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SportsMonday: Liking That

Immature male specimens of our delightful species love to mock people when they are down.

The pathetic schoolyard taunts become high school heckling. One of the keys to enjoying a college sporting event is for it to be consistently loud because if it isn't, you run the risk of hearing some of the profane crap the young fellas in attendance are spewing about their teams' foes.

Some fans never move on from this phase. There are plenty of middle-aged guys taking in games who never miss a chance to give it to opposing players who are seen as weak and/or vulnerable. Heck, many players never move on either.

Every once in a while, though, the guy on the other end of the taunts has his day. I give you Minnesota Viking Kirk Cousins' initial, brief postgame comments from Sunday:

If you don't know the history, that must strike you as an awfully explosive reaction from a team to its quarterback's seemingly mundane words. It is hard to imagine why the words "You like that?" might possibly provoke such a powerful flood of emotion.

So, the history: In 2015, Cousins had taken over as the starting quarterback for the Washington Racial Slurs. He did some things well as a signal-caller but he certainly wasn't lighting the world on fire and plenty of people, including members of Washington's front office, doubted whether he was a good enough quarterback to lead his team to consistent success.

Cousins was keenly aware of the doubts and when, after a late season win, Cousins screamed "You like that?!" (apparently to reporters) on his way to the locker room, a catch phrase was born:

(He also once yelled, "How you like me now?" to Washington executive Scot McCloughan.)

In 2018, Cousins became a free agent and signed a contract with the Vikings that made him the highest paid player in NFL history on annual basis, but has had an up and down career since then. He has led teams to more wins than losses but has had an unbelievably bad record in high profile games.

One thing that hasn't changed since then has been opposing players having fun at Cousins' expense after victories. A Google search reveals at least a half dozen incidents of opposing players screaming "You like that?" after their teams have knocked off Cousins. It happened several times just this past season.

Cousins is a big strong football player but he can come across as needy and even neurotic at times. In other words he is the sort of guy schoolyard bullies zero in on like deadly drones.

So when the Vikings shocked the football world with a victory over the favored Saints in New Orleans yesterday, Cousins had his chance to even the score a bit.

I'm no Vikings fan, but I found myself reacting emotionally to Cousins' quick little speech and his teammates' response. He delivered the line perfectly, without telegraphing it in any way. A few of his fellow players seemed unsure initially why there was the big reaction but after a few beats they were all surging toward him in congratulations.

Every once in a while, the guy who has been the butt of jokes bounces back in a big way. And surely even the most immature among us can enjoy that happenstance for at least a little while.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman likes that, and welcomes your comments.

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