I am a Minnesota Vikings fan. Tonight, I had to watch the most disappointing game of the season. We didn’t just lose to The Philadelphia Eagles, we were obliterated.
And I think a large part of that has to do with the psychological warfare our team and fans endured from Philly! Philly fans were reported throwing beer bottles at fans. They were reported standing outside the Vikings hotel all night long making noise and throwing things. I don’t know why a disturbing the peace call was not made and enforced, but there we are.
The Minnesota Vikings in their first run ran a series of small plays. They didn’t want to lose control right at the onset, so they ran play after play and resulted in striking first blood. 7-0, Vikings within the first 5 minutes of play. Then, we lost all control! The wheels came off and our team was irrationally outplayed for the rest of the game. I firmly believe a lot of this has to do with the fans and their total lack of human decency and respect for a visiting team. This, of course, created a deep anger within me.
How can a human being be so unbelievably unsportsmanlike? How can so much anger and hostility reside in a human soul for what is simply, at the end of the day, just a football game? Seriously, it’s not world hunger, it’s not fighting a world war. It’s football!! But, then I look at it from the perspective of war. Warfare calls on all methods of getting into the opponents heads. That is EXACTLY what happened in Philadelphia tonight! The fans, the team, the whole city didn’t want us there from the onset!! We were not welcome! They took this football contest seriously as though it was a war!! And they beat us psychologically from all angles before the game even began!!!
Now, we in Minnesota are hosting The Philadelphia Eagles in The Super Bowl. We were supposed to be the first team in Super Bowl history to be in our own Super Bowl as host and team!! It didn’t go down that way. We lost. And it was devastating!!
But, I called out to all in Minnesota to show our own class. We are not unfair tormentors of visiting teams. We understand that there is a contest coming here and we are no longer in it. Are we mad? Yes. Are we sad? Yes. But that does not give us the right to rise up above the hate and anger!! We need to be outstanding hosts in the face of adversity in our state!!
2,000 years ago, a man was walked through the city streets of Jerusalem. He was despised. He was hated. He was ridiculed. He was beaten. He was tortured!!! And He was put to death, or so they thought. That was not the end of the story, and now, we here in Minnesota have not reached the end of our story!
I write this with sadness, anger, disbelief, love, joy, forgiveness and grace all welling up within me!! Do I wish The Minnesota Vikings were going to The Super Bowl?? Yes!! I have waited 41 years to see MY TEAM make it to the big show! And now, The Super Bowl comes to my state and tickets are so out of my price range, I will watch it from television. I get to see the commercials that way anyway. Positives on all sides, right?
But, what I hope and pray for and from my home state tonight is forgiveness. Let us rise above the disappointment and hurt of the loss. We are better people than antagonizing a visiting team!! Let us welcome them with open arms and show them true respect. Sure, it may not be what they deserve, but no one who believes in Jesus Christ gets what they deserve either! He paid our price in full so we can attend the biggest party in the universe in Heaven with Him!!
Sure, the Vikings are now separated from The Super Bowl this year, but that doesn’t mean we need to be separated from the grace that Jesus has shown us!! May love, peace and grace prevail in Minnesota on February 4th as we welcome the team that beat us to The Super Bowl!!!