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It Was 25 Years ago Today.......

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.....When I sat down to watch the UK's weekly NFL TV show. Now I had been a fan of the sport for about a year but I still didn't support any individual team. Anyway the featured game in this particular week was the Vikings at the Redskins, which had actually taken place the week before but we only got a highlights package of the games a week after. The game certainly didn't lack offence, over 1000 yards between the two teams and as the game went into overtime tied 38 - 38 I found myself cheering for the team in purple. I still can't put my finger on exactly why I picked the Vikes, maybe the back and forth nature of the game coupled with a few exciting big plays drew me towards them, maybe it was the cool helmets, I don't honestly know why but I wanted them to win... And then they lost, which is something I've gotten used to now but more about that later. Despite the loss I thought I might as well stick with them, and so I now had "a team".

Living in the UK and supporting the Vikings in the 80's was tough in a lot of ways. Like I said earlier the TV coverage was one hour a week of last weeks games, the only game that was live was the Superbowl itself so the chances of seeing your favorite team play was pretty limited. US forces radio was an option but the reception was ropey and you were stuck with whatever game they decided to broadcast. I normally got the scores from teletext on the TV on a Monday morning before I want to school. The other thing that was impossible to get was Vikes jerseys or memorabilia, there was some stuff available but it was limited to teams like Cowboys, 49ers, Giants, Raiders and maybe a few others. In fact I remember buying a (whispers it) Bengals jersey at one point, well it was better than nothing! Moving forward to the present day, UK television shows up to 5 live games a week, and any games not on TV can be picked up on the internet meaning I can watch the Vikings every week. It's just a pity the early kick-off games coincide with my kids dinner/bath/bed time routine, ah well you cant have everything. Online is also the place to pick up all the Vikes gear imaginable, so no more Bengals jerseys for me.

Looking back the four lost NFC championship games stick out as being defining moments of being a fan to me. US forces radio broadcast the first one in 87, despite the loss and coming pretty close to forcing OT having only been a fan for a year I thought we'll be back and we will prevail. Which moves us on to 1998, I still get a faraway look in my eyes when i try to comprehend what happened that night. I'm still devasted when I think of Cris Carter walking off at the end, if one player deserved to play in the big one it was him. However I don't think it was a definite that we would have won against the Broncos who weren't exactly a bad team. The 41-0 debacle to me was easier to take than the other three, yes it's horrific not to turn up in such a big game but when you lose like that there's no thinking "if only..." which leads us onto that fateful day in New Orleans. This for me was the worst of the lot to take, for so many reasons. I still think Williams sent his defense out to hit Favre at any cost, OK you want to pressure the QB but some of the hits were so late, they were almost in the locker room. Yet the worse part was we threw it away with our inability to hold onto the football, the Saint's were there for the taking and we just couldn't follow through. The dumb penalty, taking us out of FG range, THAT interception, even the game winning drive by them had so many things that could have went the other way, it was just a horror show.

So what happens now? The main thing for me right now is the Vikings stay in Minnesota which may sound funny for someone who has never set foot in the state. It's just in my European mindset that it's wrong to move sports teams around, so hopefully the new stadium gets sorted out soon. Back to onfield matters, I think we're in a tough place right now. I hate to say it but Green Bay could dominate the division for a long time, any successful team needs a good QB, they may have the best in the league and he's still young. When you see where the Bears and the Lions are at too the NFC North is one of the toughest divisions in the NFL. Looking on a more positive note Ponder could be the franchise guy this team has needed for so long, obviously it's too early to say but first signs are definitely promising. One things for sure by the end of the year he'll be in better placed for next year than he would have been sitting watching McNabb.

So any regrets for choosing the team in purple and gold? Well i also support the Scottish soccer team so I'm used to not winning things. The difference is with the way the NFL is set up, I always used to believe that one day I would see the Vikings win a Superbowl, now I no longer believe it's sure to happen. Don't get me wrong I still hope it will and I'll never give up on supporting the team but I just don't see it as a given anymore. I think the last of those four NFCC games knocked the belief right out of me.

But I'm going to finish where it all began for me, i searched for Vikings Redskins 1986 and look what I found................

.........and there's another 12 to follow!

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  1. Traveling_Vike's Avatar
    Very nice read. Thanks for posting this.
  2. ConnecticutViking's Avatar
    I can also tell you exactly when I became a Viking fan. Growing up in Connecticut, some people were Giants fans, Some Patriots, others Jets. Usually boys picked there favorite team because of their father. My father gambled on football, so his favorite team was basically the ones he bet week to week. I learned vocabulary like teaser, spread, line, under and over. Needless to say, football was on the TV every weekend. There was one game in particular that comes to mind. The 1977 Mud Bowl. Vikings vs. Rams. It was played in a complete mud pit, and as a 9 year old, I thought it was just awesome.

    Updated 11-11-2011 at 05:49 PM by ConnecticutViking
  3. AngloVike's Avatar
    That brings back memories, Sunday afternoon never came round quick enough and it gave the chance to catch up on the scores that had not been included in the newpapers earlier in the week. Best part was trying to listen to a game on the AFN with the coming and going and always at the worst times in terms of plays.
    As you say we are far better served in the UK and almost take it for granted that games will be on TV or that we can stream them if needed. So much has changed in the near 30 years that I've been following the sport and yet I still get that tingle of anticipation when a game is about to kick off.
    Happy days indeed
  4. shockzilla's Avatar
    Awesome read, ScottishVike - loved the clip you pulled out!
  5. Reignman's Avatar
    It's always interesting to hear how non Minnesotans become Viking fans. I remember that Redskins game. Kramer had 490yds passing. I thought Leo Lewis was the most electric player in the league after that game. Very exciting despite the loss. Nelson dropping an easy swing pass on the 2nd play of the game lol. I guess Nelson was good at dropping passes at RFK xD.

    I first took notice of the Vikings in '84 (yes the Steckle year) and I'm surprised it didn't end there. 1985 was the first year I officially sat down and started watching every game start to finish. I remember the opener vs the defending Champion 49ers at the dome. They beat us the previous year 51-7 or something, but this time we upset them 28-21 after a 4th Q shootout. Browner recovered 3 fumbles and became my favorite player. Later that year we came back from a 23-0 deficit with less than 9 min to go in Philly and won 28-23. Still the most amazing comeback I've ever seen.

    Yeah despite the 7-9 record I got hooked that year. Jim McMahon lighting up our secondary in the 3rd Q of a Monday night heart breaker. Nelson getting stuffed at the goal line in 13-10 loss in Los Angeles vs the Rams on 4th down (Grant decided to go for the win instead of a tie). Stenerud missing a PAT in 14-13 loss at the end of a game in Atlanta. Just to name a few of my first painful Viking memories. I think they were foreshadows of things to come lol. Win or lose, there were many dramatic finishes that year.
  6. Marrdro's Avatar
    Reignman - just moved up to the top of every spreadsheet cause of the Joey Browner comment.
  7. Dfoster's Avatar
    So you don't become a Vikings fan by drinking way too much, coupled with ingesting big-time illicit substances, living with mom and dad / possibly grandparents ( 'cause the folks are incarcerated) and hanging out in the garage with good beer/ no life on gameday?

    No truth to the concept that even amongst the absolutely most passionate fans that there has been a major, big-league bail-out, including places like PPO going from close to 10,000 contributors with Lord Favre around to less than about a hundred now, evidencing no real true loyalty to the Vikes?

    Apparently I'm getting some extraordinarily very bad info.

    Updated 11-29-2011 at 03:57 PM by Dfoster
  8. Dfoster's Avatar
    for those that could not hang with their team...

    Cricket Chirping - YouTube

    Smack aside, it was a good story
    Updated 11-29-2011 at 04:20 PM by Dfoster
  9. Reignman's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Marrdro
    Reignman - just moved up to the top of every spreadsheet cause of the Joey Browner comment.
    Excellent The guy was amazing though. I remember he picked up some Cowboy receiver by the belt with 1 hand during a thanksgiving game and threw him out of the endzone after he scored a TD. And of course who can forget the out of no where 1 hand tackle from behind he made on the Broncos Gerald Willhite? Shattered the guys leg and essentially ended his career. He would've been called for a horse collar in todays wussified NFL. What's wrong with snapping shin bones? xD

    Quote Originally Posted by Dfoster
    No truth to the concept that even amongst the absolutely most passionate fans that there has been a major, big-league bail-out, including places like PPO going from close to 10,000 contributors with Lord Favre around to less than about a hundred now, evidencing no real true loyalty to the Vikes?
    Like Wisconsin women, that bandwagon is starting to look a little bloated over there. Many of those 10k contributors were Packer fans jumping ship to follow their beloved Favre. Even my Packer loving brother bought a Favre Viking jersey and suddenly became a fan of purple. Now that Lord Favre is gone they're all back on the cheese wagon.

    Incidentally, I hope you and the other ego errr cheese heads remember to say your prayers every night because all it takes is 1 injury to the right player to render your dynasty the team with the #1 draft pick ... am I right Colt fans? I'm sure that would lighten the load of dat der bandwagon in a hurry lol.