Once again, I'm drinking the purple Kool-aid
It started with the Darrin Nelson drop when I was 10 years old in 1988. Eleven years later, it was the Gary Anderson miss. Eleven years after that, it was the Throw Across the Body (or the 12 Men on the Field, depending on how you choose to remember it).
When 41-doughnut doesn't even make the list of top NFC Championship heartbreaks, you know your team has let you down as often as an absentee father.
The Minnesota Vikings have always had that knack of teasing fans into thinking this is going to be the year, followed by the team losing in the worst possible way.
Remember the comedy of errors in January 1999 when the 15-1 and seemingly unstoppable Vikings lost to Atlanta? Running out of bounds, dropping interceptions, taking a knee with the best offense in the history of the NFL, a perfect kicker missing for the first time. How about those five turnovers in 2010 against New Orleans, including Brett Favre going all Brett Favre at the end of the game with the Vikings in field goal position to win the game?
In between those heartaches, I've learned to manage expectations for my favorite professional sports team, the one I grew up watching with my dad and two brothers every Sunday during the season. I still watch, but I've tried not to get too invested in wins and losses.
But this year is different. It must be all those New Year's resolutions of people planning to be more positive in 2018 flying around social media that has me believing in this team. My pitcher of purple Kool-aid is definitely half-full.
The old me would expect the playoffs to end in excruciating fashion, like Vikings kicker Kai Forbath missing from 27 on the left hash to lose. Or Case Keenum throwing across his body in Vikings territory in a late tie game, leading to a game-winning field goal by the other team. Or Jerrick McKinnon dropping a pass at the goalline on the final play. Or the other team signing Nate Poole to knock the Vikings out of the playoffs.
But this year is different. I'm all-in on this team, and this is my prediction: Super Bowl, homeboy!