Why the Minnesota Vikings have Never Won a Super Bowl
Coming from Minnesota I've heard a lot of jokes involving the Minnesota Vikings, but perhaps the most memorial ones involve their notorious reputation for messing up their most important football games. If the wording of the best one I recall wasn't a bit too vulgar to include in this hub, I honestly couldn't think of a more appropriate way to begin this article because, as any Minnesota Vikings fan knows, if there's one thing the Vikings have a long history of being good at, it's blowing big games. Since the NFL and AFL merger of 1970 they've been to the playoffs twenty-five times, the NFC Championship game eight times, and the Super Bowl four times, and still have no Super Bowl victories to brag about. Only the Buffalo Bills have been to the Super Bowl as many times without a victory, and they've made the playoffs about half as many times as the Vikings since 1970. It would be fair to say, the Vikings have missed more big opportunities than any other football team in the NFL.
So how could a professional football team with amongst the most wins in the NFL since becoming a franchise still be seeking their first Lombardi Trophy? I'm sure football experts could think of numerous reasons: everything from curses originating with Leif Ericson, to tragic draft trades, but in the mind of this mere layman football fan, three fundamental reasons can summarize the Viking's lack of success in the big game:
(1) FIRST STRING QUARTERBACK ISSUES: The Vikings have not had a stable and talented quarterback since Fran Tarkenton left the team. Since the Vikings' memorial MVP quarterback retired his purple jersey in 1978, only Tommy Kramer and Daunte Culpepper have served as the team's starting quarterbacks for more than three full seasons, both of whom were talented, but certainly not hall of famers like their predecessor, Scrambliin' Fran. While Warren Moon, who started for the Vikings for two full seasons in the mid-nineties also later made the Pro Football's Hall of Fame, I'm sure most fans would agree that at close to thirty-eight years old when he first replaced Jim McMahon as starting quarterback for the Vikings, he was far too over the hill to make a big impression during this time. If I personally remember correctly, while talent wasn't lacking, his age could likely have been attributable to the fact that he was too injury prone and unpredictable to ever be a superstar for the team, like Frantic Fran most certainly had been. While the Vikings have definitely had some brushes with other talented quarterbacks since the late 70's as well: Randall Cunningham in the 1998-99 season, Jeff George in the 1999-2000 season and, most recently, Brett Favre in the 2009-2010 season, to name perhaps the three most prominent, these brushes were always with veteran quarterbacks approaching the final days of their careers. Ultimately, they were never with any quarterback who could've offered a long-term commitment to the team. Struggling with the starting quarterback position for over thirty years now has been costly for the team and, in my opinion, perhaps the primary reason why they still haven't won the big game;
(2) HEAD COACH ISSUES: The Vikings have not had an experienced and talented head coach since Bud Grant retired in 1983. During Grant's tenure with the Vikings from 1967 through 1983 he led the team to four Super Bowls, three NFC championship games, one league championship game, and eleven division championship games. With the exception of his first season as the Vikings head coach, he also never allowed the Vikings to win fewer than seven games in a season throughout his entire tenure coaching purple jerseys. To exemplify what a difference a good head coach can make for a professional football team, his successor, Les Steckel's first season coaching the Vikings in 1984 amounted to a mere 3-13 record. While Grant consequently came back from retirement in 1985 very briefly to coach the Vikings once again, during which time he was unable to restore the team adequately to achieve another winning season, there's no question Bud Grant has been unrivaled by any subsequent Vikings head coaches. He was without a doubt the best head coach the team has ever had. The Vikings have had chances to pick up talented and experienced head coaches since Mr. Grant's departure in mid 80's, Tony Dungy and Jon Gruden, to name a couple, but they have failed to take advantage of any of these opportunities. Typically opting for less experienced and more affordable head coaches instead, the Vikings have not made it to a Super Bowl under any head coach other than Bud Grant;
(3) BAD LUCK: While luck is something any professional team should certainly not rely on to obtain victories, everyone knows it still exists, and can frequently determine the outcome of big games. With regards to the Vikings, it seems to have worked to their disadvantage far too many times in far too many big games over the past thirty five years for one to ignore the notion that bad luck indeed has played a fundamental role in their failure to ever bring home those longed for Super Bowl rings. The Vikings have lost their last five NFC Championship games, four of which were lost by seven or fewer points, and two of which were lost in overtime. A lot of experts believe the Vikings would've won Super Bowls in both 1978 and in 1999 had it not been for bad fortune in their nail biting defeats in the NFC Championship games during both those years. While every professional team can look back on games that were lost as a result of bad luck, and while bad luck should never be an exclusive excuse for failure, with the Vikings in particular I doubt anyone who follows professional football closely can deny that it has nonetheless been excessively costly for a number of decades.
Despite the misfortune of no Super Bowl wins to date, Minnesota's beloved professional football team are still the Vi-"kings" of the NFL in my book. I encourage Vikings fans to continue wearing their purple jerseys with pride, as I believe our year is indeed coming soon.
This article was provided by the Law Firm of Luke J Blahnik
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