I'm not a big chaos theory guy, but more than a few of you broke it out over the weekend in protest of Friday night's "what might have been" post on the Minnesota Vikings missing out on the Robert Griffin III sweepstakes.
Apparently, part of chaos theory is the "Butterfly Effect," which is the name of an Ashton Kutcher movie but also refers to the idea that one small change in a timeline could have dramatic impact on what comes next. It's the equivalent, for example, of a butterfly in California fluttering his wings and causing something that causes something that causes something that leads to a blizzard in the Northeast.
In this case, Steve of Tucson, Ariz., and others argued, a Vikings loss to the Washington Redskins in Week 16 would have led to new circumstances in Week 17 and beyond. Technically, the Vikings would have secured the No. 2 pick if the only thing that changed was their Week 16 result. But the butterfly effect rules out such linear dot-connecting. It won't let us say the Vikings would have claimed the No. 2 overall pick if they had lost that game rather than won it, and it prevents us from concluding that the Redskins would have offered the Vikings the same deal (two first-round picks and a second-rounder to swap 2012 first-rounders) under that scenario.
Wrote Steve: "People need to realize the butterfly effect of a loss to the Redskins would have probably resulted in Washington ending up with the tenth overall pick as opposed to the sixth, thus not making the trade to the second overall quite as promising to fill holes in the line this year."
I'm all for introducing counter-arguments, especially when they veer into cool areas of science fiction and physics. But in this case, I wonder if the ladybug, er butterfly, effect is providing a safety net for those who can't accept how randomly the Vikings missed out on, at the very least, a franchise-altering haul of additional draft picks.
Even with the Redskins at No. 10, which ostensibly would require more compensation to move up to No. 2, I'm thinking this trade would still have happened. I'm going to guess the Vikings would have gladly moved from No. 2 to No. 10 in exchange for two more first-round picks and a second-rounder, and it's reasonable to think the Redskins would have offered at least the same to go from No. 10 to No. 2 as they did to go from No. 6 to No. 2.
For you butterflies who think time would have hurtled in a far completely different direction had the Vikings lost that Week 16 game, I'm going to go ahead and pound my fist on my desk. When your roof caves in as a result, I'll join your side.