Hi kids, I hope everyone had a merry Christmas, and you enjoyed some quality time with your family and friends.
When the clock strikes zero on Sunday, it will mark the end of the Metrodome era for the Minnesota Vikings. For many fans, it will be nostalgic, as they will recollect fond memories of attending games, or recalling some great moments in Vikings history. And yes, for as much pain as this franchise has inflicted upon us, there have been some pretty memorable moments and games.
But I will not be one of those fans. I have hated the Metrodome since day one, and if there was some kind of fantasy lottery I could win, I would like to be the guy that pushed down the plunger that ignites the explosives that blows the Metrodome into history.
I fully understand that I am in the minority here. I would imagine that the amount of fans that remember the days when the Vikings played outdoors are now a distinct minority, and that a vast majority of Vikings fans know no other venue than the Metrodome (no, I will not call it the Mall of America Field, because that's stupid).
Now, my beef with the Metrodome isn't aesthetically, although it could be. The rows are too long, the seats are too narrow, and a blind man could find his way to the restrooms on smell alone. The main concourse sucks to try and navigate, and leaving the building probably replicates what getting blown out of a cannon must be like.
No, I hate the Metrodome for what it did to the Vikings as a franchise. From 1961-1981, the Vikings had some of the most dominant seasons an NFL team ever put together while playing at old Metropolitan Stadium. They won 11 NFC Central division titles in 13 years, went 7-3 in playoff games, won an NFL Championship, and two NFC Championship games there.
In short, they had the most dominant home field advantage in the NFL. Playing in the elements, with that nickname, in front of a fan base that was known as a hearty folk from a largely Scandanavian descent, made the Vikings on of the most storied franchises in the NFL.
That identity disappeared, immediately and forever, the second the Vikings stepped foot in the Metrodome. Now, you can argue that the NFL changed, and that the Purple People Eaters era was a special time in history, and you'd be right to an extent.
But facts can be stubborn things. And the facts are plain, stark, and depressing. Since 1982, the Vikings have made the playoffs 16 times, which is about a 50% rate. Hey, that's pretty good; about the same percentage as when the Vikes played at Met Stadium. They've even played more home playoff games, too. Now some of that is because of the expanded playoffs, to include a couple wild card playoff games at home, something that wasn't possible during most of the Met Stadium era, as there was only one wild card team and they played on the road for the entire playoffs. Anyway, the Vikings are just 6-4 at the Metrodome during the post-season, and they've lost two wild card games at home as division winners, in 1992 and 1994. They've played in three NFC Championships in 32 years, with only one at home, and have lost all three.
So basically, when we're comparing the Met Stadium era to the Metrodome era, it took the Vikings an extra decade, with an expanded playoff format, to get as many home playoff games. And they had one less win.
And they won zero conference championships, much less Super Bowls. In the previous era, they won three championship games at home, and one on the road.
So I look forward to the end of the Metrodome era, and I am going to thoroughly enjoy watching the Vikings play at TCF Bank Stadium for the next two years. The Metrodome holds no sentimental value for me, and I look at it as a House of Horrors that can't close her doors soon enough.
Die in a fire, Metrodome. And with your sacrifice to the football gods, maybe fortune will now smile on the Vikings franchise, and we will celebrate a Super Bowl Championship at the new stadium.