It comes around every year, and now it has come and gone again. The Super Bowl, arguably one of the world’s largest sporting events, took place last Sunday between two heavyweight competitors, the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles. Like last year, it was a race to the finish, with the outcome hanging on a thread to the very end.
Dealing with the loss of their star quarterback Carson Wentz, the Philadelphia Eagles managed to battle their way through the playoffs to reach this point, including a disappointing win over our own Minnesota Vikings. The Patriots breezed through the playoffs comparatively, dispatching the Tennessee Titans and scraping by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The stage was set for a strong matchup – the two conference leaders, set for a grudge match for the ultimate prize. So the narrative goes anyway. The game was exciting and close, though in my opinion still stretching to justify the astronomical cost of tickets to be there in person. It was bittersweet for us as Minnesota fans, not only to see the team that beat us in the NFC Championship go on to win the whole thing, especially after what we saw about how our fans in “The City of Brotherly Love” were treated. It just seems ironic the big game went down in our very own U.S. Bank Stadium.
Not that it deterred us from putting on a great show for the nation in Minneapolis. The host committee did an amazing job, and I was really impressed by how smoothly everything went. The weather even decided to give our visitors a proper sub-zero welcome.
Now all the pomp and circumstance is over, it gives us pause to consider next year. Besides our disappointing game against the Eagles a few weeks ago, the Vikings put on one of their most standout seasons since 2009 with Brett Favre. People were engaged and inspired; “Skol chants” became a regular occurrence.
Not to mention one of the most unforgettable plays of all time, the “Minneapolis Miracle” as it has now been immortalized. That one play I believe captured the essence of what Minnesota Vikings fans have felt for a long time. It always seems like the odds are stacked against us, that the luck and elation is on the other side. This year, we got a taste of what the ultimate win could feel like.
We should remember, though, our future for the next year is bright. Our great run doesn’t have to stop here. Our team still has great players and potential, and next year could be the one where it all comes together. The important thing is we continue to support our team, and cheer them on through it all. That is what I admire so much about our state and our fans. The Vikings do well some years, and do poorly in others, but we’re still behind them. We rejoice in victories and agonize in defeats, but we do it together, knowing the experience and the companionship are all that matters.
That’s what football and really all other sports are about. Putting aside our worries and putting our collective hopes on a group of athletes working to represent us and carrying the dreams and memories of millions with every play. It’s an escape from the mundane and a trip into the surreal and the extraordinary. For now our goal of a Super Bowl win might have been dashed, but I know someday, that team celebrating victoriously on the field will be ours. We just don’t know yet when that will be.
Connor Kockler is a Sauk Rapids-Rice High School student. He enjoys writing, politics and news, among other interests.