Monday, January 25, 2010

Sports Heartbreak

So here we are again. The day after another conference champion loss. This is the third one in my 20 years of being a Vikings fan. They do get easier. This one was easier, anyway. Or maybe the shock of being so close to the Super Bowl hasn't worn off yet. I don't know. I still remember the heartache 1998 like it was yesterday. I watched the game by myself in my parents basement in Illinois. I could hardly believe what I watched. That was a home game that they should have won. This, while in some ways similar, was not that. Not at all.

A few people tweeted last night that the Vikings did not deserve to even get to the overtime. I don't disagree because of how sloppy they played, but New Orleans kept the Vikings in the game. Way too long. The Saints extreme failure to convert on third downs, coupled with an inability to capitalize on the Vikings turnovers.

I'll tell you the truth, when they got inside field goal range with less than 2 minutes to play, I started getting a little teary. I thought I was going to finally get to see this team go to a superbowl. Should've known better. It's not over till it's over.

Could've. Would've. Should've. I saw the Favre "I told you so's" right away on Twitter last night after the game was over. We don't really need to collectively go there as Vikings fans, and we're being really disingenuous if we do. Just about everybody in Vikings nation bought into the notion of Favre as the guy who could get us there, and if you say you didn't now that it's over, and you're any kind of Vikings fan, you're a fucking liar. We can armchair QB this thing all day, it's not going to change that we got beat.

The thing is, Favre didn't lose that game by himself. Turnovers lost that game, a couple of fumbles by the guy we used to call Purple Jesus, but maybe some fumble oriented name would be a better fit now. He's got a rep worse than Tiki Barber at his worst now and he'll need to work on that. Elite backs don't fumble the ball at pivotal times like that. The D stoppped New Orleans, but seemingly couldn't when they needed to. Brees did not look like the top caliber QB that he was for most of the season.

I'm thankful that it was a heck of a game and that the Vikings were in the game the whole time. 41-0 was a fucking nightmare for me, nearly 10 years ago, and this was a LOT better than that. I saw Dan Barreiro of KFAN rank this second after 98, but I don't agree. It's at least third for me, at least in my lifetime, and for all time Vikings big game losses, it's probably lower than that. (the 70s are a whole other ballgame of disappointment).

And as for Favre, I really hope the guy commits to retirement and the Vikings move on. Bringing him back for another season isn't going to do anybody any good. He was visibly tired and the Saints abused him last night. I'd hate to see the guy end his career with a bad injury. Maybe the INT was just the way he was meant to end his career. I will be upset if he yanks us around for another off-season. But I'm also prepared for that to happen. It is Brett Favre after all.

And hey, at least we don't have to suffer a manhandling from the Colts in the Superbowl now. Not much of a bright side, but the Vikings would have been seriously mismatched against them if they had made it. That would have been a tough game to not get blown out of.

And to all of you in the national scene, you're welcome. You don't have to hear about Brett Favre anymore. At least for a couple of weeks, anyway.