Where were you? Who were you with? Did you hug, kiss, cry, high-five, chest-bump, silly dance or just stand there paralyzed in disbelief?
Twenty-five years from now, you still will remember. You’ll never forget your exact location or the spontaneous eruption of an entire state teleporting from despair to delirium in a blink of an eye.
You will remember Sunday as if it was yesterday because epic sports moments have that effect. They sear our minds, our hearts and our souls. Sometimes in painful ways, as Vikings fans know all too well.
Maybe that helps explain the volcanic release of euphoria. The Vikings walked right to the edge of the cliff again. More heartbreak loomed. Fans anticipated a painful outcome because that’s how things always end. In misery.
But not this time. Nope, something magical happened, a perfect alignment of stars.
Ten seconds, one throw, one catch, a missed tackle, a sprint to ecstasy.
A day later you ask, did that really happen? Even though you’ve seen a replay of the Minneapolis Miracle, what, a hundred times by now? We’ve watched it so many times that it rolls through our mind’s eye in slow motion.
Case Keenum lofts a pass downfield near the sideline. Stefon Diggs jumps and grabs it. Saints safety Marcus Williams does a flyby with his head down. Diggs turns, steadies himself and then pandemonium. Noise. Deafening noise. Like standing on a runaway with a 747 taking off.
No NFL playoff game ever has ended in that fashion. A game-winning touchdown with zero seconds left on the clock. So when people say, ‘I’ve never seen anything like that,’ they’re not embellishing.
Literally, no one ever has seen anything like that.
“When I woke up,” receiver Adam Thielen said, “I had to make sure that it wasn’t a dream.”
Minnesotans woke up in a dream state Monday. The mood was a beautiful blend of sleep-deprivation and slap-happy. “Seven Heaven” left everyone on Cloud Nine. Office production probably resembled the day before Christmas as co-workers relived the drama together, too distracted and emotionally exhausted to concentrate on business.
Social media became a communal pep rally with fans sharing videos of their celebrations. They were a hoot. We saw the Skol chant at a nursing home. And young kids dog-piling each other. And celebratory tears and beers.
In a matter of seconds, scenes of pure jubilance ignited simultaneously in living rooms and barrooms all over the state. It felt almost cathartic, a chance for fans hardened by heartache to break free of negativity. The team’s tortured history felt a million miles away.
“I’m glad that we could give them something good to cheer about,” coach Mike Zimmer said.
His own players struggled to make sense of it. They knew something remarkable happened. Trying to articulate their emotions could never do it justice.
“It’s a crazy feeling,” linebacker Eric Kendricks said.
“This is the first time ever I am out of words,” defensive end Everson Griffen said.
“It’s not good for your heart,” offensive lineman Jeremiah Sirles said.
Oh, Minnesota’s heart is beating just fine today. The dream of a Super Bowl home game remains alive. This was only one step. The Minneapolis Miracle guarantees nothing more than one more game this Sunday in Philadelphia for a chance to play one more game at U.S. Bank Stadium. An ending like Sunday’s gives the appearance of destiny.
“There are a lot of things that happen in sports,” Zimmer said. “That’s why you fight until the end. You never know what will happen.”
In the rare instance, something truly unique happens. Memories of life events often fade with time, but sports moments have unusual staying power.
Maybe it’s a game, a certain play or a stadium visit. We probably all have our own personal ones available for recall in crystal clear detail, as if it just happened yesterday.
The Vikings provided us one Sunday. A surreal ending when hope seemed lost. Shock came first, then a wild party.
Nobody who witnessed it will forget it. Not next week, next month or next year. Moments like that stick with us a lifetime.