In 1998, I was an eight year old sports fanatic with no football team to cheer for in Los Angeles. I didn’t know much of the player names but I did know that I loved watching people play football. On January 17, 1999 the Minnesota Vikings battled the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship game, this is when I experienced my first heartbreak.
I witnessed Gary Anderson miss his first field goal all season wide left, which eventually destroyed the Vikings Super Bowl dreams after a 15-1 season. I couldn’t understand why I felt so angry and upset, I had no investment in the city of Minnesota, nor did I watch most of the games that season. But something about those Vikings made me want to root for them. Fast forward 17 years and I find my self sitting in my room wondering how on earth the Vikings managed to be eliminated from the playoffs because of another missed field goal wide left.
Its been four days since Blair Walsh missed a 27 yard field goal to send the Vikings into the Divisional round of the playoffs, but I can’t seem to get it off my mind. I want to find reasons as to why he missed, or try to understand what in the world happened. Was it because the laces were not out, or was it because the ball was near the left hash? My only answer is he simply dropped the ball.
The Vikings had a 6 point lead going into halftime, just like the 1998 Vikings did, and had multiple chances to put the game out of reach just as the 1998 Vikings did. But in similar fashion both the 2015 and 1998 Vikings failed to take advantage of those opportunities, and found themselves hoping that a field goal would seal their faith to move on to the next round. And similarly both times those consistent and dependable kickers failed.
Through my 17 years of fan hood I’ve found different ways to deal with the pain and anguish. Somehow I remember each time I’ve experienced a devastating Vikings loss.
2003 Vikings vs Cardinals
Paul Allen summed it up perfectly with just one word,”NOOOOO”
As the Vikings fumbled a way the chance to make the playoffs after a 6-0 start to their season.I was sitting in my living room, this was the first time I actually cried because of the Vikings.
2004 Vikings vs Eagles
I was sitting in my game room as L.J Smith had the ball popped out of his hands and into Freddie Mitchell’s for a touchdown, pretty sure I might have broken a remote control, which possibly bounced up and crashed into a picture frame.
2009 Vikings vs Saints
Sitting in my friends living room who is also a diehard Vikings fan, we sat there looking at each other like,”What Just HAPPENED?
This one burns more than most, the closest they came since 1998 to getting to the Super Bowl.
Paul Allen again said it best,” I can’t believe what I’m seeing right now”
2015 Vikings vs Seahawks
In a Las Vegas Sports book, with a ML Vikings ticket in my hand waiting to cash it in. I put my head on the table almost to nervous to watch, but managed to muster up the courage to lift my head up right before the ball was snapped, almost wish I didn’t.
This season still a tough pill to swallow but I must say because of Paul Allen and his amazing radio show, my Monday morning hour commute was filled with less anger and more relief. I had a place to goto to share my frustration and pain, I had the whole Vikings community, and Paul Allen’s therapeutic davenport of love.
Its going to be a long offseason, but the pain has finally faded away( a little), as I finally got myself to start writing this article, I’m happy to know the Vikings have a core of young, talented players to enter into 2016 at the brand new US Bank Stadium
Even though I am more then 1900 miles away from Minnesota and this Vikings team, my heart will always bleed purple and gold.
Image courtesy of Seattle Times