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home : columns : columns May 25, 2016

12/30/2013 3:48:00 PM
Fearless Forecast for 2014
My annual search for the Fearless Forecaster recently brought me to Winter Park in Eden Prairie, the Minnesota Vikings headquarters.
As I parked my car, I spotted a short, dumpy, guy in a Hawaiian shirt, shorts and flip-flops ambling toward the practice bubble. I wondered aloud, "Could possibly be...Nah, can't be."
After all, the temperature was below zero. Wind chills were downright scary. The Forecaster I know bundles up and goes nowhere without his trademark white trench coat.
Upon entering the building, I asked a secretary if she had seen a guy who goes by "Fearless Forecaster." She nodded, smiled and pointed me to an office down the hall.
Her directions led me to a door bearing the name: "H.P. Grant." I hesitated, knocked, and then heard Forecaster yell, "C'mon in."
It was a stunning moment for me. Not only was I in the office of the great Bud Grant, I was speaking to a Fearless Forecaster who was completely out of character.
My questions came rapid fire: "Are you kidding me? Flip flops? Shorts? Hawaiian shirt? What gives?"
The Danny DeVito clone chuckled, chomped on his unlit cigar (it's Bud's office after all) and replied: "Someone told me I'm too stodgy, too boring, too serious all the time. I thought I'd loosen up a bit."
Then, he paused and barked at me for taking credit for his picks.
"Wait a minute," I replied. "Every year, I make it very clear that these are not my picks. Besides, I'm not sure I want to claim your 2-7 mark from last year."
Speaking of Forecaster's 2013 picks, here's a quick review.
In 2013, Forecaster missed on the following picks: The New England Patriots would win the Super Bowl; city and county officials would re-build River Road and 6th Street for the second straight year; a practical joker would place giant Packer logos on local recycling containers; David Letterman would announce his retirement; Minnesota Twins would win 80 games; County commissioners would raise the taxes by 31 percent; Gopher basketball team would reach the Final 8.
Forecaster hit the mark on these two predictions: Daniel Day-Lewis would win an Oscar for his role in "Lincoln" and the Iowa Hawkeyes would refuse to put South Dakota State University on its men's basketball schedule. (Here are a few notable facts: the Jacks reached the NCAA Tournament last year, the Hawks did not; the last time the Jacks and Hawks played, the Jacks won 79-69, in Iowa City.)
The 2014 Forecast
OK, before we get on with the forecast, I must add this disclaimer: "Fearless Forecaster cannot be held responsible for any money won or lost based on wagers involving the annual Fearless Forecast."
Here is the 2014 forecast:
• Grumpy Cat will once again edge Chuck Norris as Bing's number one most-viewed online item in 2014.
• American voters, fed up with the bickering Congress, will send a message in November. Most of U.S. House and Senate incumbents will lose their jobs in the fall elections.
• Tiger Woods will finally break through and win another major, ending his five-year drought.
• American motorists will see gasoline prices average less than $3.40 per gallon for the first year since 2010.
• The City of Bingham Lake will get even with Madelia (which last year planted a billboard at the edge of Bingham Lake stating: "you're just minutes from a better life.") At the edge of Madelia, along the westbound Highway 60 lanes, a new billboard will announce: "We all like Madelia, but they made a mistake. The better life, of course, is at Bingham Lake."
• Smartwatches, (an extension of the cell phone) will become a huge technology buzz in 2014.
• Leonardo DiCaprio will win an Oscar for his role in "The Wolf of Wall Street."
• A new bar/restaurant will open in Windom and it will enjoy immediate success.
• The Seattle Seahawks will win the Super Bowl.
• Embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford who has admitted to smoking crack "in a drunken stupor," will step down as the city's mayor. Upon learning this news, the Toronto Star's publisher will publicly beg Ford to reconsider. When that fails, the Star will sue Ford, claiming his resignation has cost the newspaper millions in lost subscriptions, counter sales and advertising revenue.
At this point in the forecast, a Vikings employee ambled past Grant's office, peeked inside, smiled and offered us a beverage. We declined, but both commented on the Vikings' first-class staff.
"So why are we in Bud's office?" I asked.
Forecaster chuckled and replied, "I'm just borrowing it. It fits with my forecast theme."
"Your theme?"
"Yeah," Forecaster replied. "Minnesota hasn't had a truly great coach since Bud retired. Since then, we've seen a parade of pretenders. Frazier is a great guy, but he had to go. He made his own bed when he hired a terrible staff. That was Bud's great strength, assembling a solid staff.
So who is it going to be? Shanahan, Cowher, Gruden?
Forecaster let out a hearty laugh. He laughed so hard, tears rolled down his face.
"What's so funny?" I asked.
"I can't believe it," Forecaster said. "For the first time ever, you have actually guessed my top prediction. You hit it right on the nose, young man. The next Vikings head coach will be Gruden. But it won't be Jon Gruden, he won't come here. It'll be Jon's brother, Jay Gruden."

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