BEST VICTIM Minneapolis 2006 - Vikings
This season saw the usual farcical fare for our beloved but perpetually wronged 'Queens: bad calls from the refs, a plague of hard-luck injuries, a spate of off-the-field incidents that distracted from the simple task of winning on Sundays. Ho-hum. Slowly but surely, however, the steady accretion of those tragicomic, non-football-related things gradually turned the Vikes from hunters into hunted. Who among us hasn't carried a prosthetic penis and dried urine through an airport checkpoint? Or, for that matter, who hasn't scalped free Super Bowl tickets for a profit of thousands of dollars? And, really, who hasn't encouraged two willing lasses to engage, double-dildo, in front of a boatful of peers? This rather damning accounting notwithstanding, most purple-faced rubes were willing to look askance if the team would just make the playoffs. Sadly, forgiveness was not in the cards, so the heads at Winter Park and an army of lawyers and agents took a cue from the White House: Turn the tables in favor of the miscreants. Piss-specialist Onterrio "Scooter" Smith was a fall guy/bad apple cut from the team, scalper/head coach Mike Tice's million-dollar salary was too low for an average coach, and two players charged in the Love Boat incident claimed they were singled out because they were black. Boo-hoo. In the end, it probably doesn't really matter, because the Viking fan base has been forgiving a startling level of misconduct (and generally bad teams) for three decades now. Still, in terms of framing their scandalously embarrassing season, the Vikings behaved heroically in the all-spin zone: In fact, the whole team deserved a Purple Heart.