Hi kids, it’s just a couple more hours to the weekend, so I’m here to help you kill more time before you can call it a week and grab yourself a beverage of your choice.
This afternoon it’s our second Final Four game, and the winner advances to the final. Up until now, I’ve given a game summary, but if you click on the ‘Great Playoff Win of All Time Tournament’ link above, you can scroll through and read about those in any of the previous rounds, and catch some YouTube highlights as well. Today, I’m going to change it up, and give you why I think each game is the greatest win ever.
As always, I’ll put a poll at the end, which will be open for about 24 hours. You’ll get to vote, and the winner by popular vote will advance to the final. Our second final four game features a matchup that a lot of people thought should have been the final: The 1987 Divisional playoff against the San Francsco 49ers versus the 2017 Divisional playoff against the New Orleans Saints.
1987 Divisional playoff against the 49ers. Like the 2004 Wildcard game in our first final four matchup, the narrative was all about the Vikings not having a chance. In the strike-shortened 1987, no one thought Minnesota, who lost 3 of 4 to back in to the playoffs, had any business being on the field with the 14-1 49ers, who were not only double digit favorites, but the top seed in the NFC and damn near Super Bowl Champs by acclamation. They were an unstoppable juggernaut smack dab in the middle of their Montana-Walsh dynasty, and while the Vikes had blown out New Orleans a week earlier, there wasn’t anyone who thought Minnesota had a chance in this game.
Even over 30 years later...or especially because it’s been 30 years, it’s hard to convey what an upset this was, and what a thoroughly dominating game the Vikings played from the opening kick to the final gun, and how this playoff run sorta just came out of nowhere. Watching the game now, removed from the feeling at the time, and you’d think Minnesota was the heavy favorite and the better team. Of all the Vikings games I’ve watched over the years, I still remember what an utter feeling of satisfaction that win gave me. When Joe Montana got benched...Joe Freaking Montana...I remember calling my Dad and just saying ‘Are you watching this? They just benched Montana!’ And then we just started giggling like little kids seeing the presents under the tree on Christmas morning.
THAT’S how winning that game felt.
2017 Divisional playoff against the Saints. Most everyone thinks this game will win the whole tournament, what with it being so recent and everything, and I can see why. Like 1987, 2017 just sort of emerged out of nowhere, because no one saw a team with their third string QB making this kind of a run, especially when rookie RB sensation Dalvin Cook went down in week four. Yet the Vikes went on one hell of an impressive run, going 13-3 in the regular season, and then taking a 17-0 halftime lead against the Saints going into halftime of this game.
But there’s a reason Drew Brees is going to be a first ballot hall of famer, and the Saints crawled their way back in it, taking the lead late. Minnesota rallied though, thanks to a couple of insane catches by Jarius Wright and Adam Thielen. Kai Forbath nailed a 54 yard FG to give the Vikings the lead, but when the Saints kicked a FG with less than a minute left, it was setting up to be another all-time playoff choke job. Until the Miracle.
50 years from now Vikings fans will remember exactly where they were, and exactly what they were doing when they saw/heard the Diggs TD. Me? As the Vikes broke the huddle my wife patted me on the shoulder and gave it a squeeze saying ‘I’m really sorry, honey’ before I literally leaped up from my chair in the living room, and ran up and down our stairs yelling “WE WON WE WON OH MY GOD WE WON’ for two minutes straight.
And then it took me about 10 minutes to process what I just witnessed.
But was this the best overall game? Best/most iconic moment in Vikings history hands down, and you’ll never get an argument from me.
Best game? I really need to think about this one.
Which was the greater playoff victory?
This poll is closed
1987 Divisional game against the 49ers
2017 Divisional game against the Saints