It could be called the golden year of Minnesota sports, when one writer referred to the Twin Cities as “the sports capital of the United States.”
From May of 1991 through April of 1992, Minnesota was the host of the NHL Stanley Cup Final, the U.S. Open golf tournament, the World Series, the Super Bowl and the NCAA men’s basketball Final Four.
It was an amazing 11-month stretch, one nobody figured would ever be replicated.
But if you can peer into the future … and allow for a few extra months … and allow your imagination to run wild, why can’t we have another run like that? Consider the possibilities:
• The 2016 Ryder Cup already is confirmed for Hazeltine National in Chaska. As great as the U.S. Open is, and as wonderful as subsequent PGA Championships have been, the Ryder Cup is on another level. The achievement level of every golfer on the course combined with the drama on virtually every shot makes this a wonderful potential starting point for a second Minnesota sports run.
• Let’s jump to a potential bookend: Super Bowl LII on Feb. 4, 2018. This would be about 17 months or so after the Ryder Cup, so the sports run would not be quite as compact as the one a generation ago. That said, Minneapolis is one of three finalists to play host to the game. Minnesota’s Super Bowl Bid Committee laid out some details of its bid Wednesday, and NFL owners will choose among Minneapolis, New Orleans and Indianapolis on May 20. While acknowledging there still is much to be learned in coming weeks, bid committee co-chair Richard Davis said he believes there are “really, really good odds” Minneapolis lands the game. So he’s saying there’s a chance.
• Staying optimistic, how about we throw in some Stanley Cup Final and a World Series in between? The Wild is obviously further along than the Twins in the process, playing in the second round of the playoffs this year, but both organizations have an abundance of talented young players who could be emerging stars in 2016 and/or 2017. Believing both could be good enough to play in championships requires a leap of faith, but it’s not crazy.
So it starts with the Ryder Cup, continues with a Wild berth in the Stanley Cup Final and a Twins berth in the World Series, then ends with the Super Bowl. And if we really want to dream big, maybe the Vikings become the first team in NFL history to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium … quarterbacked by Johnny Manziel, the No. 8 pick in Thursday’s draft?