Hey guys. Yes, I was pretty silent the past couple of weeks. Why? It wasn't for a lack of caring. And it wasn't for a lack of attention. It was because I don't live in Minnesota. I have long held that I really shouldn't comment too terribly much on the stadium situation, because, having never been a resident of Minnesota... well, some of the meaner things I wanted to say at times (which did slip here and there) seemed like they were not my place to say. You know, the whole ‘I can beat up my little brother but you can't' thing- those of you who are Minnesota residents or were Minnesota residents might have been annoyed at me saying something negative about the state or it's politics, and that would have been totally fair of you. So I kept quiet.
BUT HOLY HELLZ WE HAZ NEW STADIUM NAO!!!! So I gotz somethin to say, yo.
Dear Zygi Wilf: thank you. Join me after the Leap of Faith, will you...
I may not be, nor ever was, a resident of Minnesota. But since 1998 I have bled purple and gold, and I wholeheartedly feel that, bandwagon jumper though I may have started, I have suffered enough now to claim ownership of this team. I have stuck with it through thick and thin. I once flirted with the notion of leaving the team, seeing it like a bad lover who just keeps breaking my heart in an unhealthy relationship, in 2010 when we signed then released Randy Moss. But I stayed true. So yes, this is my team.
Recently much well-deserved props have been given to the legislators who made what has happened today happen. Reps Lanning, Kriesel, and Rosen, Gov. Dayton... they all deserve great credit for doing what they did, because without them, we wouldn't be here today.
...we'd probably be in LA.
And let's face it, the LA Vikings? G-d forbid they change the name anyways... playing in the NFC West? No Packer rivalry, Bear rivalry? (OK, emerging Lion rivalry?) No frozen blizzards to intimidate the opponents? No Ragnar? Brand new fans (what, no Viking mafia?!)? C'mon. I mean, sure, I'd probably watch. Adrian Peterson, Jared Allen, Percy Harvin... they'd be there, I'd root for them. But how many losing seasons would I endure at that point before just giving up? It wouldn't be my team anymore. It would be a collection of favorite players who USED to to be on my team- eventually it wouldn't even be that. And if they won a Super Bowl... man, something about it would just... feel... hollow. Yes, if the Vikings left Minnesota, resident or not- my team would be gone forever.
But that hasn't, and won't, happen.
And there is someone who I feel deserves thanks above all others. Someone who has suffered the longest, who has sacrificed the most. And his name is Zygi Wilf, franchise leader extraordinaire.
See, Wilf purchased the team initially with the intention of being a partner in a larger group. When said larger group largely fell out, Wilf decided screw it, he'd be the capo, and upped the ante to buy a team with a poor revenue stream (to put it lightly) and a nebulous stadium situation (to put it very lightly) from Red McCombs, who had gotten so sick of Minnesota politicians playing with him that he dumped the team and even sent Randy Moss packing as a final ‘F U'.
Wilf immediately announced that this team was a Minnesotan team and that it was going to stay that way. And MAN did he live up to that promise. He did everything- from the reasonable to the considerably less so- that the Minnesota government asked of him. He waited LITERALLY TO THE LAST SECOND to see this thing through. The only moment of weakness was when he flew to LA... but c'mon, at that point, it truly seemed all over anyways. What was he going to do?
And even in the end the Minnesota government asked him to put an additional $50 million dollars into it all... even after constantly upping his contribution already. Let's not undermine the importance of this. Keep in mind that the Minnesota Vikings are not, exactly, a money machine for Wilf. Hell, I'm pretty sure they cost him money. Wilf's money comes from real estate. Do you know what successful real estate involves? Lots of working with local governments. Wilf's decision to continue to give and give is a HUGE risk for him, personally, because now other local governments may think they can do the same thing with him in future real estate deals. The man's gone out on a really thin limb here. Why? Because he's a football fan, and he's a guy who believes that the Vikings belong in Minnesota. And he was willing to put his neck under a guillotine for that.
So let's take a moment here, let's take a moment and realize that while all of the hardworking politicians who put up with idiotic and incompetent counterparts (see? Hard not to say something mean about all this) deserve a boatload of credit... Zygi Wilf deserves a LONGBOATLOAD of credit. Blow the gjallarhorn, wear your purple, sing the song, flick off a Packer fan... and thank Zygi Wilf for saving our team. Because at the end of the day, he did it.
He f'in did it, folks. Thank G-D this man owns our team.