Let’s start this column on football with some other football, shall we?
One of the best sports shows on currently is the “Men in Blazers” show that covers English Premier League action on NBCSN. The two hosts joke about the week’s soccer action, mixing in currently relevant topics for jokes.
This week for instance, there was a joke about Crystal Palace’s defense being as good as the shut down U.S. government in a 4-1 thrashing to Arsenal.
One of the hosts is an Everton fan, which can come with it fair amounts of pain. Constantly, he will drink on camera from a mug that reads, “livin’ the nightmare.”
Never has a mug so aptly described the feelings of the Minnesota fan base. And on Sunday, most of Minnesota needed that mug.
The Minnesota Vikings losing to the Philadelphia Eagles was always a distinct possibility. But the way it happened just makes it hurt more.
Watching the team lay as flat as a cookie without flour in it was terrible. But enough has been made of the team’s performance.
But for the fans, just one question remains, are you surprised?
It has been six straight NFC Championship game defeats for the Vikings now. Add that to the Timberwolves winning just two playoff series since 1997, including a loss in their only Conference Finals, the Wild with a playoff series record of 4-8, and were swept in their only Conference Finals, and the Twins with a single playoff series win since the 1991 World Series.
In total, that is 95 seasons combined since the last major title in the state.
In non-Big Four leagues, Minnesota United had some success in the lower tiers, but struggled in their first season in MLS (a league that can be kind to expansion sides), and the Lynx, who have six WNBA Finals appearances, including four titles, in six years. But, they just don’t have the fan base they honestly deserve.
It has gotten to the point where when a team makes the playoffs, fan expectations are so low to minimize the disappointment that is forthcoming.
It is expected for Kai Forbath to miss the kick with 90 seconds left against the Saints. When that doesn’t happen, it is expected for Drew Brees to lead the Saints down the field. When that happens, nothing else is expected.
And that is what made the Minnesota Miracle that much more special. No one expected it.
But, that led to Minnesota fans breaking the two unwritten rules of being a Minnesota fan. One, don’t expect anything. Two, don’t talk about anything happening.
Following the Saints game, Monday morning came around and the first thing anyone talked about was the Vikings and how they seemed destined for a home Super Bowl.
And then Sunday happened, and it was back to the status quo.
Thinking about it, it was no surprise. But what makes it hurt is that the fans believed.
While not Pixar’s most critically acclaimed film, there is one line from “Cars 2” that becomes painfully true.
As Francesco Bernoulli claims, “To truly crush one’s dreams, you must first lift them up very high.”
The miracle win against the Saints did just that, and now Vikings fans have come crashing down.
Now, attention turns to the Super Bowl for Philadelphia and New England. Vikings fans forced to watch at home as the Lombardi Trophy sits in U.S. Bank Stadium without the Vikings playing for it. For many young fans, this is the first time where a major trophy has been in a Minnesota stadium.
The underdogs against the old dog. I could tell you now who is going to win the Super Bowl, but that can be inferred by this article. Or you can just wait until next week for more predictions.
Meanwhile, time to count the days until the World Cup. Oh wait, the U.S. didn’t qualify. Son of a b…