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The Vikings ‘Champions of Heartbreak’ Label Is Wildly Unsurprising


The Vikings 'Champions of Heartbreak' Label Is Wildly Unsurprising
Dec 23, 2018; Detroit, MI, USA; Minnesota Vikings fan. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports.

Last week, FootballOutsiders.com christened the Minnesota Vikings as the almighty “Champions of Heartbreak” in an analysis of all franchises’ struggles with gridiron anguish.

Specifically, Football Outsiders labeled 1966 to 1982 as the era of purple heartbreak — even though the franchise didn’t end disappointing outcomes in 1982.

The author of the article, Bryan Knowles, said about the Vikings, “The greatest team to never have been the greatest team. No matter what methodology you use, the 1970s Vikings were always going to come out on top.”

While it’s rather straightforward that the Vikings heartbreaking ways nominate the franchise for the “most heartbreaking” billing, two ongoing items prove the sorrow is ongoing.

Win-Loss Record but No Super Bowls

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The Super Bowl era began in 1966. Since then, the Vikings have been the NFL’s fifth-best franchise per win percentage. They’ve won 55.7% of all regular season games since the beginning of 1966.

And of the Top 16 teams per win percentage over the last 55 years, Minnesota is the only team not to win a Super Bowl. In order, according to win percentage, all of these Top 16 teams since 1966 have won at least one Super Bowl: Cowboys, Steelers, Patriots, Ravens, Packers, Dolphins, Broncos, 49ers, Chiefs, Raiders, Colts, Rams, Seahawks, Eagles, Commanders.

Snuggled between the Ravens and Packers for regular season win percentage are the Vikings — the only squad with no Lombardi trophy.

In short, Minnesota wins oodles of regular season games compared to other NFL teams but has no Super Bowl triumph.

6 Straight NFC Championship Losses; 4 Straight Super Bowl Losses

Eagles Quarterback Nick Foles following the NFC divisional playoff football game between the New Orleans Saints and the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019 in New Orleans. Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019.


Ten times in a row — with fans at varying stages of their lives — onlookers of the Vikings have saddled up in living rooms or in-person and watched the Vikings lose a championship game of some caliber.

When the Vikings stopped losing Super Bowls in 1976, they decided not even to go anymore, preferring losses in the games before the Super Bowl — six times consecutively. Ten times running, the Vikings have lost a Super Bowl-related game in 1969, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1987, 1998, 2000, 2009, and 2017. Zero wins occurred in those last 10 tell-all games.

What does this mean? It means Vikings fans’ pain is warranted. The cynicism isn’t derived from a phantom source.

At least the Vikings ability to remain relevant is consistent — along with the Los Angeles Rams, the Vikings are one of two NFC teams to reach at least one NFC Championship game in every decade since 1970.

The Vikings quest to cure woes of the past begins with a new head coach, Kevin O’Connell, versus the Green Bay Packers on September 11th.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

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