These are your Minnesota Vikings. Time is running out. Offer limited while supply lasts. This is not a sales gimmick. I make no money from writing this stuff at all. Read on if you dare, or just close your eyes, hang on to the bar, and scream your heart out.
I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it. - Evelyn Beatrice Hall, under the pseudonym Stephen G. Tallentyre in "Friends of Voltaire", 1906.
Ask not what number Voltaire wore or what position he played. He played for you. Sure, the above quote was easy for you to say, Evelyn. After all, Voltaire was dead for about 128 years when you made that line up for him, and even then you wrote the book under a fictitious name for yourself.
We should not be so harsh, though. The simple truth is actually a complicated thing. You had good reasons, Evelyn. I suppose Voltaire might have approved of it all. He certainly did not suffer by the publicity from your publication. Perhaps it truly captured what Voltaire should have said if he were concerned about whether future generations would somehow understand what went on in his day.We Hold These Truths to be Self Evident, But What Has It Got to Do with Football?
This year, history will be written. It won’t just be about Brett Favre, or Adrian Peterson, or Percy Harvin, or any of the usual suspects. It won’t just be about whether the Vikings can win that Super Bowl in Miami. History will tell us whether the Minnesota Vikings will continue to live on for a while or will join shortly both Voltaire and Evelyn in the after life.Who Was That Masked Man?
The legally real person also known as Elgar was born in Ohio. As basketball is not just a sport in Indiana but a religion, football has the same status inside the borders of Ohio. Elgar went to high school in suburban Youngstown. Our rival school had a quarterback you may know, Bernie Kosar. The local college had a quarterback you may know, Ron Jaworski. My junior high gym teacher and my high school's football coach, Bill Davis, went on to become director of player personnel for the old Cleveland Browns. Of course, the old Cleveland Browns now live in Baltimore under an assumed name.
Youngstown is in the neutral zone. At least half the people there cheer for the Steelers. Defensive End Turkey Joe Jones once put a pile driver on Terry Bradshaw, impacting the turf with Terry held head down by his legs. Tackle Mean Joe Green once repeatedly kicked a toppled Browns offensive lineman in his crotch. Football was not just a game there; it was a matter of eternal life and death. The point of this blithering paragraph is that I care about football way too much, because I grew up among those who did.What You Want We Do Now Kemo Sabe?
I presume since you are courageous enough to be reading this incredible football blog called Daily Norseman that you may care whether the Minnesota Vikings continue to exist or not. Since my dozen years as a resident of Minnesota are gone and I now live in California, you should be curious as to why I care if they live or die. After all, Mr. Ed Roski of Los Angeles is among the 600 richest people on the entire planet, and he’s building a stadium out here for which the drawings show very nice purple seats. That’s a lot longer drive for most of you than it is for me. I write in the hope you realize why the Minnesota Vikings may become an old and doubted tale, like the rune stone at Kensington, and to recommend what those who do not want that future to come true should do.I Read the News Today, Oh Boy
I remember sitting in Cleveland’s John Hopkins airport in the mid-nineties. The newspaper said Art Modell was moving the Browns to Baltimore. Most people were angry. Everyone seemed confused. How did this happen? It was like Pearl Harbor or something. Art was being thrown in the same category with Benedict Arnold. I have come to realize since then that all that was not true, but the shock was genuine, and the Browns were gone.
That was then and this is now. Return with us now to those tales of Norsemen. The bad news is that if the Vikings leave, you may never get a second chance. In the future, Mankato and Eden Prairie may sound like Kensington to people. If you cannot afford for the Vikings to make their way into a better home in this life, you may never get that cash to buy a home again for any NFL team. The economics, they are a changing.And They’re Closing All the Factories Down
Sorry, I've hopped in Doc Brown's DeLorean again, and I'm back in the nineteen sixties, when they built a new gas station on every corner in the suburb where I lived. Later, in the nineteen seventies, they boarded almost all of them up. The steel industry in Youngstown had died. Just as in other industries, the Japanese took technologies developed here and deployed them in their formerly nuked and otherwise war-ravaged country with our economic help. Wisdom comes a lot easier when you do not have apparently glittering alternatives around to confuse you. Those who have things tend to become complacent. Those who have not work like hell to change things and get things. If the competition gets to the window of opportunity before you do and that worm hole closes, the competition gets light years ahead of you. You’re simply toast.
Bad things happen that never happened in our memories. The dinosaurs ruled this planet for hundreds of millions of years. That tenure didn’t mean squat for them when the climate went to hell. People in Youngstown sat in bars a while. They went to Houston and other towns. Then they came back and drank in the bars some more. The steel mills were not coming back, but the band played on. Hey now, hey now. Don’t dream it’s over. Actually, it was.Que Sera Sera, Whatever Will Be Will Be
What does the future hold for us? The Minnesota Vikings are on a crusade. Like their Norse namesakes of old, they are on a mission, and they need to plunder to flourish. They are fighting for their economic lives in Minnesota. Every move you make, every step you take, I’ll be watching you. Every cheer, every rushing attempt, every pass thrown will all be totaled up and will determine whether the Viking ship goes over the falls or not.
Sure, the people of Cleveland had seen the Rams move to L. A.. Saint Otto Graham and Paul Brown helped create a new football team after that. When that team left, the area scraped up the cash which everyone had said they did not have and could not raise before and built a new stadium. It was not cheaper than if they had built the stadium that Art Modell needed. It cost a lot more, but at least they got another shot at things.
We may not be so fortunate. The economy is not expanding. Are you really hoping the Chinese will build the next stadium for us? You are more likely to get a soccer dome. How many people in China care about the NFL? It looks to this writer like we’ve crossed an economic divide in history. Gravity will be working against us if we merely hope to restart should we fall and wait around like dinosaurs staring at that fireball in the sky. We need to hang on for all we are worth and do whatever we are able.
We must all hang together, or most assuredly, we shall all hang separately. - Benjamin Franklin
Maybe I should have closed with a quote from the late radio voice of Pete Franklin. Pete is no longer here to tell you what happened to the Browns. That torch has passed on to me and others. A cornered Viking is twice as mean. Stand back, stand back. You’ll be standing in a line.Sven and Olie’s Hell Freezes Over Tour
It is us against the chaotic cosmos. Fans of the Vikings unite! You have nothing to lose but everything for which you ever hoped in NFL history. We either fulfill the ancient said-in-jest prophesy by which Sven and Olie shall dance in hell, or the Vikings themselves may go directly to hell, not passing Go. It is a mythic battle in which we face not just the 31 other NFL teams with their evil fans and players, but the daunting tide of entropy itself.
Damn the thermodynamics! Full speed ahead. We’ll invite Admiral Farragut, Tom Petty, Tonto, or anyone else wearing a painted purple shirt. Pat and Kevin fighting the legal system is child’s play. We intend to take on the laws of Mother Nature herself and bend Boltzmann’s constant with our bare hands. The best thing we can do is cheer and play as if our ever loving Viking lives depended upon it, because they just might. Keep the light on for us, Lena. We may need a field goal in overtime, but we’re not going down without a fight.
Skol Vikings, Let’s go