There is one thing you need to know about me.

I like the Denver Broncos a lot. I never miss a game and I root and cheer and scream and feel horribly sad when they lose. However, I love the Minnesota Vikings.

I have been a diehard Vikings fan since I was 10 years old. At that time the Broncos were terrible, I loved the color purple, and absolutely loved Fran 'the scrambler' Tarkenton. You can see some of the evidence in the photo below from around 1977.  That's me wearing the purple #10 - Fran Tarkenton's number.

Zane Mathews

Being a Vikings fan has not been easy. The  Vikes have never won a Super Bowl. I've watched them lose three, and the last time I even saw them in the Super Bowl was 1977 - that was about the time the picture above was taken. Since that time, they have appeared in the NFC Championship game 6 times - one win away from the Super Bowl - and have lost every time. My motto has been, lower the expectations to minimize the disappointment. I pretty much expect I'm going to be disappointed.

Last week, I had no expectations that Minnesota would beat New Orleans in the wildcard game. I hoped it would at least be a good game, and so when the Vikings actually won the game, I was beyond ecstatic. Hope began to rise.

It was on to San Francisco, the #1 seed in the NFC. I was immediately taken back to 1988.  That year, the Vikings beat the Saints in the Wildcard game, and then went on to play the top-seeded 49ers - and shocked the world by beating them 36-24. Could this be a repeat performance 32 years later?

I have to confess, as guarded as my expectations were the week before, despite being 7 point underdogs against the 'Niners, throughout the week I felt hope rising. I tried to stop it, but I couldn't help it. Just maybe, this could be the Vikings' year. If we can beat the Saints, there's a chance we can beat San Francisco. Maybe...

Zane Mathews

Maybe not. As I stated, I've known a lot of heartache and disappointment in my 45+ years of following the purple and gold. Turns out, this is just another disappointing brick in the wall I'll add to my collection. And, as most football fans say after their final game of the season - maybe next year.

Perhaps I could learn something from our cat, Charlie, and just take these things in stride.  Obviously, he's unaffected by the outcome of the game, standing by his motto....."life goes on."

Zane Mathews


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