Minnesota Sports: A Story of Destiny, Loss and Heartbreak

Matt LeirdahlContributor IIISeptember 23, 2011

20 Dec 1998: Kicker Gary Anderson #1 of the Minnesota Vikings with the help of Mitch Berger kicks his 35th consecutive field goal during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Jaguars 50-10.
Elsa/Getty Images

In the last decade, it seems that no other state has endured the heartbreaks Minnesota has.

Between the Gophers, the Vikings, the Twins and the Timberwolves, collectively, no one has had it worse. Between all the major sports teams in Minnesota, there are two championships in the last 50 years.

The last 15 years have been especially tough—and 1998 was no exception.

1998 was the Vikings' season. It was their Super Bowl. They were 15-1 with one of the best offenses in history.

Randall Cunningham throwing to Cris Carter, Randy Moss and Jake Reed? Come on!

The whole season came down to a field goal at the end of the NFC Championship Game; the whole season depended on Gary Anderson's right leg.

"And Anderson hasn't missed in two years," Pat Summerall said.

And he hadn't.

Who would have thought Anderson would miss?

Nobody, that's who.

The Falcons went on to the Super Bowl, and the Vikings stayed home.

And what Vikings fan could forget 2001? This time with Daunte Culpepper at the helm, the Vikings again made it to the NFC Championship Game.

They lost 41-0 to the New York Giants

2003? That's a laugher.

The Vikings got knocked out of the playoffs by Josh McCown and the Arizona Cardinals. All they had to do was beat one of the worst teams in the league.

Remember Paul Allen's famous call of that game?

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! And the Cardinals have knocked the Vikings out of the playoffs!"

2009 was a different story. A story of destiny.

No, not destiny for the Minnesota Vikings—for the New Orleans Saints. 2009 was Brett Favre's best year statistically, and it seemed as though everything had fallen into place. Wrong. 

The Vikings made it to the NFC Championship again for the third time in 11 years. The whole country was rooting for the New Orleans Saints except for poor, lonely Vikings fans.

It was destiny, alright: The Vikings put 12 men on the field, Favre threw an interception and the next thing Vikings fans knew, their hearts were torn from their chests—yet again.


According to Paul Allen, "This isn't Detroit man, this is the Super Bowl!" 

In 2010 expectations were high. Again.  

The Vikings let their fans down once more with an abysmal season and the midseason firing of coach Brad Childress. 2011 looks to be no better.  

I didn't even get to the lost Super Bowls in the 1970s, the Love Boat incident or the stadium issues and looming relocation. Not to mention their main rival, the Green Bay Packers, just won the Super Bowl.

Another time, maybe. 

The Timberwolves speak for themselves. Words cannot express the disappointment they generate. 

The Twins have always been one of the bright spots in Minnesota sports. They have actually won two World Series and have made almost annual appearances in the playoffs.

However, all roads lead to the New York Yankees, and the journey for the Minnesota Twins ends right there.

For some reason the Twins, as an organization, have decided they should lose as many games as they can to the Yankees—including the postseason.

2011 has been yet another devastating chapter in the sad Minnesota sports saga.

Things are not looking up, either. The Twins' star players are always hurt, and the pitching staff is weak. 

But there are always college sports.

Oh wait—no there's not.

The Gophers stink. The football program has been nothing short of a joke since athletic director Joel Maturi fired coach Glen Mason. 

The basketball program showed promise, but faltered at the end of last season. Coach Tubby Smith has the potential to actually turn things around, but he is fighting an uphill battle—his team is in Minnesota.

However, there are the Minnesota Lynx, far and above best team in the WNBA. Hopefully they can snap the streak for Minnesota sports, but I am not holding my breath.

After all, they are from Minnesota. 

Just as Minnesotans have adapted to the extreme weather conditions, they have learned to deal with the constant disappointments. Hopefully in the next few years Minnesota can find whatever cast its spell on the state's sports teams and break the curse.  


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