What is it that youíve been waiting for? I used to think that it would be the Vikings first Super Bowl title ... but it had conditions. I used to think that the team had to be an overwhelming favorite ... a team that couldnít possibly lose. Why? It was because there was no way that I could endure another Super Bowl loss. Since January of 1977 Ö it has been that same reoccurring thought ... time and again. We canít afford to think that way anymore.
How many teams have gone to big game knowing that they were going to the Super Bowl to lose the game? In 1999 (season) it was the Rams, in 2000 it was the Buc's, in 2009 the Saints and soon it will soon be the Texans turn. In every major big league contest there has to be a loser. Since January of 1977, we have refused to be that franchise. No more.
So how painful is it? The first Steelerís Super Bowl Title occurred in their 1974 season; Super Bowl IX (9). 47 from 9 is allot of years. In fact that was six (6) Pittsburgh Steelerís Super Bowl Titles ago. How many teams since that January 1977 day have won their first Super Bowl title for their franchise? How many dynasties have we endured since then (Patriotís, 49erís, Cowboyís)? Does this really compare to a fifth Super Bowl loss. Really ... what's the difference between 4 and 5 losses? Does that even compare to the possibility of nailing down this franchises 1st Super Bowl title? In my eyes ... there is no comparison.
In Super Bowl XI (11), our last, the game pitted two storied franchises against each other, neither of which had won their first Super Bowl title. At the time, the Oakland Raiders were the winning-est franchise of the modern era, which technically began upon the birth of the old AFL (American Football League), and was reinforced by the 1966 season of what is now known as Super Bowl I. Again, both teams were entering that contest Ö both willing to lose the contest for the chance of hoisting their first Lombardi Trophy and moving from their snake bitten past.
That last Super Bowl became the culmination of four (4) great teams, that we faced, the later three (3) of which had dominate run games. At the time, our defense thrived with a lead and was devastating against a one dimensional offense that had to rely of the pass to get back into the contest. In two of those contests, we even had early opportunities, offensive shots at or near the goal line ... snuffed out by fumbles that would have certainly put us in a favorable position Ö it didnít happen. How many of you can remember that great Kansas City defense that we faced that had a Minnesota Viking Hall of Fame draft pick that was lost in an AFL/NFL draft war? It is still kind of painful, imagining what might have been, had that Hall of Fame defender been a part of that great Viking 69 defense.
Maybe the most compelling of all of these Super Bowl contests, or the one that will never leave me, was that first Buffalo Billís Super Bowl loss ... the one that resulted in four (4) consecutive Super Bowl losses for that Billís franchise. Clearly, Bill Parcells squad was over matched. At the time, they were facing an offensive machine. Sure the Giantís had Lawrence Taylor, and a great defense, but that Giantís team was no match to the striking power of Jim Kellyís squad. The Giantís also were facing a sordid history, relying on only one (1) 50ís championship in many many 50ís championship failures. Why was the particular contest so compelling? It was because the Giantís where clearly willing to lose this contest to a superior ball club for the chance at changing the direction of their franchise Ö just like the city of Houston is desperately trying to do today? On that day, the Giant's franchise ace in the hole was a ball controlling dominate run game led by Otis Anderson. So what are the similarities here? Are they numerous? Are they compelling?
I remember, thinking to myself before that infamous kick, which way do I throw my allegiance? Iím thinking to myself, if the Billís kicker misses this kick, the clear dominant franchises loses. Maybe I was thinking payback for other dominant teams that sank our ship? The Giantís, at the end ... dominated, by a quick strike force Ö facing an overwhelming thought of being silenced by a kicker in the gameís final moments, facing another devastating championship loss, facing one more compelling cog rammed into the moniker of an infamous sordid franchise ... laced with numerous Hall of Fame members that did not generate that 50ís dynasty, and all I could think of, in those short moments, was to destroy that dayís dominate teams chance. Yes, I admit that I begged the godís ... for that missed field goal, with a stipulation Ö that if the Giantís won that game Ö that it was with the stigma that they really didnít win that Super Bowl.
Of course ... in that very moment ... as it turns out ... I'd be wrong about the result. Now, I suffer only regret as that Bill's team was most certainly a special squad ... maybe lost to white-washed history. The Bill's went onto joining our Minnesota Vikingís franchise, and the Denver Broncoís as the 3rd franchise to lose four (4) Super Bowl titles. The Giantís got the chance to whitewash that sordid history ... and they leaped at the opportunity. They turned that certain Super Bowl loss into three (3) Super Bowl titles. Why? It is because Bill Parcells understood that to win the lottery you have to play to win. He cast that franchises lot into history ... being willing to lose the game. All because he knew that to win ... you had to be there at the end ... like holding onto a marginal hand of poker ... at the end, because you never know what hand your foe will draw in the end. That's the moment of destiny.
Although the Broncoís earned their shot by filleting Favreís 97 crew, it was a simple statement that sank the Viking's 98 franchise from its destiny, "No modern day era (Hall of Fame) quarterback, has retired (or left the game) on top". It was akin to the Lambeau Leap. History now indicates something quite different as Elwayís 98 squad has now achieved it's answer to that moniker. So what will be the moniker of the 2012 season and who will get to write that history?
So where does our destiny lie? It might lie within the final play of our first playoff contest versus the Cardinals of that same 98 season. Hall of Fame John Randle, in a desperate attempt to get to the quarterback collided with another Viking to severely injure his knee ... a sign of many injuries and fallen Vikings to come. Because of that injury, in the championship game the following week, his effectiveness was quickly reduced to having to play on one leg. Many of his fellow Vikings would also need to tap out on that day. Why? Itís because itís not the image of who you are about to face that we must consider. It is always when you get to face them. It's allot like that 6th seeded Pittsburgh franchise that had to win in Minnesota to even be able to make the playoffs that year. What followed was not a hot run, but a scorching run. Could that happen to someone else ... in that final hand? It would be nice to be there at the end to see ... wouldn't it?
Could tomorrows contest versus the Texanís be a prelude to Super Bowl XLVII, where both teams are both desperate and willing to lose on the NFL's greatest stage to change how history perceives their respective franchises? Again, there are many great AFC teams coming out of this 2012 season, but the NFC Champion only has to face one. Will that AFC team be depleted, or better yet ... unable to contend with a dominate running game? Could tomorrow simulate the destiny of the first Giantís versus Patriotís Super Bowls regular season tilt Ö which now lies within infamy? Unfortunately, we cannot lose like the Giants did that year to find out. We have to win like that 6th seeded Steeler's squad ... and keep winning.
What does this have to do with our owners attempt at projecting this 2012 playoff opening ... that now stares us in the face ... toward some future season? Can this crew of mostly unknown misfits alter these overwhelming odds, playing not only some other team, but the zebra's ... and maybe even the intended direction of your own franchise? Is the door open enough? As for me, buying into some future promise, only to see it yanked from under me once again, is no longer acceptable. It always must be my best now. The answer lies within FEVERED MOMENTUM! The Texan's are well aware of the Achilles. It is overwhelming.
The Texan's are playoff bound. It is set in stone. Their focus should be on February 3rd, 2013 ... not December 23, 2012. They have two weekends to secure home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Tomorrow, the question will be, will they be willing to risk February 3rd, 2013 to nail it down tomorrow. Playing the odds, their choices are to shore it up versus Andrew Luck's finesse offense or risk it all versus the Vikings Power game. Which would you chose? What is the smart play? We'll see the answer to that question tomorrow.
Take heart my past Viking greats. It's was never the team. It has always been the hand.
The Viking Ghost Writer
Date: December 22,2012