A moment of levity in an otherwise tense and memorable Saturday night playoff game between the Packers and Cardinals in Arizona came courtesy of a young Minnesota fan who came to the game dressed in Vikings gear and carrying a humorous sign indicating he had bought tickets to the game before Blair Walsh missed his 27-yard chip shot the week before — a kick that almost certainly would have sent the Vikings to Arizona.
On Monday, I had a chance to catch up with Cullen Lynch, the 17-year-old Eastview High School senior who became TV-famous in an instant — and who found out 15 minutes of fame can have a downside even if it’s mostly fun.
First, to clear things up: Lynch said he didn’t really buy tickets to the game before Walsh’s ill-fated kick. But he did already have the trip to Arizona planned with his mom, Wendy, to check out colleges in the area. It would have been perfect had the Vikings been playing, since Lynch considers himself a big fan. But it was still an NFL playoff game, so when he and his mom found a good deal on tickets they decided to go for it.
“I was telling my friends that I might go to the game,” Lynch said. “They told me I should wear my (Vikings) stuff and try to get on TV. Right before the game, we found some pretty good tickets and went to Walmart and got the sign. I made the sign really quick because we were pretty short on time.”
Unfortunately, in his haste he misspelled the word bought as “bougt” on his sign that read “I BOUGT THIS TICKET B4 THE FIELD GOAL.” Lynch, who has a 3.6 GPA, said he even showed it to other fans before he got on TV and nobody noticed or bothered to correct him.
— #NFLPlayoffs (@SNFonNBC) January 17, 2016
As one might expect, NBC cameras found Lynch. Broadcaster Al Michaels lightheartedly quipped, “Well he won’t win a spelling bee, but we get the point.” (Screen grab via NBC).
Others on social media weren’t quite so nice, though Lynch says there are no hard feelings and even enjoyed a lot of the commentary about him.
“I don’t care what people think,” he said. “It wasn’t that big of a deal.”
But being on TV was a big deal to his friends, who started blowing up his phone almost immediately after he appeared. Lynch said he was “definitely surprised” by all the attention, adding that, “the sign was just supposed to be funny.”
As for the game itself? Lynch was in the fourth row near the end zone when the Packers pulled off their miracle Hail Mary to tie the game late … then breathed a sigh of relief, as many Vikings fans did, when Arizona won in overtime.
“It was a great game,” said Lynch, who was wearing a Teddy Bridgewater jersey and said he didn’t see any other fans in Vikings gear at the game. “It was awesome.”