As the Patriots celebrated their sixth Super Bowl title in the past 18 years on Sunday, a somewhat crazy thought crossed my mind that occurs each time the NFL’s championship game comes to its conclusion.
What would happen if it was Vikings players standing on the floor of the stadium celebrating as confetti fell on them and parade plans were being made in Minneapolis-St. Paul?
We are to the point that Vikings fans might simply take a Super Bowl appearance.
The franchise went to four of the first 11 Super Bowls but lost in all of them. Their last appearance came on Jan. 9, 1977 when they lost 32-14 to the Oakland Raiders in the Rose Bowl.
In 1977 longtime Twin Cities journalist Jim Klobuchar published a book entitled, “Will the Vikings Ever Win the Super Bowl?” The answer back then likely was that it was only a matter of time before Bud Grant’s team broke through and finally brought home a championship.
It now has been 42 seasons since that last Super Bowl. The Vikings have made 21 playoff appearances in that time and appeared in six NFC title games. They have lost all of them with three of the defeats — 1987 at Washington, 1998 vs. Atlanta and 2009 at New Orleans — being of an excruciating nature.
I will be 50 years old next November and my memory of the Vikings’ last Super Bowl appearance is sketchy at best. Many Vikings fans don’t know anything other than NFC title game heartbreak. So what would happen if the Vikings finally won the Lombardi Trophy?
That question was put to Twitter followers late Sunday. Not surprisingly, the responses were all over the map.
This state would shut down for several days and the parade would have a million plus. https://t.co/hqkCkLqUXc
— Biddy (@Biddco) February 4, 2019
One of my best friends a lifelong cubs fan. Said it was the greatest feeling he ever had as a fan when they finally won it. Days later still just trembling with joy. Something like that for a Vikes fans. They’re around the playoffs more than most. It’s gonna happen
— MNsportsfan (@NsportsfanM) February 4, 2019
Pretty sure the state shuts down for a week straight. Whoever the starting qb is gets elected governor, instantly. And at least one person drives their car into lake Minnetonka
— Chuck Aoki (@Aoki5Chuck) February 4, 2019
These responses are the reason why it’s fun to daydream about this possibility — no matter how far-fetched it might seem. I saw the Twins win the World Series in 1987 and 1991 and it was fantastic, especially since both times the Series went seven games and the Twins won at the Metrodome.
I also saw the North Stars go to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1981 and 1991 and, as big of a long shot as it might seem, I’m fairly confident I know how this state would react if the Wild won the Stanley Cup. Same thing if the Timberwolves ever won the NBA Finals.
The two biggest curiosities for me when it comes to local sports fans are how they would react if the Vikings won a Super Bowl or if the Gophers football team ever went to a Rose Bowl. I’m not even talking about when the Rose Bowl is part of the college football playoff. But that curiosity is based on not knowing exactly how crowded the Gophers bandwagon would become if they had an outstanding season. This is a program that hasn’t been to a Rose Bowl since Jan. 1, 1962.
The Vikings have no such questions about their fan base.
Minnesota was awarded an NFL expansion team in 1961 and there has been no lack of success for the Vikings in their 58 years. A season ago, the Vikings went 13-3 and made it to the NFC title game before losing big in Philadelphia. The Vikings were one win away from becoming the first team to play host to a Super Bowl.
In some ways, the Vikings feel like the NFL’s version of what the Boston Red Sox or Chicago Cubs became before they finally broke their World Series droughts.
No, the Vikings aren’t sitting on an 86-year wait, which is what the Red Sox ended in 2004 by beating St. Louis, or a 108-year wait, which is what the Cubs ended in 2016 by winning Game 7 in Cleveland. But Vikings fans know all about the type of heartbreak that Red Sox and Cubs fans endured for so many years. The Red Sox had Bill Buckner in ’86 at Shea, the Vikings answered with Gary Anderson in ’98 at the Metrodome. The Cubs had Leon Durham in ’84 in San Diego, the Vikings answered with 12-men in the huddle and Brett Favre’s forced throw over the middle in 2009 in New Orleans.
We could go on but there’s no reason to bring up more painful memories.
Many of those memories could be erased, or at least partially wiped out, with one magical season. The celebration that would follow might be the most memorable this state has seen. There also certainly would be plenty of tears shed.
I could finally go to my Uncle Mark’s grave, bawling, drinking an O’Douls and tell him we did it. https://t.co/1lkhrosGd3
— b. (@b_heintzz) February 4, 2019
I would cry, my Dad was a huge fan and he has the nord symbol on his tombstone so it would be a pretty surreal moment. I don't need 6, just 1 would be nice. I really thought last year was the year after the Diggs catch. That is my happiest moment of 30+ year of watching so far.
— Davty (@RealDavty) February 4, 2019