Normally, I’m not superstitious. I think black cats are cute and that broken mirrors are much more likely to cut you than to give you seven years of bad luck. True, I won’t walk under ladders, but that’s because I have an irrational fear of ladders. Although I have knocked on wood, that’s because I like the movie Casablanca. And, is there really anyone out there who hasn’t ever said “Jinx!” after saying the exact same thing at the same time as someone else?
However, all bets are off when it comes to Minnesota Vikings football. With football I’m just half a chocolate chip cookie away from walking through doorways backwards, tossing salt over my shoulder, avoiding pennies that are tails side up, and doing the hand-gesture that looks like the Supremes singing “Stop in the Name of Love” that is supposed to ward off the evil eye.
My latest superstition is that I am beginning to think that my purple John Randle jersey has mystical powers. When I wear it, the Vikings win. Coincidence? I think not.
Week 1 I didn’t plan to wear the jersey. I was saving it for the home opener against the 49ers. That seemed safe because the Cleveland Browns didn’t look likely to put up a good fight, even playing in Cleveland. But at half-time the Vikings were not looking like a team capable of living up to their preseason hype so I did what had to be done—I put on my John Randle jersey. The Vikings staged a decisive comeback victory that included Adrian Peterson’s 64-yard touchdown run, complete with that fantastic straight-arm move on the 20-yardline that has been dubbed “kiss the baby.” Oh yeah, pucker up.
In Week 2 the Vikings played the Detroit Lions, but because last year’s victories over the winless Lions had such slim margins, I wasn’t taking chances. Wearing my Randle jersey, I watched with grave concern as the Lions amassed a lead, but, once again, there was a second-half surge to victory. Linebacker Chad Greenway became the NFC defensive player of the week with his explosive play that included two interceptions, a fumble recovery, and recovery from a kick. And the jersey’s mystique grew.
Given the jersey’s growing history of success I’m not sure why I wasn’t wearing it when the home opener began on Sunday, not that I wasn’t wearing Vikings gear, just not the Randle jersey. Briefly, it looked like donning the all-powerful jersey would be unnecessary. The Vikings sacked Shaun Hill early in the game and the much-feared 49ers running back Frank Gore was out with an ankle sprain before I even got my tailgating snacks. Brett Favre threw a 30-yard pass to Sidney Rice for a touchdown and it seemed like the slow starts of the previous weeks were a thing of the past. However, uneven play and the Niners’ ability to shut down the Vikings running game took their toll. I knew what I had to do.
Clad once again in my Randle jersey I watched pensively as Favre, the guy who’d engineered so many last-minute drives to win games against Minnesota, engineered one to win for Minnesota. Farve and the boys marched down the field getting close enough for him to gun it into the end zone where he hit Greg Lewis in the air for the game-winning touchdown. The power of the jersey lives on.
The rational part of my brain concedes that a lone fan watching the game at home cannot affect the outcome of the game simply by wearing the jersey of the legendary former Viking John Randle. I know that. But it doesn’t feel like it. Me wearing that jersey to help the Vikings win seems to make as much sense as the championship-caliber Vikings needing to squeak out a win in the last seconds against a 49ers team that, though improved, is not generally considered a Super Bowl contender.
So, next week when the Packers come to town for some Monday Night Football fun I’m going to don my jersey and wish my team a good night and some good luck. Apparently it takes more than talent for these guys to win, let’s hope it doesn’t take more than the John Randle jersey.
Look for this post on vikingsmix.com under the name Skol Girl. They also have lots of other Vikings-related news stories and blogs. Check it out.