The Uninvited Guest!
Much has been broadcast and written about that 98 NFC Championship loss to the Atlanta Falcons. About a kicker that hadn't missed a field goal or an extra point throughout the entire season followed by the goat that missed a clutch kick that would of sealed a trip to the Super Bowl, but in my mind, nothing could be further from the truth.
You see ... there is no way that this franchise will ever return to the big game where we lose that game.
The Minnesota Vikings were the first team to lose four Super Bowls. This distinction was followed by the Denver Bronco's and then later by the Buffalo Bills. In 97, the Bronco's were the first to get off the snide. In 98, it could have been the Vikings year to finally win the big game ... but of course 98' became the swan song for Elway. There were dues that had to be paid ... there would be other days for the Vikings. You might remember Moss was "Rookie of the Year" in 1998, just like Sammy White in 1976. Perspective identified it as Elway's last attempt at history where the die had to be cast for the Bronco's ... we on the other hand, were conflicted because we couldn't lose this game ... We became the uninvited guest! The Minnesota Vikings have a long and distinguished list of ... there'd be other days ... and it begins with Super Bowl IV ... an NFL Championship in return for a league unifying Lombardi Trophy ... the origin of the curse.
We have paid our dues!
Prior to that kick of 98, there was a drive. On that drive there were way to many anomalies. Why did we consistently choose to stop the clock. Robert Smith would tear off several solid runs ... ending them by going out of bounds ... a wicked place where prior injuries occurred. It didn't make sense. We were up by seven. On just about any of those plays, if Robert had just dropped and stayed in bounds, the clock would have run, and there would not have been sufficient time left over for the Falcon's to be able to tie the score. Could you say that Dennis Green and his crew were not too bright for once again botching their clock management? Is there blame to be assigned? The answer is No! We were uninvited guests.
So how does this tie into this 2007 team? To answer that, we need to look at some history and the consequences of fate.
It was Buffalo's first Super Bowl (XXV). At the time, the Buffalo Bill's were a juggernaut and no NFC team wanted to face them in the worlds largest fish bowl. If they said they did, they were full of crap. What the Bill's faced that day was Bill Parcel's and his vaunted ball control offense of smash mouth football featuring pounding the rock that went tick ... tick ... tick. The Bill's were much like today's Patriot's team ... less of course Tom Brady and a history of Super Bowl Championships ... the Bill's could strike at any moment. As expected, in the end, the Bill's did strike, and the New York Giants were more than just on the ropes. They were meat. Today, the Giant's should be known as losers. This game was lost by inches on a kick. There is no way that the Giant's should of won that game ... but because Parcel's and his crew rolled the die ... the rest is now apart of Super Bowl history. The Bill's didn't lose that day ... they just ran out of time ... with just a few more seconds, there would be no need for a kick.
Once again, no one wants to face the Boston Patriot's. Yes, I said Boston as they originally represented a city not a region, very much unlike the foundation of the Minnesota Vikings and its history. They're still trying to re-write history ... the cheating scum. The difference is that the beaner's won't be at the big game ... which no one expects ... which will end up being the true cost of spy gate ... where the elite of the AFC will exact this pound of flesh, "Representing-the-Players" ... all to make up for our commissioners little gaff. This cheatin' beaner team, in all its foolishness, is now on track to be labeled for all time. Their fate is written due to the weight of this unavoidable label, "The only team to go perfect during the season and not win a Super Bowl". Gary, I hope this helps to ease your pain.
The 2007 Minnesota Vikings is as about as far or as distant from any prior Viking team in our history. No parallels can be drawn. They are a bunch of fresh faced kids combined with key seasoned professionals. Bud Grant almost never played rookies, and was not tolerant of young players that made mistakes ... today we are reliant upon them and we've learned patients.
Once again we are going to be asked to step aside for legend. Once again, we will be told your team is young ... there will be other days. Our response this time should be ... wasn't losing our last six divisional contests enough ... isn't just about every NFL quarter back record enough ... wasn't two Super Bowl appearances enough.
Our destiny lie's within Beserker Fury and Beserker Rage.
If last nights game versus the Chicago Bears teaches us anything, it is to know and to reinforce what it feels like to be the hunted ... the key instrument of destruction. It is truly an uneasy place ... I paced the floor all night ... until that final tick. We've been in the hunted role since the Chargers game ... a solid foundation to utilize in our playoff run. The only anomaly was versus the Packers ... as we were the hunters in that game ... now the lesson has been learned.
In each of the tournament contests we will be the dog ... we will also be the hunters. They monkey will be on their backs ... not ours. Each chance ... each risk ... will be drawn from the quiver ... often ... the arrows slung at the goliaths ... there will be little to lose.
We will not forget. Today, we are the story.
There is little that can be lost upon casting the die. The Viking Nation has paid it's dues.
It's because we've paid our dues.
There is no other way. We must feel and experience what it is to be the hunted ... a baptism of fire, if you will ... before we can understand and execute the role of the hunter.
The time is now!
The Viking Ghost