And then, when the editors in the southwest wing of the 12th floor office tower thought they could take no more, the plane slid off the runway.

Are you kidding me?

Such an overused phrase. Overused phrases drive editors bananas. And yet, we couldn’t help ourselves. The Vikings charter slides off the snowy runway in Appleton, Wis., and yet another sports reporter has to answer that question.

No, not kidding.

That would be 2016’s hashtag of choice if it were on social media: #notkidding.

Covering sports in this town is hectic enough oh, hello, Major League Soccer, sure come on in without the never-ending logs of unpredictability being thrown on our sports market fire. Not complaining. We know it could be worse.

Our friends in other corners of the newsroom have been shaking their heads at the very notable deaths of this year, many of which have landed on the front page. We feel that pain, too. We shared in the grief in losing Prince, our most stylish sports fan. Later we lost the Sheriff, Denny Green. And then we lost some kings and queens: some of our games’ best — Ali, Arnie, Pat Summitt, Gordie Howe.

But in 100 years, when they boot up the Hologram History Machine and wave their fingers to turn the virtual reality dials to “Sports” and “2016” and “Minnesota,” they won’t believe what we all went through.

“The kicker didn’t just miss a field goal in the home playoff game ...” one Hologramist will say to the other, “he missed it from 27 flippin’ yards! And it was negative-6!”

And that’ll be just the first entry.

Worst year ever? It was not without celebratory moments. Medals made the trip home from Rio. NCAA and Big Ten trophies were won on campuses. Every corner of the state had a great 2016 high school sports moment worth sharing.

Most memorable year? 2016 is a heavyweight champ.

The frozen missed field goal. The Xanax drug ring in Gophers wrestling. A boycott in Gophers football. “Total system failure” at Target Field, and just miserable failure at Williams Arena. The “same old” Wild tanking in the playoffs, now winning every time out. The NBA’s next “It” team, the Wolves, finding a new way to lose every time out.

The Lynx don’t lose often, but they had a doozy this year: losing the last game of the finals, at home, by one point, with the coach shredding the officiating on the way out.

Teddy, then Adrian, then 90 percent of the offensive line, then the offensive coordinator, then the kicker, then the coach’s eye, then the fancy new stadium’s paneling ... like, what kind of ancient cursed civilization is buried under that place?

Someone caught a 5-foot muskie in Pelican Lake! Yet another police investigation of athletes! Bud Grant wore short sleeves in subzero temps! That’s nine years’ worth of exclamation points in one calendar year!

Most memorable year, or most exhausting. ... If we printed the score from this year in our Scoreboard page today, it might read: “Twenty-sixteen def. Sports editors, unanimous decision.”

2017, would you mind hitting the snooze button for us? And can ya try to keep the planes on the runway?

Sincerely,

(What’s Left Of) Your Star Tribune Sports Editors