The Game That Never Ends….

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Like many Vikings fans, I still haven’t gotten over the bitter disappointment of the 2009 NFC Championship Game. It’s a healing process that takes time, a lot of time. The 1998 NFC Championship Game loss to Atlanta still looms large in my psyche, so by comparison, the New Orleans debacle is still a very fresh wound.

Recent news of the Saints now infamous “bounty” program is not helping. It often seems that even though the outcome has been irreversibly decided, the game will never end. Four days after the tormenting loss, the NFL apologized because game officials missed several calls, including a late hit that would have nullified a Brett Favre interception in the 3rd quarter. Like that was supposed to make us feel better.

Two months later, the league changed it’s overtime rules for playoff games. Never again would a team lose by a field goal without having possession of the ball at least once. Another so-called wrong had been righted, but once again it did nothing to help the Vikings. Too little too late.

Now 25 months and a 9-23 stretch later, we learn that the Saints engaged in some highly unethical - some might even say criminal - behavior during their Super Bowl run. This validates what Vikings fans knew all along: the Saints were not the feel good, “Little Team that Could” they were portrayed to be, they were a bunch of thugs who were just as concerned about hurting players for relative pocket change as winning.

While I hope they get penalized to the full extent of Roger Goodell’s self righteous wrath, it isn’t going to change the fact that the Vikings blew a golden opportunity to reach the Super Bowl two years ago and they aren’t going to get another one anytime soon.

In the meantime, we’ll have to watch the 2009 NFC Championship Game replayed in the media as this story develops. If I had a therapist, I am sure he or she would tell me that none of this is healthy.

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