- January 18, 2018 at 1:48 pm #19240Joe JohnsonKeymasterNewbieRank: Newbie
Here We Go Again!
I was born in 1984 during the worst nursing strike in Minnesota history. I was born six weeks premature and had some complications (#Jaundice) and was relatively disgusting, aesthetically. I bring this up because I was around three or four years old when the Vikings made their first NFC championship in my lifetime (around the time I beat #Jaundice and went from a yellowish hue to a pale, pale white), a game in which they faced the Washington Redskins and as a Premie Yellowskin, I wasn’t really cognizant of that game but do know that the Vikes had just upset the “unstoppable” Joe Montana/Jerry Rice/Bill Walsh era San Francisco 49ers in the Divisional Round and because of that many people thought that they’d reach their fifth Super Bowl. That obviously didn’t happen and the Vikes didn’t return to the NFC ‘ship until 1998, which was the most magical season I’ve experienced and turned me into a casual Vikings fan into one that finally understood the emotion my dad showed during Vikings games. We all know how that game progressed, as did the two other NFC Championship appearances that the Vikings had in 2000-1 and 2009-10. I still remember exactly where I was, who I was with, what I was doing, how I reacted, etc. when it comes to those three NFC Championships and still watch replays of the ’98 and ’09 ‘ships on a regular basis when I want to feel deep, deep anger and pain (helps keep the jaundice at bay… Okay, no more jaundice jokes). Those games represent huge moments in my life and considering that the Vikings are going into their fifth NFC Championship in my lifetime this Sunday, I couldn’t help but write something about how we’re smack dab in the middle of that surreal time where you know you’ll look back at this time for the rest of your life and how, as someone born the same year that the original Terminator was released, that makes me feel… Spoiler Alert: It’s not good! Emotionally… I rationally feel less nervous about the team the Vikes are facing than I did about the ‘Aints, but emotionally I just have this mental block when it comes to NFC Championships and actually picturing the Vikings playing in the Super Bowl. It’s not hard to see why, but I just felt like writing about it as a means to an end, to hopefully get over that feeling so I can enjoy the game Sunday (and if things go the way they should, the game two Sundays from… Sunday).
The Minneapolis Miracle was amazing and a good example of another moment that is frozen in people’s memories, as people are going to remember where they were during that amazing finish (while some will embellish and claim that they saw it in person, as people do), but regardless of how amazing that play was it can’t really hold a candle to the importance of Sunday’s game. Sure, the Vikings wouldn’t be in the NFC Championship without that play, but what’s done is done and now as fans, we’re at the point where we have to realize the importance of the game Sunday and also rectify our concerns about how the Saints game ended and also how this team has performed in the NFC Championship the last four times. I’m not implying that those games have any bearing on the game Sunday for the team, but for the fans who are old enough to remember at least the last three NFC ‘ships (and young enough to not have seen the four Super Bowl apperances), it’s really something that brings a ton of anxiety with it and the feeling that something bad is going to happen.
I know that that’s stating an obvious fact, but I think that people are coming into Sunday’s game with a large amount of confidence and because of that they don’t realize that they’d better pick out a great outfit for Sunday because the end of that game will be seared in all of our memories for the rest of our lives and it’d be better not to be wearing sweat pants and crocs every-time you feel like reminiscing (whether it’s to bring up pain and anger or joy and glee). So. I’ll be honest. I am less “nervous” about Sunday’s game, rationally, than I was about the Saints game (as I said above). I strongly believed that the Saints were the best team in the NFC that aren’t named the Vikings and with them out of the way, the Vikings are now going into Philadelphia to play a backup QB who has had one good game out of four appearances. Granted, that “good game” was against the Falcons last week, but still, he’s no Drew Brees and that should mean great things for a defense that is going to be fired up after they apparently got complacent (per Everson Griffen) during the second half of Sunday’s masterpiece.
If you’ve listened to the purpleJOURNAL Podcast, you’ll know that I’ve said multiple times this season that this is the most anti-Vikings team I’ve ever seen. A Vikings team being the one that gives up leads, blows big games, has their defense go into the prevent, etc. Over and over again, really since Zimmer took over as head coach, it seems like the Vikings have been able to defy my negative expectations by either ending another teams’ momentum after it starts by scoring a dagger touchdown or coming back after blowing a lead like they did (multiple times) on Sunday. So, really, if anything, the Minneapolis Miracle was just a culmination of sorts, or really an exorcising of demons that Zimmer has found a way to mediate like that old woman in Poltergeist.
We will see if that continues in Philadelphia. I’m not really sure how I’d handle the Vikings actually going to the Super Bowl, but I do think that this is their strongest chance since at least 1998 (although I really did believe in the 2009 team, as well). I worried when I started to focus on writing about the Vikings (and running Vikings sites/networks) back in 2015 that I’d start to lose the emotion and love for the game that I’ve developed through (mostly) thick and thin over the past couple decades. I thought that I’d start to look at the games/news as work and thus I’d gain some sort of new perspective on the team/game itself that’d help me stop basically freaking out over the outcome of really any game. During the Saints game I spent the entire 4th quarter nervous pacing in a room adjacent to the television, listening while hoping that I’d hear something good happen (a pick six, or a stop on that fourth-and-ten). It was then that I realized that, while it’s really actually taxing for me to watch these huge games, it’s still part of who I am and so I accept that the Vikings are going into Philadelphia with perhaps their best shot at a Super Bowl since the 70’s and while that scares the shit out of me, I also realize that I’m smack dab in the middle of another benchmark moment in my life.
I’m really hoping that this is the year that that benchmark ends as a positive memory. That this team does the “impossible” and not only goes to the big game but also wins it, in their home stadium. While I really can’t picture that happening, I do have faith that this team has a really, really good shot at accomplishing that. Either way, though, I am trying to enjoy the build-up to the game and hopefully the game itself on Sunday. If not, there’s always the adjacent room and the nervous pacing. It seems to have served me well on Sunday. So, I thought I’d share my thoughts, even though there’s really no “point” to this article (it’s like my college papers all over again) outside of me using this platform to vent about just how much I want this team to win on Sunday. If anything, the Minneapolis Miracle and the multitude of reactions people posted online show that football is more than just entertainment or a hobby. People live and die by these teams, they love football more than they love any other form of entertainment like movies or music because it’s something that affects them to their core. People say that the NFL is bleeding viewers or that it’s dying, but when you see how happy (or on the other side, heartbroken) people got over that play/win, it really makes you realize that we’re part of a community of people who all really, really love this team. I’m so happy that I’m part of this group and I really love all of the comments and support that you all have been giving me, the other writers, our site here and our sister site VikingsTerritory.com and I really, really hope that we all can celebrate the unthinkable in a few weeks… Together.
But for now. Let’s all just try to pick one another up and keep things positive (just like the positive Jaundice test I received as an infant!)! That’s what being a fan is all about!
- January 18, 2018 at 1:53 pm #19241Joe JohnsonKeymasterNewbieRank: Newbie
And the record for the longest first paragraph ever goes to…
- January 18, 2018 at 2:50 pm #19254Joe OberleModeratorNewbieRank: Newbie
Yes, but you tied the record for the shortest last paragraph. So you’ve got that going for you . . . which is nice.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.