Manny Pacquiao Has Nothing on the Minnesota Vikings

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by Peter Christian

Before I get all worked up into a rant that runs into a word count that Paul M. Banks will frown upon, let me get one thing straight: I know.

I know that the Vikings shot themselves in the foot. I know that a team that fumbles 5 times does not deserve to advance to the Super Bowl. I know that you shouldn’t win a football game when you turn the ball over twice inside the red zone. Most importantly, I know that a team that ends up -4 in the takeaway/giveaway battle should not be in position to win a conference championship.

I also know that the Minnesota Vikings did all of those things and still, somehow, were able to be seemingly within reach of their franchise’s fifth Super Bowl (and first in my lifetime). Unfathomably, the Vikings were able to commit all of the aforementioned deadly sins and were still only one boneheaded throw shy of a Ryan Longwell attempt at a game winning field goal from about 50 yards in a dome. We were a Brett Favre scramble away from a chip shot to go to the Super Bowl. But Favre didn’t tuck the ball and run. Of course he didn’t.

Whether I, or Packers fans, like it or not, we are kindred spirits. We are brethren in getting our hearts ripped out by a man that just inevitably tries to do too much at the apex of a game.  Yet, we know that for all that moronic behavior and late game buffoonery there’s no way our team would have gotten to that point without him. As much as I know I’ll relive the interception by Brett Favre in the same way I relive the missed field goal by Gary Anderson back in January of 1999, I also know that Favre’s poor choice of throwing on the run across his body to Sidney Rice to try and seal the game wasn’t the only reason why the Vikings lost and dealt yet another crushing blow to the chest cavity of Vikings fans everywhere. That was just another moment for Vikings fans of all ages to discuss ad nausea when we talk about the times we got close. The Vikings history is littered with those moments. It doesn’t matter if you’re 55 and you’ve watched every Vikings game they’ve ever played, you’re 28 and you’ve seen the Vikings get to 4 NFC Championships and lose in the most heartbreaking manners possible or if you’re 7 and just started to care about the team. The Minnesota Vikings are unique in the manner in which they pump your hopes up just to smash them into tiny pieces with the most vicious stomach punch losses in the history of sports.

Manny Pacquiao is widely considered the greatest puncher alive right now (possibly of all time) and even though none of the loyal Vikings fans in Minnesota and scattered throughout the country have likely ever felt the wrath of Pac-Man’s body blows, we all know exactly what they feel like. The air gushes out of your lungs, your heart races, you feel dizzy and finally the pain sinks in to make you bend over so that you can try and get the oxygen back into your body. Every Vikings fan just had that same progression of feelings on Sunday night. It’s no secret that Vikings fans are tortured, but no one knew that we were so good at taking these shots round after round, fight after fight, year after year.

Whether it’s due to late game idiocy, complete malfunction (re: 2000 NFC Championship) or a little of both mixed with some outside influence, it makes no difference. We’ve felt the sting before, but never will we become immune to its effects nor will we stop putting ourselves in the position to avoid the devastation altogether . That type of loss is one that Minnesota sports fans have become prepared for, and actually, sadly, expect. That doesn’t, however make it any less painful or help us deal with the aftermath any better. It just means we are ready for it.

I told many who asked me about the game during the previous week that no matter what happened in the NFC Championship, I was going to be a mess. If the Vikings lost, I’d go through the 7 stages of grief with a long stay at the depression stage or if they won, I’d spend the next two weeks battling so much anxiety that I’d likely feel the need to vomit at least once daily. So far, I’m spot on. Though, I wasn’t aware I would be getting to the ANGER stage so quickly. Maybe it’s because of the turnovers, maybe it’s because the defense played so well (all for naught) or maybe it’s because of how much I hate Pete Morelli right now (I’m absolutely not making excuses that the refs blew the game, they were great all game with the exception of 3 calls in OT). No matter the reason, my insides are literally on fire with rage right now. I’ve taken the deep breaths, I’ve stopped my insides from telling me they hurt, now all that remains is the fact that we got dealt yet another punch by the most skilled pugilist in all of sports: the Minnesota Vikings.

(Editors note: removed from this essay was a 394 word paragraph about all the terrible things Mr. Christian would like to do to Pete Morelli and the rest of his officiating crew. We at The Sports Bank felt it necessary to remove the paragraph because a) the placement of the paragraph did not flow with the rest of the article and b) if anything were to happen to Mr. Morelli, we would like to make sure that Mr. Christian is not a suspect.)

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Comments

  1. Peter,
    Really a superb piece until you got to the Morelli part. I know you are mad right now. As a Broncos fan I know what it’s like to have your dreams crushed(my team usually waited until the Super Bowl). Please look at this from a different angle. Had Brett Favre not made the dumbest throw since he pissed away the last championship game he played in and the Vikings would have won I believe Saints fans would also be throwing Morelli under the bus.

    I believe that the Saints have intentionally put big hits on QBs in their last two games. However, it appeared to me that the officials went out of their way to protect Favre. The disparity between penalties called was huge in this game. As you said before, the Vikings have only themselves and their horrendous turnovers to blame this loss on.

    I hate when people nitpick about play calling as in most cases it’s about execution. However, I believe Chilly/Bevell made a huge mistake not throwing on 2nd down in the Vikes last possession. Throw there when no one knows what you are going to do. If it’s incomplete, run on 3rd down and let the clock go all the way down to :02 then send the FG team onto the field. Everyone in the building knew Favre was throwing on 3rd down. And if it was incomplete(or worse) there’s still time on the clock for NO. That of course was just one of many, many, many mistakes from MN. Plenty of blame to pass around… but the officials were the least of MN’s problems tonight.

  2. Peter Christian says

    Mr. L,

    You are right, I am mad. And in no way do I blame the loss on Morelli. However as a consistent basher of NFL officials (because they’re incompetent, not because they’re biased) I must point out how absolutely crucial it is for them to get calls right in overtime. If the NFL is going to continue to use an OT system that can end after only one possession they have to be putting guys out there who know the rules. If that possession hinges on a guy getting 10 inches for a 1st down, calling a penalty on a throw that no one on the field could have caught or a guy getting a little turf bounce to help him hold onto the ball, what good is having that system in place.

    I know mistakes will happen, penalties will be missed and at other times called incorrectly, but when it comes to things that you can look at to make sure you got right, don’t stand by the calls when they aren’t right. More than 30% of American homes have HD TV’s now and if those viewers can see the replays clear as day at home, and the officials still mess them up, we need a new system to deem NFL officials game ready.

  3. Still not confident in saying a Favre scramble would have set up a chip shot for Longwell… Remember Favre was playing on one leg and he is 40 years old and runs slower than Jody Davis… yes, it was a dumb, dumb, dumb pass… but still not sure he would have picked up more than the 5 yards lost on the penalty which still would have left Longwell with a 50 yard FG…

  4. Yeah, but a 50 yarder in a dome is possible. anyways, I didn’t even notice how long this was. it was so gripping and I read every word so quickly. it flows complelingly so I didn’t even notice the length.

    I agree with L that the Saints were equally jobbed on an equal number of calls in regulation, the officiating was bad for both sides. Of course, last year was such a TRAVESTY as the most important play in the super bowl was a horribly botched call, summating an entire season of shitty calls.

  5. wow, some of these comments are like 1,300 1400 words in themselevs. I guess we can save the Morelli thing for the callouts, or maybe he’ll get his own callout.
    I know this is tough for you Pete- I’m glad I can give you a vehicle to bare your soul. venting is the most important part of the healing process.

    trust me I know, plenty of people close to me have been good enough to lsiten as I’ve ranted this month about one life-changing biyatch and her deceitful ways. that is passing, this too shall pass

  6. Peter Christian says

    I just ate a bowl of ice cream for breakfast… depression has hit. Damn you, Kubler-Ross model, you read me like a book.

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