January 24th, 2010. Some people may not think anything special of this day, but die-hard Vikings fans may remember this as the day they cried for over an hour (I only cried for 45 minutes). Yes, I am talking about the day that the Vikings lost to the Saints in the NFC Championship game. Today marks the 7th anniversary of that game that we all wish we could forget.
Why didn’t Brett Favre run the ball at the end of the 4th quarter? Why did we have so many turnovers that game? WHY CAN’T THE VIKINGS EVER GO TO THE SUPER BOWL AND WIN!?!?!? Okay, I am calm now.
The Vikings and Saints both had tremendous regular seasons that year. Minnesota finished 12-4, and New Orleans was the best team in the NFC with a record of 13-3. Minnesota had just picked up veteran quarterback Brett Favre before the season, a quarterback (a hall of fame quarterback now) who had the experience and talent to be able to take us to the promised land. Hopes were high when we signed him, as he would be joining the amazing Adrian Peterson on offense. Our defense was also unbelievable. New Orleans was a city that was heavily damaged by the powerful hurricane Katrina a few years earlier. This Saints season seemed to bring a revival to the devastated city.
The Saints had beaten the Cardinals in a division playoff game the week before, and the Vikings had beaten a team that they will never make amends with: the Dallas Cowboys.
It was late in the 4th quarter, when hopes of the Vikings kicking a field goal to send them to the Super Bowl were high. 19 seconds were left in the game, and Minnesota had the ball on the Saints 38 yard line. It would have been a long field goal attempt from there (55 yards) but it was worth a shot. On 3rd & 15, Brett Favre and the Vikings offense were looking to set up a better field goal opportunity. Then, Favre made a play that will forever be remembered. After the snap, Favre rolled out to his right, threw the ball across his body, and the ball was caught. The only problem was that the ball was caught by New Orleans Saints cornerback Tracy Porter. There appeared to be room to run, but Favre’s ankle/leg had taken an absolute beating over the course of the game. The thought of winning the game in the 4th quarter was over, and now we were worried about losing it right there. The Saints were unable to win it in the 4th quarter though.
Unfortunately, the Saints won the coin toss in overtime. They drove deep down the field, and a 40-yard field goal in overtime by Garrett Hartley (who?) was the dagger.
We can’t blame Favre for that loss. He was one of the main reasons the Vikings were able to make it that far in the first place, and his ankle/leg must have caused an unbelievable amount of pain. Maybe the man saw an opportunity to make a great play and he took it. It is too bad that it didn’t work out, and it is hard not to think of what could have happened if he had not thrown that interception.
I’m going to wipe the tear from my eye now.