Opinion corner: Purple history actually pretty solidGiven that we are at Super Bowl time, it seems like an appropriate opportunity to reflect upon a debate point that often gets brought up in the feud between Vikings and Packers fans.
By: Casey Johnson For The Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Given that we are at Super Bowl time, it seems like an appropriate opportunity to reflect upon a debate point that often gets brought up in the feud between Vikings and Packers fans.
It seems that there comes a point in every argument between Vikings and Packers fans where a Packers fan will always reply with, “Oh yeah, how many Super Bowls does your team have again?”
Not that it’s our fault as fans because we aren’t the ones playing, but it still cuts to the bone to have that statistic held over our heads. It’s the ultimate trump card! No matter how good the Vikings are, no matter if they have a season better than the Packers, unless the Vikings finally win the Super Bowl, Packers fans will always have that sad and pathetic card to play.
And by sad and pathetic, I mean, of course, that it’s sad and pathetic that Vikings haven’t ever won the Super Bowl, despite the fact that they’ve been one of the most consistent winners in the NFL during the regular season. According to one fairly reputable source (we all know the website), the Vikings have the sixth-most wins in the NFL since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. They also have the fourth-most division titles (16) and the third-most playoff berths (25) in the league. They’ve even made it to the Super Bowl three times since the merger (also lost in the Super Bowl the season before the merger).
And unlike Green Bay, Minnesota never went through a prolonged drought of horrendous, eye-bleedingly bad football (just 2 playoff appearances for the Packers between 1970-1992). In fact, I think that might be the origin of why so many Packers fans wear camouflage to their games. It just became the norm because, during that period of time, the fans were actually hoping that no one could see and identify them as a Packers supporter. But I digress, because for all of that, Minnesota, like 13 other NFL teams, still doesn’t have a Super Bowl victory to show for it. And therein lies the ultimate trump card.
In any event, this seems like a reasonable time to reflect back on Minnesota’s Super Bowl despair, regardless of how much it hurts. Maybe it’s like the saying, if we don’t remember our past, we’re condemned to repeat it (or some variation of that). Maybe if we can openly discuss these terrible disappointments, we can start to move past them and forgive our team for being ringless. Maybe if we wallow in the misery of our defeats, our future Super Bowl victory will be that much more rewarding.
Maybe … ehh … you know what, forget it. I’m just being masochistic, and I think “our” Super Bowl struggles are an interesting topic to study.
Let the history lesson begin.
Between the 1969-1976 seasons, the Vikings were truly one of the most dominant teams in the NFL. During those eight seasons, the Vikings had a combined record of 87-24-1 and played in the Super Bowl four times.
In 1969, Minnesota won 12 straight games and finished the season with a 12-2 record. But although they were heavy favorites to win Super Bowl IV against Kansas City, the Vikings were dismantled by the Chiefs 23-7. Minnesota’s next three Super Bowl appearances were equally as disappointing.
In 1973, the Vikings (12-2) fell to the Miami Dolphins 24-7 in Super Bowl VIII. Minnesota (10-4) would then lose in the Super Bowl the following year to the Pittsburgh Steelers 16-6 and again in Super Bowl XI to the Oakland Raiders 32-14, despite having an 11-2-1 record during the 1976 regular season.
Let’s face it; Minnesota’s Super Bowl struggles essentially made them the Buffalo Bills before the Buffalo Bills. And those butt-whoopings on the grandest of all NFL stages are probably part of the reason that Vikings fans never get their hopes up. It’s also safe to argue that the 1998 debacle is also a big part of our constant trepidation and low expectations when it comes to succeeding.
On Sunday, another Super Bowl will be played without the Vikings earning the Lombardi Trophy. Either the 49ers or the Ravens will be crowned champions, and for all of time, that team and their fans will be able to bask in the glory of that ultimate accomplishment. Even if they bite for the next 20 years, they will always be able to think back to that time that they won Super Bowl XLVII. Case in point, Bears fans still do it, and they haven’t won the Super Bowl since 1986.
I want that! All Vikings fans want that. We want that one Super Bowl victory so that Packers fans can be quiet, and we can forever dwell on the one time that we won the Super Bowl. We want that ring so that we can bug the heck out of our kids for years with tales of that great Vikings team that managed to win the Super Bowl. We want that victory so that, for the rest of our lives, we can live in the past and revel in that one glorious achievement.
And that’s one of the greatest parts about sports. There’s always next year, and even though it might be small, there’s always a flickering hope that the next season could bring a reversal of past fortunes and a possible Super Bowl victory. Again, it’s a very small, miniscule hope, roughly equivalent to the amount of body fat that Adrian Peterson has or the amount of emotion that Leslie Frazier shows or the likelihood that Joe Webb can throw an accurate pass, but it’s there.
Someday we’ll get that Super Bowl win, and for the time being, at least Vikings fans can take solace in the fact that we have been fortunate enough to cheer for a team that has consistently won and been relevant throughout the history of the franchise.
I mean, it could always be worse. We could be Lions fans.
Casey Johnson is a frequent contributor to the Opinion Corner