Monday, December 20, 2010

The Ghosts Of Metropolitan Stadium

I must confess as an avid Eagles fan that I loved the Vikings growing up. Loved them. My grandmother used to work at Fleer's and she got these posters of every team that fleer printed and I loved that Vikings cardboard poster. Not cause I knew much about football at that time, but because I thought the horned helmut of the real Vikings was really cool. So I adopted them. I did. It just so happened that the Vikings were among the elite teams of the day and more importantly they played in snow. It seemed like a lot.

Metropolitan Stadium was in the 70's under Bud Grant's Vikings what Lambeau Field was in the 60's with Lombardi's Packers. It was that intimidating. And Fun as all hell to watch. Watching O.J. Simpson on a Saturday afternoon game against the "Purple People Eaters"? I shouldn't have to spell that out.

Merlin Olsen played on some great Rams teams in the 70's, and I believe til the day he died he advocated neutral and warm playing sites for both Championship Games. Want to know why? Because that talent laden Rams team withered and died in the snowy, arctic confines of Metropolitan Stadium. Sucks to be from Los Angeles and your season end in December in Minnesota, huh?

Fran Tarkenton was my hero as a kid. No lie. He was a miracle worker. Chuck Foreman? Who's he, you ask? His career has been lost in time to the likes of Roger Craig, but it was Chuck Foreman that pioneered the pass catching HB. Look up the stats if you like. The wideouts were Ahmad Rashad and later SAmmie White. The Tight End was an underrated Stu Voight. The Offensive Line was anchored by Ron Yary and included ED White.

Then There was the defense. Alan Page at DT, Carl Eller and Jim Marshall at DE. Bud Grant was a whiz with Special Teams. The Vikings were notorious for blocking any kind of kick. They are responsible for the only blocked punt in Ray Guy's career in Super Bowl XI, the only Viking highlight of the game.

Now there are concerns about the cold weather in the outdoors tonight because because the dome collapsed under the snow. Let me see if I've got this right: The nickname for the team was chosen from a legend that says the Vikings reached Minnesota in the 11th Century, having travelled all the way from Scandinavia and YOU ARE complaining about the weather? This is exactly why the Vikings have not been to the Super Bowl since they went indoors. Leif Ericsson is rolling over in his grave. A Generation and a half of Vikings fans have never been outdoors to watch their team. Wake up those echoes and stir the ghosts of "The Met". And while you're at it, just let the dome crumble and get back to you wintery roots.


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