We’re here for you. What you experienced yesterday has been the Vikings fan reality for about 40 years, depending on how one looks at it. And I want you to know that we’re here to help. The truth is, the next several months are going to be tough, and, quite possibly for the rest of your life all someone will need to say is “2015 NFC Championship” and you will feel this burning pit at the core of your stomach as images of yesterday game fly through your brain, Brandon Bostick in particular. We Vikings know your pain all to well, but that’s good, because we can help. Like I said, we’re here for you. So let me give you some pointers about how to move through this:
Today you likely woke up and actually stopped and thought to yourself, “did that really happen?” It did. The best thing you can do is get up and move through your day as normally as possible. Don’t lay in bed. Don’t replay any portion of the game, or the season, or past seasons on your DVR, DVD player, or VCR. This may sound like a good idea, but it’s not. It’s like a dog returning to its vomit. Over the next two weeks you will rarely if ever rise to the level of what we call content. There will be a ringing dissatisfaction at the front of your brain and at the depths of your soul. It is very important that you don’t make any major life decisions until after the Super Bowl. You are not of sound mind right now. So table any major decisions (job changes, buying a home or a car, relationship conversations, raise or promotion requests from your boss, etc.) until after the Super Bowl. And whatever you do, don’t even entertain conversations about team loyalties. You’re very fragile right now, and any moves you make regarding team loyalty cannot be reversed after losses such as what you experienced yesterday. I know you’re thinking, “spoken like a true Viking fan- Packer fans would never jump ship”, but be honest: as offensive as it feels, the thought has crossed your mind. It’s ok. It’s natural. Just stay the course for the next two weeks.
When Super Bowl Sunday arrives, you will find yourself at a depth of apathy you didn’t know possible. You’ll feign interest, but in reality, a mild chuckle at a commercial or two will be the extent of your emotion. There will be a part of you that will want to root for Seattle, because then you will at least have lost to the champ (and in this case it would be a two-time reigning champ), but you won’t be able to do it. Your heart will root for New England. Just accept this and let it happen, but know that it does not mean you need to be vocal about who you’re rooting for. Who you root for is yours and yours alone. Should Seattle lose, it will feel a bit like vindication for about an hour, but then when the confetti settles, you’ll only be reminded that this was your Super Bowl, and it never came to be. And whatever you do, as tempted as you will be, do not wear a Packer jersey to wherever you watch the game, even if it’s in your own living room. Packer jackets, gloves, hats and even scarves are acceptable, because it is winter and they serve a purpose, but they must be taken off as soon as you are in a reasonable temperature. A subtle pair of Packer earrings may be acceptable, but nothing too gaudy, and under no circumstances should you paint your nails green and yellow. If they are already green and yellow from this week, that’s okay, but no touch-ups should be made. While extra efforts in supporting your team during a game in which said team is not playing may make you feel loyal, it is not good for your soul at this point. The relationship is sour right now, and you need to let it be. You cannot force forgiveness or especially reconciliation. Let them come in their due time. Forcing it will only hurt more.
After the Super Bowl, you’ll go into problem solving mode. Mock drafts will come out, free agency will ramp up and you’ll begin to rebuild. This is ok, but be careful. Believe in your team for 2015, but make sure they make the first move. Make them show you something in 2015 before you give them your heart entirely. It’s ok to hold back for a time. But be warned (and this is key): In 2015 you will find yourself in a match up against Seattle, which many will call a “rematch”, but hear this very clearly: It’s not. It’s not a rematch until victory sends you to the Super Bowl. That does not mean there’s any virtue in losing that game, but curb your emotions here- it’s not a rematch. Even if you dominate, it will feel good, but later that day it will only remind you of a muffed onside kick (much like match-ups against the Falcons remind us of our missed field goal).
It’ll get better once you get through the Super Bowl, but this will change your view of your favorite team for a long time- Probably until they bring the Lombardi trophy home again. I say “probably”, because, well, I can’t really say, because I have no idea what that trophy feels like. I was alive but too young for Drew Pearson, but Darren Nelson, Gary Anderson, Josh McCown, and, yes, Brett Favre across the body as well as many others still ring in the ears of my mind. I only have faith that winning it all will stop the ringing.
Hard days are ahead. It’s going to get worse before it gets better, but hear this: it gets better. Or, I suppose better stated, it gets easier. The onside kick will never completely go away. So hang in there, Packer faithful. Hang in there, and welcome. Welcome to a new normal. We’re here for you.