SYMPATHY FOR THE PONDER
Something bothered me about the Vikings first preseason game versus the Raiders. Work has been extremely busy so haven’t had a chance to write about it sooner. But even though it’s been almost a week, I still feel compelled to bring it up.
What bothered me was Christian Ponder. Nope, it wasn’t his play. Ponder played as he’s always played. Making the best of his limited QB abilities. He completed his usual number of rudimentary throws mixed with near pick 6’s. His third string offensive line didn’t do him any favors either. Ponder was under pressure most of the night.
Fans booed Ponder. And that’s what really bothered me. Sure fans paid money to attend the game and yes, they have every right to express their feelings about what they see on the field.
Considering Ponder’s current role on this Vikings team, I’m not sure what the point is in booing him. We know he’s not the man anymore. But more importantly, Ponder knows he’s not the man anymore.
Some fans have criticized his mopey body language and questioned his loyalty to the team. Ponder seems like a good guy. I’m sure he’s giving his best during his limited reps. I find it hard to imagine any athlete at any level wanting to suck.
I feel for Ponder. He was put in a bad situation he probably never asked for or even imagined in his wildest dreams. Rick Spielman selected Ponder 12th overall in the 2011 draft. I was shocked as anyone. I’m sure Ponder was just as shocked.
Spielman filled Ponder with hope that he could be a franchise QB. I was definitely rooting for Ponder. Why wouldn’t I? He wore the colors of my favorite team. I’m not an NFL GM or even close to a draft expert. I assumed Spielman saw something in Ponder.
Unfortunately, over three seasons and given every opportunity to be the man, Ponder made us see just how far away he was from being an NFL QB. Ponder was (and still is) a one-read-stare-down-his-WR-with-no-touch-and-prone-to-overthrows-and-underthrows kind of QB. His play was made even more depressing by the fact that the Packers have arguably the best QB in the league in Aaron Rodgers.
But like I said, I feel for Ponder. Just place yourself in Ponder’s cleats for a moment.
Think about a time where you had a dream opportunity and it slipped away despite your best efforts. That fumble you had against your crosstown rivals that cost your team the game. That big presentation for that big client that you froze at. That hot girl you finally got a date with but blew it because well, you were young, dumb and full of cum. (I’ve only heard about these things from a friend of a friend. Ahem. Cough. Cough.)
It sucks to suck. I wish Ponder all the best whether he’s on this team or not. Who knows, maybe Ponder gets a fresh start with another team and becomes a respectable QB in this league. It can happen. People mature. People can rise to the occasion to fulfill their potential.
At the very least, I hope Ponder can shut up all the boo birds by being terrific at whatever he goes on to do outside of football. Not everyone can make it in the NFL. It’s hard for us diehard Vikings fans to believe, but there is more to life than football.
Leave the man alone. Booing Ponder just takes away from the optimism we all have for this Vikings team and the upcoming season. There are so many things to be excited about. Teddy. Cordarrelle. Zimmer’s D.
Let Ponder drift away into the sunset of Vikings lore. Because this Vikings ship I wholeheartedly believe is headed in the right direction – towards the future shores of Purple Reign.