I Just Saw a Ghost

Three years ago I dreamed of a Saints-Colts Superbowl.
My two favorite teams over the last decade, my favorite football player ever, seeing an end to the Patriots Dynasty, and seeing an end to a losing dynasty. Not all of these wishful thoughts came to fruition. But I was still left with hope and optimism that the day wasn’t too far away. And although the years in between hacen’t exactly been easy, in retrospect it wasn’t that far away because just three short years later I am here on the cusp of the afore mentioned dream Superbowl. And it is almost everything I hoped it would be. I’ve read every article, watched every video clip, every NFL live “Cold Hard Fact Countdown.” The only thing that’s not absolutely magnificent about all of this is all the assholes constantly talking about the Vikings were the better team that day in combination with saying the turnovers, while opportunistic by the Saints Defense, were more Vikings mistakes than our good play. Of course I have a problem with both of those statements but I take solace in the hypocrisy and irrationality of it. You either were forced to give the ball away or you gave it away because you’re a pussy with a strong handshake and weak hands when being hit by Roman Harper. But if either of those is true you most certainly were not the better team that day. The Saints receivers had the decency to bobble the ball while trying to catch it instead of on the run afterwards. At any rate, I’m not getting my blood pressure all high talking about that because we’re in the game and they aren’t. I’ll let Shaneika handle my light work. But something occurred to me while replaying all of Sunday’s events in combination with hearing argument after argument why the Vikings should be representing the NFC. So the first thing I remembered was one of the commentators, in pre-game, saying if this game were played anywhere else he’d pick the Vikings. Maybe I have a chip on my shoulder (not maybe) but that kind of belittles the Saints. The Saints didn’t get Domefield throughout by not going out and meeting every challenge. They hyped up the Bills as a test, then the Eagles, then the Jets, then the Giants, then the Dolphins, then the Pats. Some even tried to throw the Falcons in there the first go round because they’re a divisional opponent. But we bust their ass too. But the clincher for us to get Domefield came because The Vikings couldn’t handle their own business and almost cost themselves the second seed when Jay Cutler and the Bears put on an aerial show on Monday Night Football. So in my mind I’m shouting back at the commentator “Nobody gives a shit where else the game COULD be played. That’s some woulda coulda bullshit that has no place in the Superdome.” So then when I calmed down from my imaginary tirade. I imagined if the game had been played in Minnesota. I rationalized to myself how and why the Saints would have won anyway. I imagined Hartley making that 40 yard kick in the Metrodome and instead of everyone rising to their feet, a deafening wave falling over the crowd. I was content with this image and that it would have been true as well had that been the case, and that revalidated the Saints being in the Superbowl for me again.
Now here’s the image that haunted me.
So I imagined after the game they would bring out all the stages and hoopla and interview the winners and such and I imagined them interviewing the Saints on going to the Superbowl and so forth and how that would have pissed off everyone in Minnesota. That led me to this. I was so optimistic about the Saints I did not for one second give a thought to the possibility of a Vikings vs _______ Superbowl. Not once was I in doubt that the Saints were the better team and would win that game. But then reflecting on how close the game was and how the Vikings were one big run (as opposed to an interception) from being in decent field goal range with little time left on the clock. That imagery in combination with the thoughts of us celebrating in the Metrodome brought me a vision of the Vikings celebrating their NFC championship on our field.
Now, because I had rationalized to myself at the beginning of this season that we were the best team and had a legitimate chance of going to the Superbowl, anything less would have been a disappointment. I would have surely been sluggish and unproductive if the Saints lost on Sunday (not that I’m not that anyway.) But I wasn’t at all prepared for what flashed in my mind. I’m usually pretty good with foresight and not getting the rug pulled from under me. I do a pretty good job of anticipating the worst case scenario. But I scared myself thinking about this after the fact because I realized I had not thought about it beforehand and how devastating it would have been to see it for the first time in real life with no mental preparation. I imagined a smiling half-shaved Favre holding up the trophy just like Drew Brees for all the Vikings fans at home. I imagined Zigy Wilf coming out of that box and giving a thumbs up to Prince. I imagined them interviewing anyone with pads and a purple jersey and me having to listen to a perspective on winning from Chester Taylor. And I imagined all those old feelings that weighed me down in the early Nineties when Montana used to bust our ass and then a decade later when Kurt Warner was doing it. All of those feelings of maybe we’re just not good enough, and never will be coming back after I thought I had purged them. Sitting watching Sidney Rice, a man for whom I have no affection, beaming in his proudest moment, while I am here at the furthest point from even an opportunity at optimism about my team. It was like having a flashback of a dead relative. Now don’t get me wrong, I want us to win the Superbowl, I’m not just happy to be here. But when I think about Vikings-Colts and 2 weeks of hype machine about Adrian Peterson and his feel good story, Goddamn am I just happy to be here.

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3 responses to “I Just Saw a Ghost

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