Today, at approximately 11 AM Central time (weather permitting), the fans at the Metrodome will be turned off and the giant roof will begin to deflate for the last time. Demolition on the building will begin in early February in order to make room for the new Vikings' stadium. . .which is coming, whether jerks like Doug Mann like it or not.
Last month, prior to the Vikings' final game at the Metrodome against the Detroit Lions, Ted summed up his feelings about the Metrodome. I have a lot of the same sentiments about the Dome that Ted does. . .it's too small, the seats are too small, and for crying out loud, we were urinating into a damn trough for all those years. A trough, people.
But there is a part of me that will be a little sad to see the Dome go. I'm young enough. . .or old enough, depending on your perspective. . .that the Metrodome is the only Minnesota Vikings home I've ever known. The first season that I would consider myself to have been a fan of the team was 1984, the team's third season in the Metrodome and the year that I turned eight years old. I missed the entire Metropolitan Stadium era (though I was apparently born at halftime of a game between the Vikings and the Lions. . .Vikings won 10-9 at the old Pontiac Silverdome), missed pretty much the entire Bud Grant era (save for the year he came back after the Les Steckel debacle), and have only ever seen greats like Fran Tarkenton, Chuck Foreman, and the Purple People Eaters through the magic of NFL Films.
A lot of my greatest sports memories come from the Metrodome, and not just from the Vikings. There was the 1987 World Series, the 1991 World Series (where I was fortunate enough to attend Game 7 and not be able to hear anything for about two days afterwards), and Game 163 in 2009, the Twins' final year at the Metrodome. And we have to remember things like the entire 1998 season (which inexplicably ended after the Vikings' divisional playoff win over the Arizona Cardinals), Adrian Peterson setting the single-game rushing record and going over 10,000 yards, the Minneapolis Miracle, and the 2012 regular season finale.
Yes, the Metrodome was a dump. But it was our dump. And we can talk about it as such, because it is and was ours. Fans of other teams? Like I give a damn what fans of other teams think of the Metrodome (or anything else Vikings-related, for that matter). It's sort of like when you were a kid, particularly if you had a younger sibling. Sure, you could tease your little brother or sister and get into fights with them and all of that stuff. . .but if someone else did it, well, that was different. Over the years, the Vikings compiled a record of 168-92 at the Metrodome, a winning percentage just shy of 65%. If I was a fan of another team, I'd probably hate the place, too. . .their team probably spent a lot of their time at the Metrodome losing, after all.
For my entire time as a fan of the Minnesota Vikings, between ten and twelve times a year, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. . .don't give me that "Mall of America Field" crap. . .was the greatest place on Earth. Why? Because it was hosting Minnesota Vikings football, that's why. For the next two years, TCF Bank Stadium will take that distinction, and following that the newest and greatest stadium the NFL has ever seen will be ready for the Vikings to call home for a very, very long time. (For the haters out there, don't totally do away with your "Los Angeles Vikings" jokes or anything. . .I'm sure that by 2050 they'll seem fresh as a daisy.) Yes, we all disliked the Dome for our own different reasons, and a lot of us are going to be happy to see it go and be replaced with something that is truly going to be a modern marvel.
But, for today, I'm going to be thinking about a lot of the great memories that the Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Twins, and, yes, even the Minnesota Golden Gophers gave us from the Metrodome. After today, it will only exist in pictures, in old versions of Madden NFL, and in the memories of everyone that has ever been a fan of any of those teams.