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Kurt Zellers Don't Know Much About History

Now, I can't speak to Mr. Zellers' knowledge of biology, science book, or the French he took. . .but I hope to heck that it's better than his knowledge of history.

(And, yes, I tried to find the Animal House version of that clip, but YouTube didn't seem to have it.)

Mr. Zellers recently spoke about the possibility of public financing for a potential new Minnesota Vikings' stadium, and had this to say about the subject:

One of Minnesota’s top-ranking lawmakers said he doesn’t believe the Vikings will leave anytime soon if the state fails to produce a new stadium.

"After this much heritage and tradition, I don’t think they would (move)," House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, said during a stop today at The Forum newspaper.

Zellers said the public won’t back public financing for a new Vikings stadium, and he wants all revenue streams tied to games or the facility.

Really, Mr. Zellars? You think that, do you?

Well, allow Professor Gates to, as the kids might say, "drop a little knowledge on you."

Our history lesson begins in a little city called Cleveland, Ohio. The Cleveland Browns football franchise was established back in 1946 as a part of the old All-American Football Conference (AAFC) before moving to the NFL prior to the 1950 season. You want to talk about heritage and tradition? In the Browns' first ten years of existence. . .four in the AAFC and six in the NFL. . .the Browns went to ten championship games (yes, they went every year for the first decade of their existence) and won seven championships. The Browns had their ups and downs like any other franchise, but had a fan base that was fiercely loyal and supported the team regardless of how bad they were or how many times they got their hearts ripped out.

Then, owner Art Modell intimated that the Browns would need a new stadium if they were to remain in Cleveland and remain competitive. But the powers that be in Cleveland didn't listen. . .they apparently thought Modell was bluffing. When Modell stepped to a podium at Camden Yards on November 6, 1995 and announced that he had signed a deal to move the team to Baltimore in time for the 1996 season, I suppose everyone figured out that he wasn't bluffing any more. Despite legal action from the city of Cleveland, the move wound up happening.

The 1995 season that saw Modell make that announcement was the fiftieth season in Cleveland Browns history. . .and that team packed their bags and moved without a second thought, because they were faced with a city that they felt didn't want to support them.

Hey, you know what team just celebrated their fiftieth season in the National Football League? Here, let me give you a hint.


So, when it comes to the Vikings staying or leaving the Twin Cities, let me assure you that "history" and "tradition" really aren't going to play a terribly large role. If a team with a history like the (former) Cleveland Browns can pick up and leave for Baltimore at a moment's notice, the same thing can certainly happen to Minnesota.

Oh, and funny that I should mention Baltimore. The Baltimore Colts were established in 1953, and played in Memorial Stadium during until 1983. Owner Robert Irsay repeatedly said that Memorial Stadium, a facility that the Colts had to share with baseball's Baltimore Orioles, was inadequate. . .there wasn't enough seating, there was barely enough room for the front office personnel of both teams, there wasn't enough parking, and so forth. However, despite all of that, the city of Baltimore repeatedly said that they were not going to be building a new stadium for the Colts.

So, at 2:00 AM on March 29, 1984, 15 trucks from the Mayflower moving company arrived at the Colts' facility in Maryland. By 10:00 AM, the trucks were gone. . .and so was football in the city of Baltimore for 16 seasons, until Modell moved his team into Memorial Stadium and played there for a couple seasons while a bright, shiny new stadium was being built.

Don't fool yourself into thinking that this team won't head out of town after this season if you and your cohorts in the Minnesota state government continue to sit on your hands. While you seem to be convinced that the people of Minnesota would not vote for a new stadium given the opportunity, let me assure you. . .if a stadium doesn't get done, I don't think Zygi Wilf and company will hesitate to pack up the trucks and leave town. And if that happens, you're likely going to have a very, very angry constituency to deal with.

Is that what you're shooting for, Mr. Zellers? Do you feel that you've accomplished enough in your time as a member of the Minnesota state government that you don't really need another term in office? Because if the Vikings are allowed to leave the state of Minnesota, there would be a whole lot of new faces in St. Paul following the next election. . .and this site, and other sites like it, would do everything in our power to ensure that turnover takes place. We will encourage donations to anyone that's running against someone that came out against a new Vikings' stadium, we will actively promote those candidates that are running against people that came out against a new Vikings' stadium, and we will get the people of Minnesota to speak with their feet and with their ballots. Our favorite football team being allowed to leave the place that they should always call home will not be taken lying down by anybody, and certainly not by us.

Don't think we can make it happen? This site is viewed by thousands of people every single day. To borrow a phrase. . .if you strike us down, we shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.

Do the right thing, sir. Put Minnesotans back to work, and keep the Vikings in Minnesota where they belong.