Nate Bauer The Hockey Writers
Wild Taking Over Minnesota Sports Scene
Since 1989 when the Minnesota Timberwolves joined the NBA, the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul have been home to all four major sports. Yet success has always been in short supply in the land of 10,000 lakes. The Vikings and Twins have been in Minnesota since the early 60’s and between the North Stars and the Wild, the state has had hockey for all but four years since 1967. Yet only TWO championships have ever been won, both by the Twins in 1987 and 1991.
With that in mind, it makes sense that people here like to poke fun at the diseased nature of its local pro sports teams by satirically dubbing the town “Loserville, USA”.
The Minnesota Vikings have long been one of the most popular teams in Minnesota, but the Vikes have rarely experienced success at the highest level. In their history, they’ve been to the Super Bowl 4 times… And have lost all 4 times.
In 1998, the Vikings had arguably one of the best teams in NFL history flush with offensive weapons like rookie wide receiver Randy Moss and all-pro running back Robert Smith. They were 15-1 in the regular season but lost in the NFC Championship game in heartbreaking fashion to the Atlanta Falcons after Minnesota kicker Gary Anderson — who hadn’t missed a field goal all year — misfired late in the game and allowed the Falcons to win in OT.
In 2009, Brett Favre guided the Vikings to the NFC Championship game again and again the Vikings lost in overtime, this time to the New Orleans Saints.
Recently, the Vikings have made the playoffs only once in the previous five seasons and were quickly eliminated that year. While things are again beginning to look up for the Purple and Gold with the Teddy Bridgewater era starting, it will likely be a couple of seasons before they are true contenders again.
With a brand new stadium being built for the Vikings in downtown Minneapolis, the NFL figures to play a prominent role in the Minnesota sports scene for decades to come, the lack of success has taken away from the allure of the Vikings.
The Minnesota Twins have claim to the only two championships in Minnesota sports history with their two world series titles in 1987 and 1991, but few teams in the league have been worse than the Twins the last half-decade.
The Twins have lost more than 90 games four years in a row and have only one winning season in Target Field, their new, outdoor stadium in Minneapolis. Fans have lamented the organizations apparent unwillingness to address the product on the field after the tax payers ponied up a few million dollars to help build that shiny new stadium.
Things aren’t looking much better this year, having started off 2-6 and setting a new franchise record for number of consecutive innings without a run scored to start a season.
Things are looking as bleak as ever in “Twins Territory” and while the organization boasts several “star” prospects, things will remain negative around Target Field until competent baseball returns.
The Minnesota Timberwolves came to town in 1989 and have been perhaps the most diseased franchise in sports since. They have only won 2 playoff series in their entire history; and those were both in the same year (2004).
The T-Wolves have been a picture of consistency in all the wrong ways. Whether it comes via poor trades, questionable head coaching appointments, or generally head-scratching personnel moves, they’ve been an organization that always seems to handle things the wrong way. I mean, how else can you explain what is now over a decade of atrocious basketball?
Things are hardly better this season. Although Andrew Wiggins looks like the consensus rookie of the year, the team is terrible yet again and will likely finish the season with the worst record in the NBA. Maybe things will turn around one day but for now, an unfortunate status quo remains in place for the Timberwolves.
In a town with so much despair and losing, the Minnesota Wild has been a beacon of light for the winning starved town. The Wild has made the playoffs three consecutive seasons and is a popular dark horse pick to do damage in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season.
With Minnesota already being a hockey mad state, having a successful team at the highest level for a few years in a row has elevated the hockey hysteria even more in the State of Hockey. The Wild has always been one of the most
popular teams in the area but since Zach Parise and Ryan Suter signed matching 13 year, 98 million dollar contracts on July 4th, 2012, the team has undoubtedly become the most popular team in Minnesota.
The emergence of some promising young players combined with the veteran talent has created palpable excitement throughout the entire state. With the playoffs starting today for the Wild, the enthusiasm for the team is about to reach an all time high. All they need now is a Cup.
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