Battered and Broken in the Big Easy


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My road trip to New Orleans last week could be summed up in one word: broken. The first break occurred in Jackson, MS on Friday night around 10pm. My friend Michael and I were walking back to the hotel through a vacant lot after dinner when I stumbled, instinctively put my hands out to break my fall and landed on my right pinkie finger:

The second break occurred on Sunday night - More on that later.

We arrived in Nawlins about noon on Saturday, checked out the city and spent the night hanging out on Bourbon Street. It was there where I heard “Who Dat?” for the first of roughly 9,765,412 times. Everyone should visit Bourbon Street once and if you’re over 25, once is probably enough.

The atmosphere around the Superdome on Sunday was festive. Many local entrepreneurs filled up coolers with beer and ice, took to the streets and sold them to the thirsty fans passing by. “2 for $5” was the going rate.

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Saints fans were extremely confident, I definitely felt a 1998 Vikings vibe here. They didn’t seem to think there was any way the local team would lose. Most expected a blowout.

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Once inside the Dome, we checked out the Saints Hall of Fame where I bumped into former Saints OL Brad Edelman who had recently finished signing autographs. When I noticed that Edelman played during the 1980s, I asked him about the NFC Wildcard Game 22 years earlier when the Vikings routed the favored Saints 44-10 in New Orleans. It was the first playoff appearance in their franchise’s history. When I tried to discuss the specifics of the game - Wade Wilson’s first half ending Hail Mary to Hassan Jones, Anthony Carter’s punt return TD - Edelman quickly cut me off, “I’ll never forget that day.” I think I got on his nerves:

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The game of course, was a back-and-forth affair in which the Vikings dominated every statistical category except points and turnovers. When it looked like the Vikes were going to win the game, an eerie silence fell over the crowd. One obnoxious Saints fan sitting behind me had been yelling out “We do what we want!” throughout the entire game. Shortly before Favre threw that final interception however, he looked as if he had just witnessed a gruesome car crash.

Yes, I have to discuss the Vikings final possession, it’s therapeutic for me. Here are the texts I sent and received during that ill-fated drive. The exchange was dominated by my brother Brian with my wife Kyla (who isn’t a Vikings fan) and my friend Eric making an appearance. When you read Eric’s contribution keep in mind that he is one of the most cautious people I know and often chastises me for my many half-cocked predictions.

8:42 – Me: This is it!!!
8:44 – Kyla: If the Vikings win im kinda worried about you getting back to the hotel safely
8:44 – Eric: We’re going to the super bowl!
8:44 – Brian: My heart is racing! 1 big play
8:49 – Me: Unreal…
8:52 – Brian: No
8:56 – Brian: We are cursed!
9:00 – Me: What a nightmare…
9:01 – Kyla: They should have had this game at least 3x
9:06 – Me: Yep…this is the vikings…
9:22 – Brian: Favre F@#$ed us!
9:44 – Brian: Are u okay? I am devastated!

We all know how the game ended, there’s no need to get into specifics here. The Vikings should have won, but they didn’t. Don‘t blame the officiating, the Vikes beat themselves.

While making the mile long walk back to my hotel following the loss, I ran into mid to late 40ish Viking fan sporting a Fran Tarkenton throwback jersey on Canal Street. Broken hearted and wallowing in self pity, I said to him, “They are never going to do it.” He just looked and me and deadpanned “I am a lot older than you”.

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One Response to “Battered and Broken in the Big Easy”

  1. Purple Pessimism » MinnesotaSCORE Says:

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    […] fatalistic Vikings fan, please keep in mind I was so convinced 2009 was the Vikings year, that I drove - yes drove - down to New Orleans for the NFC Championship game and racked up a hefty VISA card bill in the […]

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