It’s Monday morning, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 2018 in suburban Minneapolis. The temperature outside is inching closer to positive numbers. I kiss my daughter and send her off to the bus stop.
A few moments later, she comes storming back in demanding that I come take a look at this cool thing outside. I oblige, walking out onto the driveway in Vikings slippers, shorts, and a sweatshirt. It’s three below zero. I satisfy my daughter’s want for me to see something, and she runs off to the bus stop a few houses down.
My neighbor, a stay at home mom, is out with her kids also waiting for the bus. I catch her eye and we wave. She says, “How about that game, huh? Incredible!” She was, of course, talking about the now famous Minneapolis Miracle: Minnesota’s Moment.
This is Minnesotans. This is who we are. We bleed purple and gold. No matter the Vikings’ record, we all still ask one another what we are doing for the game on Sunday. It isn’t just a sports franchise for us. It’s more. It’s family. It’s loyalty. It’s disappointment. It’s heartbreak.
But not today.
Today, it is the ultimate high. It is what we all imagine New England fans must feel every season. Today, we are the ones in the spotlight. We are the ones who pulled a rabbit out of our hats. Us. Minnesota.
The Anatomy Of Heartbreak
I was born in 1981, so I have not been around for every Viking’s heartbreak. I have seen the replays, the YouTube videos, the 0-4 Super Bowl record.
I have lived through the amazing 1998 season when the world was introduced to Randy Moss. I also lived through the Daunte Culpepper years when we were certain we had a quarterback that would take us to multiple Super Bowls.
2009 is one a lot of fans remember most. Maybe it was because we had Baby Cheesus Brett Favre leading the way and it seemed almost too perfect.
Too perfect is a feeling Minnesota sports fans live with every day, especially when it comes to the Vikings. We are always either one piece away, or we are actually relevant or favored until the other shoe drops. And it always drops.
In 1975, the Vikings were clear Super Bowl favorites, only to lose on a fifty-yard bomb that ended up coining the term Hail Mary.
In the 2016 playoffs, in frigid temperatures, our kicker (I refuse to write his name) misses a chip shot to win, wide left.
In 2009 (actually 2010 because it was January), as clear favorites, a Hall of Fame quarterback inexplicably throws an atrocious interception to lose the game.
Then, the grandaddy of them all, the 1998 NFC Championship Game. The 15-1 Vikings were an offensive powerhouse and had a clear path to the Super Bowl. No one was even in our league that season. Then, our Hall of Fame kicker who had not missed a single field goal the entire season, missed. We lose. Again.
Vikings fans have been knocked down more times than almost any other franchise. The difference between Minnesota and other franchises used to heartbreak is the number of times our team has been clear favorites and somehow, some way, catastrophe happens and we lose. We are in a constant state of waiting for the knock out punch. We expect it. We are ready for it. We are prepared for it.
Watch some of the YouTube videos of Viking’s fans reactions to the game-winning touchdown pass again.
Most are elated, some are crying, a few are downright losing their minds. What is actually happening is the human spirit being reborn. The die-hard, life-long Minnesota Vikings fan experiencing a feeling they honestly felt would never occur.
We may not make it out of Philadelphia this weekend. We may get our tails handed to us. It doesn’t matter. What matters is the Minneapolis Miracle. It finally happened to us. We finally have our moment in time. We finally get to feel the way so many other fans get to feel every so often. This was our moment, and no one can take it away from us.
Whatever happens on Sunday in the NFC Championship game will happen. It will be what it will be. Obviously, all of us here in Minnesota want a Super Bowl victory. We crave it. We deserve it.
Until Sunday, and always in our memories, the Minneapolis Miracle is ours to have, hold, and own forever in time.