With a 10-1 record unrivaled since their historic 15-0 season in 1998, the Minnesota Vikings have this long-suffering fan feeling a bit strange.
Watching the football game this afternoon, I found myself emitting the same sort of smug laughs President Bush must have made when given progress updates during the invasion of Iraq. Will the end result of the Vikings season be “Mission Accomplished” or, with the franchise’s first-ever NFL championship, a real mission accomplished?
Much depends on the health of their 40-year-old warhorse and erstwhile enemy Brett Favre. The future-Hall of Fame quarterback is having a banner year with this afternoon’s resounding victory over the Chicago Bears being no exception. Indeed, he very nearly broke his personal passing yard record. Last year, his backup Tavaris Jackson couldn’t even pilot the team into the playoffs–in spite of having Adrian Peterson, the most dangerous running back in football, to carry the ball every couple plays.
At the beginning of the regular season when the surprise signing of Favre–the longtime leader of the hated Wisconsin Packers–was announced, I predicted he would get us within a game of the playoffs, throw a season-ending interception, and then rip off his jersey to reveal his familiar green and yellow number 4 sweater underneath. Now it is difficult for me to imagine such a scene anywhere outside of the Superbowl.
Like Bush after the capture of Baghdad, Vikings fans like me continue to hope all will end well–in spite of what history and premonition might suggest.
Photo credit: jpellgen (via Flickr)