POSTED 6:13 p.m. EDT, September 19, 2006
Plenty of Karma for Culpepper.
To the extent that karma applies to pro football, Daunte Culpepper's downfall came in 2005, when he tried to parlay one of the best single-season quarterback performances in NFL history into a bunch of new money.
The Vikings complied, moving forward some of his backloaded deal.
And Culpepper then proceeded to stink it up in 2005.
But even after having a horrible season that was ended prematurely due to a horrific knee injury, Culpepper wanted more money.
He even fired his agent and began representing himself in an effort to get more coin.
In the end, Culpepper looked like the winner, finagling a trade to his home state of Florida and getting a fresh start with an up-and-coming franchise.
However, it appears that bad karma still has Culpepper's name on its "to do" list.
The eighth-year pro has looked flat-out horrible in his two starts with the Fins.
Culpepper's passer rating of 69.2 is even lower than the 72.0 he posted in 2005, light years from that 110.9 he somehow mustered in 2004.
It's easy to point to the departure of Randy Moss from Minnesota as the beginning of the end for Culpepper, but Daunte was stellar in 2004 even while Moss was nursing a hamstring injury.
It's also fashionable to credit Culpepper's past performance to former Vikings offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, but Culpepper is back in the offense that Linehan used in Minnesota.
[img width=349 height=391]http://www.profootballtalk.com/Fumblepepper.jpg[/img]
"Why do I feel like I'm forgetting something?"
Though Culpepper is capable of periodically playing well (or, as in 2004, very, very well), he's not a consistent "A"-lister, and he simply isn't the kind of guy who can pick up a team on his back and carry it to greater heights.
We're not saying that the Fins won't win games.
But if they ever make it beyond the first week of the postseason, it won't be because of Culpepper.
It will be in spite of him.
It's not fair for us to focus all of our venom at Joey Sunshine.
There are plenty of other incompetent sock puppets out there, and the possible king of the Sunday afternoon hill is FOX's Bill Maas.
Maas worked the Carolina-Minnesota game this weekend, with some guy named Steve Byrnes, who very well might have been just grabbed out of a Metrodome men's room and slapped into a suit.
But it was hard to notice Byrnes' mediocrity, given Maas's complete incompetence.
Here's just a summary of our gripes with Maas, who never, ever, ever should be allowed into a press box again.
Unless he's delivering pizzas.
(Even then, he should be prohibited from saying a single word, other than "This one has the anchovies.")
In the second quarter, Maas ripped Vikings quarterback Brad Johnson for throwing the ball into the ground while being manhandled by Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers some 12 yards behind the line of scrimmage.
In so doing, Maas implied that taking the penalty was somehow worse than taking the sack.
Taking the sack results in the ball at the spot of the tackle and the loss of a down.
So does the penalty for intentional grounding.
The only real difference is that it reduced Peppers' sack total for the game from four to three.
On consecutive plays in the first half, Maas tried to spot Panthers receiver Keyshawn Johnson on the telestrator.
On both occasions, Maas circled the wrong guy.
Also, Maas went on and on after a first-half play in which Panthers defensive tackle Jordan Carstens split left guard Steve Hutchinson and left tackle Bryant McKinnie to make a key tackle.
After a commercial, Maas conceded that it actually was Hutchinson and Matt Birk who'd been divided by Carstens, not Hutch and McKinnie.
But Maas never bothered to mention the replay that showed Hutchinson releasing the block prematurely and moving to the next level in search of another defender to hit.
Our complaints with Maas aren't confined to matters of ability.
He was a tad disingenuous, too.
Near the end of the first half, the Vikings started a drive in their own end with 11 seconds left and all three time outs.
The dude they found in the men's room asked Maas whether he thought the Vikes would try to move the ball, or whether they'd just run out the clock and head to the locker room.
In answering the question, Maas deliberately took his time until he could see the beginning of the "quarterback kneel" formation as the players broke the huddle.
Maas then proclaimed that the Vikings wouldn't try to move the ball.
Said Maas in an effort to kill time until the huddle broke:
"Well, I think given that they're at home . . . . given that they understand what they're gonna do . . . . you take a knee."
Maas pulled a similar routine later in the game, delaying his two cents regarding whether Minnesota receiver Troy Williamson landed in bounds until Maas could see via the replay that he did not.
"It looked to me as if . . . . . . . . his right hand hit out of bounds before his right foot did."
Also, Maas insisted that the crowd was booing when it was obviously chanting "Smoot" (for Vikings corner Fred), Maas presumed that Panthers punt returner Chris Gamble's ill-advised lateral to a teammate was not a called play, and Maas went out of his way to throw "attagirls" to sideline reporter Dawn Mitchell, who was (and how do we put this kindly?) absolutely pig-freaking horrendous.