I scared the shit out of my kids. They had already been subjected to three hours of me clapping and yelling and screaming at the TV, bearing witness to an utterly deranged side of their father that they almost certainly would have preferred to never learn about. I sat. I stood. I paced. No position felt comfortable. We were in the same basement where I watched Blair Walsh shank a 27-yarder against Seattle, a game that made me literally collapse to the ground in agony at the end. Now the Vikings were on the verge of blowing a 17-point lead to Drew Brees for another awful home playoff loss. Their final drive began with a false start and I was like AW FUCK HERE WE FUCKING GO AGAIN, ANOTHER STEAMING PLATE OF DOGSHIT.
My eight-year-old looked me dead in the eye and told me, with all seriousness, that I needed to calm down. But I couldn’t. Now there were 10 seconds left on the clock and I was standing there, palms together, praying for the kind of football miracle that never, ever happens for the Minnesota Vikings.
And then, it did. I still can’t believe it. I fully expected to wake up this morning to learn that the NFL retroactively called holding on Stefon Diggs’s game-winning 61-yard catch and run, because that’s a much more Vikings thing to happen. But no…no, apparently what I saw was real. I was just hoping Case Keenum could hit a long sideline pass so I’d have the privilege of getting my guts torn out by a kicker all over again. Then he found Diggs at the 34-yard line, and I thought Diggs was just gonna hop out of bounds to stop the clock. But with two Saints defenders dropping like bowling pins, Diggs found himself free and fabulously unobligated to be cautious. For a split second, I was like, “What is he doing?!” but that fear vanished the moment I realized no one was going to catch Diggs. No one. Listen to the crowd as they, as I did, quickly go from “Hey, they might have a chance to win this” to “HOLY FUCK THEY ARE WINNING THIS RIGHT NOW!!!”
Play that video at my fucking funeral. Maybe the Vikings will eat shit against the Eagles, or perhaps play in a hometown Super Bowl only to be vaporized by the Pats death star. Whatever man, I still have THIS. I just watched the play again for the 90th time and it still makes my face explode in a haphazard jag of tears and laughter. It’s like someone drilled a hole in my head and poured in a vat of Christmas-spiked heroin. I have no control over it. It’s the BEST. I enjoy being crazy. It’s liberating.
When the play happened, I screamed out OH MY GOD on repeat and dropped to the ground like I had just won Wimbledon. My asshole dog started barking at me because he thought I was angry. My daughter, who would NOT stop peppering me with irritating questions all game long, asked me, “Did they win?” Yeah, they won. My other kids just stared at me and laughed because I looked like an imbecile. I regret nothing. I made every incredulous fan pose, including:
- Grabbing my own hair
- Placing my hands over my tear-soaked eyes
- Interlocking my hands BEHIND my head and exhaling sharply
- White guy fist pump
- Unimpressive vertical jumping
- Running around in a very small circle crying out YESSSSSSSS
- Bad dancing
I did it all. Again, this never happens to the Vikings. Like other NFL never-haves, the Vikings tend to have historic shit happen TO them and not FOR them. They are often the purple canvas upon which other teams find their dreams rendered real and immortal. BUT NOT THIS TIME, MOTHERFUCKER. This time my team finally got a miracle to call its own. I don’t know if that’s worth sitting through 30-plus years of Denny taking a knee, and Nate Poole, and Antonio Freeman walking off with a TD catch of his own, and Blair, and 12 men on the field, and every other god awful thing that’s happened to this idiot team. But it kinda feels like it. Look at this video, man. Look at how goddamn happy everyone is.
Sometimes sports have mercy. Sometimes sports pay you back. And I just hope that every Lions, Browns, Bengals, and Jets fan gets to have a little miracle of their own one day.
But not the Eagles. I hope the Vikings fuck the Eagles up.