It's Championship Sunday in the NFL, and the folks at the National Football Post have put together a list of what they've deemed to be the top ten NFL Championship Sundays of all time. Not surprisingly, the Minnesota Vikings make the list three times. . .even less surprisingly, two of those three weekends resulted in losses for our favorite team.
One of those is deemed as the greatest Championship Sunday of all time by the NFP, that being from the 1987 season. On the AFC side, the Denver Broncos defeated the Cleveland Browns 38-33 thanks to the play that is known only in NFL annals as "The Fumble," when Cleveland Browns' running back Earnest Byner lost a fumble at the Denver 3-yard line with 1:12 remaining in the game. Yes, Browns fans are every bit as cursed as we are, folks.
On that same weekend, the Vikings would lose in the NFC Championship Game to the Washington Redskins by a final score of 17-10, when Wade Wilson's final pass for Darrin Nelson fell incomplete late in the fourth quarter. Who was at fault for the play has long been debated, but it was a great game regardless. The Redskins would go on to throttle Denver in the Super Bowl that season.
The second Championship Sunday on the list that mentions the Vikings involves the screwjob that was the 2009 NFC Championship Game, so we're not going to discuss it here.
The third one goes all the way back to 1974, when the Vikings defeated the (then) Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game by a score of 14-10. This is kind of cool to me because, to be honest, I had no idea that the Vikings and Rams had such a rivalry back in the 70s. According to the NFP article, between 1973 and 1979, the Vikings and Rams faced off ten times, and the NFP goes so far as to call it the second-best rivalry of the 1970s. The top one, obviously, being the rivalry between the Oakland Raiders and the Pittsburgh Steelers, who faced off that same day in the AFC Championship Game. The Vikings would go on to lose to the Steelers in the Super Bowl.
So, the Vikings have had some good memories from Championship Sunday. . .it's just been a really long time since they've had any positive ones. But, as we all know, this team will eventually have their time, whether everyone else likes it or not. . .we just have to be patient.