As you've no doubt seen or read about by now, the literary world was shaken on Tuesday by the death of author Tom Clancy, who passed at the age of 66. Clancy was most well known for his thrillers such as The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, and Clear and Present Danger, as well as the works that led to the Rainbow Six and Splinter Cell series of video games.
However, Clancy also nearly became the owner of the Minnesota Vikings fifteen years ago.
In 1998, the Vikings' were owned by a group of people that was becoming increasingly fractured and wanted out of the football business. Clancy, who was riding high on the success of a series of his recent works, actually agreed to purchase the team for the (then) princely sum of $200 million. It appeared that everything was in place for the man that actually included the Minnesota Vikings playing in the Super Bowl in one of his novels (1991's The Sum of All Fears).
(We'll overlook the fact that, in The Sum of All Fears, the Vikings and the San Diego Chargers. . .along with 60,000+ fans and numerous others. . .were vaporized when terrorists partially detonated a nuclear device at the Super Bowl. As Clancy himself said, that was an "embarrassing coincidence.")
However, the deal wound up falling through after Clancy's divorce proceedings brought up concerns that he would not be able to put together the $200 million to purchase the team. The Vikings wound up being sold to Red McCombs later that year for $250 million, and we've seen how history has proceeded from there.
Nobody knows how the history of the Minnesota Vikings would have been different had Clancy been able to purchase the team. The McCombs era was filled with battles over a stadium and rumors of the team being relocated, and there was a bit of concern about that being a possibility had Clancy been able to purchase the team as well, as one of the minority owners in Clancy's group was a part-owner of the Houston Rockets. Houston had just lost the Oilers to Tennessee, and the concern was that the Vikings would be used as a potential replacement. Clancy did his best to dispel that notion, but in the end it wound up not really being an issue.
Clancy passed in a hospital in his native Baltimore at the age of 66. We send our condolences to his family.