Jenn Ackerman for The New York Times
Tim Mahoney, bless his heart, thought his beloved but tormented Minnesota Vikings were, after a 41-year hiatus, headed back to the Super Bowl. And the Super Bowl this season is in Minneapolis. Could you imagine?
“I even said it myself,” Mahoney said. “I thought it was destiny.”
It was not. The Philadelphia Eagles clobbered the Vikings in the N.F.C. championship game, crushing the hopes of thousands upon thousands of Minnesotans. Those same Minnesotans this week will welcome legions of — what’s the proper word here? — fervent Eagles fans into their establishments, homes and public spaces, whether the sting of losing has subsided or not.
“If it wasn’t for the entrepreneurial opportunity, of course I wouldn’t want to have the team that just beat us coming into our place — especially since they’re rowdier than average,” said Tyler Olson, 32, who manages short-term rentals for owners and guests. “But I recognize that it’s part of business. Others may not agree, but that’s my choice.”
Olson was 6 the last time Minneapolis hosted a Super Bowl, in 1992, when Minnesota avoided this potentially uncomfortable situation by flopping at home in the first round of the playoffs. The 2017 Vikings tidied their path to a division title by knocking out the star quarterback of the rival Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers, and then defeated the New Orleans Saints in their postseason opener on a 61-yard touchdown as time expired. Against Philadelphia last week, the Vikings were favored by 3 points. They lost by 31.
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“If you’re going to hold a grudge against them, that’s not right,” said Mahoney, 56, an owner of the Loon Cafe, a popular Vikings bar in downtown Minneapolis. “There’s nothing wrong with a little friendly banter, and I’d hope it doesn’t escalate beyond that. Us and the Packers have been doing it for years. At the end we shake hands and have a beer and call it a good day.”
That might be true, but these circumstances are different. Never before had a team come as close as the Vikings to playing a Super Bowl in its home stadium. Imagine spending months planning a party and then being turned away at the door.
Source: The New York Times