Two of the most tortured sports cities in North America will go to battle when the Philadelphia Eagles host the Minnesota Vikings in Sunday’s NFC championship game. Which home city is more deserving of a shot at a Lombardi Trophy? Let’s break it down.
The Vikings have lost an NFC-high four Super Bowls. But at least that means they’ve won four conference title games. Jim Kelly, who lost four Super Bowls with the Bills, told me a couple years ago that he now looks back on those perceived failures as great accomplishments.
You don’t have to win the Lombardi Trophy to be successful, do you? Ricky Bobby isn’t so sure.
The Eagles have lost two Super Bowls. The Vikings have never won a championship at all, while Philadelphia won the NFL Championship in three pre-Super Bowl seasons (1948, 1949 and 1960).
The Vikings have an all-time record of 470-390-10, and they’ve participated in 48 playoff games. The Eagles have an all-time record of 550-539-23, and they’ve participated in just 41.
In other words, Vikings fans have enjoyed a lot more success. At least in the last half-century.
But at least Philadelphia has the Phillies? They won the World Series in 2008 and got back there in 2009, but they’ve been bad since. The Flyers haven’t won a Stanley Cup since 1975 and the 76ers haven’t won an NBA title since 1983.
Meanwhile, a sports team from Minneapolis-St. Paul hasn’t even appeared in a championship since 1991. That’s when the Twins defeated the Braves in the World Series. Minnesota hockey teams have never won a Stanley Cup and the Timberwolves haven’t won an NBA title.
Villanova won the NCAA Tournament in 2016. And Penn State is a top-notch college football program again. The University of Minnesota men’s basketball team hasn’t been to the Sweet 16 since 1990 and the football team hasn’t won a championship since 1960.
Yes, Philadelphia lost the Warriors. But they won a title first and enjoyed some years with Wilt Chamberlain, and they weren’t good for like 35 years in California. Minneapolis lost the Lakers, who continued to be a top-notch NBA franchise. Philly got the 76ers a year after losing the Warriors, while Minnesota went went three decades without a pro basketball team. Minneapolis also lost the beloved North Stars of the NHL in the modern era.
Conclusion: Minneapolis-St.Paul is more desperate. They’ve just had more tough breaks, especially with the Vikings (four Super Bowl losses, the Hail Mary, Gary Anderson, Blair Walsh, losing the NFC title game in overtime in 2009), and they’re mired in a much longer drought.
Plus, unlike the Eagles, the Vikings have never won a championship, even before the NFL came along. Yes, they’ve been in contention more, which is fun, but they’ve experienced a lot more heartbreak.