Look Wendy...I can fly!
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Phil lives in Bismarck with his wife, Dawn. They have three grown children, Katie, Kayla, and Dillon. And solar flares. And one grossly obese cat. Phil enjoys fishing, tennis, and sunsets. And solar flares.
The last time my team appeared in a Super Bowl was the last time the game was played during daylight hours. It was an era when quarterbacks weren't treated like the Spotted Owl, players salaries were less than the President of the United States, and participants didn't feel the need to stage a Broadway production every time they did their job on the field. The halftime entertainment was a tribute to Disney's "It's a Small World", and the wardrobes functioned perfectly. Unfortunately, my team didn't.
The Minnesota Vikings took the field on January 9th, 1977, in their fourth try for the Lombardi Trophy. They would face the Oakland Raiders, led by John Madden; a man who would become famous for his generous use of the word "boom" and eventually retire off the proceeds from a video game bearing his name. The Viking ship was steered by Bud Grant, who would spend his post-football years putting a dent in the fish and duck population of North America.
My hopes were raised early, as Fred McNeill blocked a Ray Guy punt in the first quarter, giving the Vikings the ball on the Raider three-yard line. "This is it!", I thought. My Purple People Eaters would take their first Super Bowl lead and finally remove that monkey from their back. But as only the Vikings can do, Brent McClanahan would fumble the ball, the Raiders would recover, and the rest of the day was a depressing parade of Viking bloopers and blunders. Oh, and the Raiders played a pretty good game. Until then, we'd cry "wait til next year", but the Purple People Eaters were becoming the Purple and Gray People Eaters, and they would never return.
There have been close calls since, with multiple visits the NFC Championship game. 1987 saw Darrin Nelson drop a pass in the final seconds that would have sent the game against the Redskins into overtime. 1998, when...let's just say "wide to the left". 2000: 41-donut to the Giants. The Brett Favre Revival Tour of 2009, which ended in New Orleans. Despite dominating the game statistically, the Purple fumbled and bumbled at crucial times and watched the Saints go on to grab the trophy.
So, I'll watch two teams of which I have no emotional attachment battle it out again this Sunday. I love football, so I'll watch, and root for whoever is losing at any given time. I'll eat too much, complain about officiating, and marvel at the never ending string of talking animal commercials.
When the game is over and Roger Goodell hands the winning team that shiny trophy, I'll dream of the day that my Vikings are the ones receiving the Lombardi. And say a prayer that I'm still alive to see it.