Like many of you, I watched the NFL Wild Card Playoffs this weekend. Also, like many of you, I am still trying to process what in the hell happened in the Pittsburgh/Cincinnati and Seattle/Minnesota matchups.
As a Steeler fan, after Landry Jones’ interception with under two minutes to go, I gave up. I generally know when the possibility of a miracle can happen, this was not one of those situations, until I heard “AND THE BENGALS HAVE FUMBLED THE BALL!” Ok, I had a glimmer of hope, but let’s face it, Jones or Ben Roethlisberger with a bum shoulder still had a longshot to win the game.
Then Vontaze Burfect and Adam “Make It Rain” Jones pulled two of the most Cincinnati moves you’ll ever see. Burfect targeting the head of Antonio Brown on a pass that put the Steelers in field goal range then the ensuing on field scuffle that had Jones shove a ref gave the Steelers a chip shot field goal to win the game after choking away a 15-0 fourth quarter lead.
I’ve seen improbable wins, this was probably the most improbable I’ve ever seen. Until …
Sunday’s matchup rewarded the Vikings for winning their division by pitting them against the two-time defending NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks. A tall order for sure. The Vikings were up to the challenge. I thought the Vikes could hang tough but eventually fall, I didn’t see them having the opportunity for a chip shot field goal to win the game as time expired.
There was no way Minnesota kicker could miss from this range. NFL kickers literally had a 99% success rate from that range this season. The Hawks dynasty was done in one degree weather.
How? Minnesota, one of the most tortured fan bases in the NFL from the standpoint of how could they not have won a Super Bowl by this point? They lost in the most Viking way possible. The 1998 loss to the Falcons, after going 15-1 with the best offense in NFL history to that point, the Favre interception against the Saints, Christian Ponder and now the Walsh kick. Only the Vikings hand over victories like this in the playoffs, like late Christmas presents.
Vikings fans probably can’t process this yet, and neither can I.
Here’s to moving on to Round 2, fight.