Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Cold Dose Of Reality

"The NFL doesn't care about your team." That was the support I received from a "friend" in January 1976 from a friend. My twelve year old brain was still trying to process the injustice that I found in the Hail Mary pass that happened in the December 29, 1975 NFC Divisional Game between my beloved Minnesota Vikings and the Dallas Cowboys. I reran the logistics of the play in my mind constantly. It didn't help that the play caused a near riot of the fans in Metropolitan Stadium and referee Armen Terzian was struck in the head by a whiskey bottle.

My "friend" went on to tell me that the National Football League was a business and all it was concerned about was getting better ratings on their television broadcasts. The Cowboys were from a larger TV market and the NFL would get them more money in advertising dollars for the NFC Championship game. He said that I really shouldn't be surprised that a "new" team like the Vikings (at this point they had been in the NFL for fourteen years) would get treated so poorly by the league officials since they did not have any credibility or history to have their complaints treated with respect.

This "friend" also pointed out that the behavior of the outraged fans did not help in having the NFL officials and management really want to address these complaints. If they did then they would be giving a validity to the riotous hooligans who sought to bully their way into getting the outcome they wanted, not the fair call made by the referees on the field. If the fans of a NFL team that had more history and credibility did this then  the NFL might want to listen.

My "friend" then suggested that I really should cheer for a team like his team, The Green Bay Packers. This would never have happened to them. They had been around since the beginning of the NFL. They would be taken seriously in their complaints about pass interference. Their fans would not have disrespected the game by causing a riot over the outcome of one play regardless of how much the game depended on it. The Green Bay Packers were a morally superior team, even though they played so poorly then, and as such they would never have had that happen to them.

After Monday Night's game in Seattle, between the Packers and the Seahawks, this discussion came back to me after 36 years and all I have to say is: The Minnesota Vikings will welcome any converted Packer fans with open arms.