I know this isn’t a sports column, but being a sports fan (as well as a fan of the arts) and an avid Vikings fan at that, I feel compelled to write about what felt like a devastating loss to the Saints in Sunday’s NFC championship game.
As a sports fan or fanatic, it was a heart-wrenching Vikings loss. Even those sports viewers who had no investment in the game could feel some pity.
The WCCO crew has donned this loss as one of the top five devastating losses in Minnesota Viking history.
Former NFL quarterback, and now football analyst/announcer, Troy Aikman, reviewed the stats on a few different occasions, emphasizing that the Vikings should be more than winning the game, they should be dominating the game. And when the game was over, the statistics had not changed and were greatly in favor of the Vikings. The Vikings should have won the game.
I believe, as one of the NFL announcers conveyed, that it was destiny. How could you not cheer for a team with the name, Saints, especially given the world devastations that have recently occurred in Haiti, as well as what happened in New Orleans with hurricane Katrina.
The Vikings were the better team, but destiny maybe spoke down to the coin toss allowing the Saints to have the first and only overtime possession. And how could a professional football team make such a silly mistake in the last minute of the game by having too many guys in the huddle, especially given they had just returned on the field from a timeout, which was to gather their thoughts as to what to do.
Instead, they lost five yards, and then, of course, an interception was thrown. Who would have thought? Fumble after Viking fumble, and within the red zone two times. This all happening to or by a team that was a league leader in not fumbling the ball. It was New Orleans destiny.
How can one not cheer a little for the Saints? The Saints, who four years ago had water leaking through the dome and were probably one of the worst teams in the league. New Orleans erupted by hurricane Katrina just some short years ago.
The city rebuilt, and in that rebuilding process, the city came together. But it was still a hard loss for Minnesota Viking fans and most certainly for the team itself. Minnesota’s Super Bowl drought almost matched that of the Saints.
The game was certainly entertaining, especially for Saints fans and those who did not have any emotional stake in who won the game.
The Vikings, especially this championship game, have provided a form of entertainment and unity for my family, too. We enjoyed the football food staples of chicken wings, cheese dip, meat balls, and some vegetables and dip for some food group balance.
After each change of defense to offense, offense to defense, we ran to our computer to turn on our favorite Vikings song (we had it programmed on iTunes): “Skol Vikings, Let’s win this game; Skol Vikings honor your name. Go get a first down. Let’s get a touch down. Rock ‘m, Sock ‘m, Fight, Fight, Fight . . . ”
We sang out these words in unison so loudly that I thought our neighbors could hear us, and we live out in the country.
Another favorite of ours is, “I got a feeling . . . ” which my kindergarten daughter says is from “Alvin and the Chipmunks” Vikings style. We sang and danced right up to overtime, where a few of us couldn’t watch what the 2009-10 Vikings destiny would be.
Well, the ending brought tears to my fourth grade daughter’s eyes. So, we had to help her and us put it in perspective, even though my heartstrings were pulled, too. What happened in Haiti what happened in New Orleans with hurricane Katrina is a tragedy.
This win to the Saints was more than just a football victory to the city and people of New Orleans. It represented a triumph in larger magnitudes. It was triumph over tragedy. The refurbished streets were celebrating a larger victory Sunday evening.
As we discussed this with her, she said, “You are right.” Music to a parent’s ears.
Although we, as Vikings fans, did not come “home” with a victory, it was a victorious season. I, as a fan, was very proud of the Vikings. Through all of their fumbles, they got right back in there and never let down. Favre, with his injured leg, threw himself down to try and regain one of those fumbles.
Although those guys get paid way too much (if we would make those same mistakes over and over in our professions, we would most likely get fired but that is for another story), they provide us, the fans, with a forum for communication, entertainment, camaraderie, and a reason for song and dance.