings Training Camp Video

    The Star Tribune does an excellent job of posting multimedia clips on the Vikings. They’ve got audio of new-signed DE Erasmus James talking about his first workout, fellow DE Lance Johnstone talking aobut the upcoming Cheifs game, Tice’s full press conference, Defensive Coordinator Ted Cotrell subbing for Tice during a press conference, and video of Tice talking about their scrimmage and defense and James tipping and intercepting a Brad Johnson pass.

    KSTP TV, meanwhile, posts video of their Vikings news coverage, including a piece on the team’s newly-rennovated ship being vandalized, Troy Williamson and Matt Birk injury updates, coverage of the team’s offensive and defensive scrimmages, Smoot’s return, James’ signing, and a review of the last week of camp.

    KFAN has video from the last week of camp, including a Johnson to Hoag pass, a Johnson to Fason pass, a Culpepper to Angulo pass, a Culpepper to Robinson pass, a Johnson to Howry pass, a Williams tackle of Bennett, Ralph Brown batting down a pass, a Culpepper to Robinson pass, a Culpepper to Wiggins toss, and Erasmus James running the gauntlet.