First off, a belated Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday season to you all. I hope lots of good times were had, good food was eaten, and festive holiday booze was consumed. I’ll be early on wishing everyone a Happy New Year.
FOX Sports North has released a list of the "Top 10 Metrodome moments in Vikings history" and clearly, somebody was smoking something when this list was put together because it’s all wrong. They left out all of my favorite Metrodome memories and didn’t get a single one right! So, in the interest of correcting a flagrant error, I figured it my duty to release the real list of Top 10 Metrodome moments, most of which are Vikings related. So here they are.
10. December 24, 2004 – The Packers deliver an early present on Christmas Eve with a Metrodome victory. This game stands out in my mind for two reasons. First, while Favre certainly had some success in the building, the Metrodome always had the potential to be a house of horrors for Favre and the Packers, and I had a very bad feeling about this game before it started. But the Packers delivered a gem to win the game, with Favre overcoming a 4th quarter interception that was returned for a touchdown. And secondly, this is the only NFL game I can remember being played on a Friday. I’m sure there have probably been others, and I’m sure somebody will be happy to mention them, but this is the only one I personally remember. It seemed really weird at the time.
9. January 9, 1999 – The Vikings get a divisional playoff victory over the Cardinals. What? A Vikings victory on this list? Yup. A Vikings victory on this list. Because this Viking victory made the schadenfreude of their next loss all the more delectable. Growing up in the western half of Wisconsin, there was always a fair amount of Viking bleedover, which was just generally irritating, but the 1998 season was especially annoying because all the bandwagon jumpers came out in force. They were oh so smug that year. That one loss to the Bucs was a fluke, don’t you know, and the Vikings were downright unbeatable! And this game proved it. But as we all know, that was not the end of the 1998 story…
8. November 4, 2007 – Antonio Cromartie sets an NFL record with a 109 yard return. No player had ever made any type of return the maximum possible distance of 109 yards before Cromartie returned a missed Ryan Longwell field goal attempt at the end of the first half in this game.
7. September 9, 2001 – The woeful Panthers win their only game of season at the Metrodome. The 2001 Panther team was terrible. Really terrible. Like, 1 win terrible. 15 game losing streak terrible. Their 1 win prevents them from hanging in the same club as the 1976 Buccaneers and 2008 Lions, but they were still one of the worst football teams of all time. The Vikings were kind enough to host the Panthers and provide them with their only win of the season in the Metrodome, though.
6. November 21, 2010 – Favre loses his last game against the Packers. Brett Favre got the best of the Packers in 2009, there’s no denying that. He could have walked away at the end of the 2009 season having had one of his best seasons ever to end a brilliant career, and the two victories he got over the Packers that year probably would have provided him with a lifetime of satisfaction at proving Ted Thompson wrong (at least in his mind). Buuuutttttt – and stop me if you’ve heard this story before – he just couldn’t walk away. He came back and got embarrassed all season, and the second time he lined up against the Packers that season in the Metrodome his team got whupped. This photo pretty much says it all.
5. January 4, 2009 – Vikings lose wild card game to Eagles. The Eagles shut down the Vikings in the second half of this game and provided a satisfying victory. But what I remember most about this game is that it required not one, but TWO extensions from the NFL to avoid being blacked out in Minnesota. Think about that. A team is hosting a playoff game – their first home playoff game in eight years, no less – and needs two extensions to sell the game out. Of all the examples throughout history where you can attach the word "pathetic" to the Vikings franchise, this one ranks near the top.
4. October 15, 2005 – The Badgers defeat the Gophers in dramatic fashion. I had to throw my favorite Badger Metrodome memory in here. The Badgers won this game 38-34 in the most dramatic manner possible, blocking a punt with 30 seconds left and recovering it in the end zone for the game winning touchdown. The Gophers were ranked at that point in the season and ran all over the Badgers with 411 yards rushing, but Bucky got the win in the end. It was glorious.
3. September 30, 2007 – Brett Favre sets the all time touchdown pass record on the Vikings’ home turf. Favre’s march towards the NFL all time touchdown passing record lined up perfectly to set the record in Minnesota, and in the first quarter he threw a pass to Greg Jennings for career touchdown number 421. To Minnesota’s credit, they acknowledged the milestone and their fans applauded the event. Personally I wouldn’t have blamed them had they chosen to ignore it. The Packers also hung on to win the game, which is always nice.
2. December 12, 2010 – The Metrodome’s roof collapses. This happened.
Fox Sports - Metrodome Roof Collapses.m4v (via Scott Shephard)
It literally makes me LOL every time I watch it. Thankfully nobody was hurt, but it couldn’t have happened to a better building. I seriously considered making this #1, because it’s so damn funny, but I couldn’t justify it. Not with...
1. January 17, 1999 – The 1998 NFC Championship game. Undefeated at home. Blowout playoff victory the week before. A perfect season for Gary Anderson. Cockiness and confidence abounded for the Vikings leading up to this game. And it all ended perfectly. My favorite playoff game of all time that didn’t involved the Packers. So beautiful. So, so beautiful….
So there you have it. You know, looking over FOX Sports North’s list again, I can actually get some enjoyment out of that list as well. It says something about a franchise when it can occupy a stadium for 32 years and not come up with a single "best moment" that didn’t occur in the regular season. Farewell, Metrodome. Here’s hoping the Vikings’ next stadium treats them as well as this one. Feel free to add your own favorite Metrodome moments or debate mine in the comments.