Vikings/Packers Recap: A Dolphins Fan Walks into a Bar …
The first thing we see when the channel gets changed is Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews being interviewed by Michele Tafoya. One man yells “Go Packers!” I can’t quit looking at Clay Matthews’ facial hair.
It’s blonde, spindly and looks pubescent. I can’t hear the interview, but that facial hair is enough to make a man sick.
It’s 7:29 p.m. In less than three hours, the Vikings will march out onto Green Bay’s home field and pry the NFC North divisional title from the Packers’ cold, beaten hands.
This is what occurred in between.
Grizzly’s in Plymouth, it feels pleasant. It’s a great atmosphere, but not lively tonight. The bar is maybe three-quarters full. I’m in a two-person booth, alone, keester in one seat, computer bag and coat in the other.
A waitress approaches. She’s wearing a Ha Ha Clinton-Dix jersey. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is a Packers player, and that’s really his name. Her fingernails are painted green and gold. I’m wearing teal, as one of the few unashamed Dolphins fans left on Earth. They beat the Patriots today, which means I can leave out the rest of their season (but I won’t — watching them for the first 16 weeks was interrogation torture).
My Bloody Mary arrives. It’s kickoff time at Lambeau Field.
7:31 p.m. Packers kicker Mason Crosby sends the opening kick out of play for a touchback. Announcer Al Michaels astutely points out that many games begin with touchbacks, but fails to provide any top-level knowledge like what a football is shaped like or what the object is of this game.
7:33 p.m. Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater attempts his first pass. Jerick MacKinnon is open down the right sideline, but Bridgewater throws the ball to Sheboygan. Incomplete.
On the next play, Clay Matthews makes his first tackle since having a nocturnal emission two weeks ago. Vikings are forced to punt.
JK! Minny’s Adam Thielen takes the punt snap and runs 41 yards. As my wings arrive, the Vikings kick a field goal and go up 3–0.
Grizzly’s blackened wings take me by surprise. They’re charred up nice, gritty mouth feel, tender meat, thick sauce with formidible kick. Don’t sleep on Grizzly wings … or, shall I say, don’t hibernate on them.
7:50 p.m. Let’s go back to the announcers.
Al Michaels: Chad Greenway might retire after this season, after 10 years in the NFL.
Chris Collinsworth: Mumble mumble mumble BUT WHAT’S INTERESTING ABOUT THE PACKERS AND THEIR WIDE RECEIVERS …
I quit listening. I instead focus on Aaron Rodgers and his interesting group of receivers, who cannot get into the interesting end zone and must settle for an uninteresting field goal. The score is now an uninteresting 3–3.
8 p.m. Teddy Bridgewater throws an incomplete pass and the announcers call it “the best one-hoppers he’s thrown.”
8:09 p.m. Cut to a close-up of Aaron Rodgers, helmet half-on, chinstrap over his mouth like an S&M gag. Meanwhile, at my one-person two-person sad booth, I discover Hammerheart Flanary’s Brew is going for happy hour prices. And dooown we gooo …
8:15 p.m. A shoving match ensues on the field. Clay Matthews’ facial pubes appear to have grown wildly during the game, and now protrude from the back of his helmet. It must be cold in Green Bay.
Speaking of which, I decide it’s time for those potato skins I’d sworn off.
ONLY A HALF ORDER, THOUGH. I DON’T WANT A FULL, JUST A HALF. MY UNDERSHIRT BARELY FITS AND I CAN’T MAKE IT STOP. PLEASE JUST A HALF.
8:35 p.m. Oh, you have Steel Toe’s Wee Heavy on tap, IN A PINT, ON HAPPY HOUR!! As I gleefully scream inside, Minny kick a field goal. 6–3 Vikings.
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Meanwhile, at Palmer’s in Hibbing …[/caption]
8:46 p.m. “Good people at the Red Cross, they deserve your support.” First intelligent thing Chris Collinsworth says all night.
8:49 p.m. Teddy Bridgewater is called for delay of game after he can’t get a snap in time. Says Al: “I think I would’ve done that a little bit differently.” How is there not more demand for this man to become a head coach?
Halftime. Vikings 6–3.
9:12 p.m. I’m a “Twitter smack-talk” level of tipsy. Type. Send. Oh crap. Copy. Delete. Paste. Fix typo. Send. Giggle. When I look up from my phone, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is in the end zone and the Vikings are up 13–3.
The bar has dwindled to below half-capacity. I type “Ha Ha Clinton-Dix” on the Democrats’ Facebook page. The post is presently under review.
9:19ish p.m. Aaron Rodgers throws a pass away on third down, but it’s caught out of bounds by Vikings defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd. Floyd mimics a “Vikings first down” signal upon giving the ball back.
The fat men need to have the ball more often in the NFL. Their reactions to it are priceless.
9:27 p.m. Under pressure, Teddy Bridgewater makes a left-handed desperation throw. Bridgewater is not left-handed. Imagine how badly such a throw would look, and that’s exactly how it looked.
It’s intercepted. Micah Hyde catches it, stumbling, with an arm that had just been flailing behind his back. Al Michaels exclaims, “He’s just been signed by the National Highlight League.” A real card, that Al.
9:35 p.m. Aaron Rodgers drop back, and … is that a fumble? It’s a fumble! Vikings defensive back Captain Munnerlyn grabs it and trots into the end zone. 20–3 Vikings, but Adrian Peterson is reportedly injured and questionable to return.
9:43 p.m. The Packers find their way into the end zone, and the Vikings lead is chopped to 10 points. 20–10 Minny.
10:09 p.m. I type two lines’ worth of text into my laptop, go to the bathroom, and that somehow takes 20 minutes. The Packers kick another field goal, reducing the Vikings lead to a touchdown.
10:12 p.m. Cordarelle Patterson takes the ensuing kickoff and returns it 70 yards … only to get chased down by the kicker, and have the ball jarred loose by the kicker, and the ball now goes to the Packers …
10:35 p.m. The Packers are still marching. Time is running out. The Packers have no time outs. 5 … 4 … Rodgers is getting them to the line … 3 … 2 … Rodgers kicks his leg up and calls for the ball 1 … 0 …
He got the snap off in time. He scrambles in the pocket. It’s collapsing all around him. He finds an opening, throws … to tie the game, the ball screams toward the end zone … for a chance to win the division, players rush to make the catch …
… but nobody can. Vikings 20, Packers 13. The Dolphins fan settles up and walks out of the bar.
STILL GOT TIME? Around mid-season, I wrote about how the abundance of stink teams in the NFL has hastened the Vikings’ development into an NFL powerhouse.