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Wonder if I can get my money back

By Staff | Jan 6, 2019

Die hard Vikings fan Cole Hartman, 3, of Winnebago, was disgusted with the game. Little does he know he is in for a long lifetime of frustration, disappointment and heartache as a fan of those Minnesota Vikings.

I was at the last Vikings game of the season.

Yeah, ‘THAT’ game.

Last weekend we celebrated our family’s Christmas and all three of my children’s birthdays in Mankato.

Yes, we have two kids who were born on Dec. 29, one on Dec. 30. All exactly three years apart to almost the same day. And to make it more strange, the two born on Dec. 29 were both delivered in Mankato by Dr. David Pope who’s birthday is, wait for it, on Dec. 29. And stranger yet, we bumped into Dr. Pope in Janesville in church on Christmas Eve. He turned 80 last Saturday, my son Nick turned 39 and daughter Katy 36.

But I digress.

It was oldest son Nate’s idea to celebrate his 42nd birthday in a special way. Back in September, he discovered there would be a Vikings game on his birthday, and he and his family would be in Minnesota, from their home in California, celebrating Christmas and birthdays and he thought we should all go to the game. We agreed and all got tickets. Except for Nate, that is. Turns out he switched jobs in October and was no longer able to make the trip.

He was lucky. The rest of us were not.

Going to the game did one good thing. It continued my streak of attending at least one Vikings game every year since, well, since back in the Metropolitan Stadium days. OK, it did another good thing. I got to spend some quality time with some of my adult children and their spouses.

The game, however, was not quality time at all. You probably watched it on TV if you are any kind of a fan of football, so you are well aware of how poorly the Vikings played.

They stunk up U.S. Bank Stadium. And it takes a lot of stink to fill that huge place.

One would think that a team playing for a chance to get into the playoffs would do their best. Nope, one would be wrong. The Vikings played their worst not best, in just about all facets of the game.

I am not sure why. We supposedly have some premier players, a couple of great receivers, multi-million dollar quarterback, really good running back, top notch defense. OK, maybe the offensive line isn’t so hot.

But still. These guys are highly-paid professionals. Maybe too well paid.

So here is my idea. Performance pay.

Let’s say you get paid $80 million a year to play football. You actually should get paid $40 million for the season. Then, if you have a winning record, you get another $10 million. Make the playoffs and it’s another $10 million. Get to the Super Bowl, $10 million more. Win the Super Bowl and you receive that final $10 million.

My guess is, you might play pretty darn hard to make that second $40 million. A lot harder than what I saw last Sunday at the Bank.

And besides my emotional investment in the team, I had a financial investment in the game. We were in the ‘cheap seats’ and our tickets were $102 each. Parking was $25. The cheap beer was $9.50 per can, with craft beer at $11.50. Want a Bloody Mary? The cheap one was $17.50 (regular size cup) and one in a ‘souvenir’ cup (same size but with celery) was $20. Food? A lousy little hamburger with tator tots was $14.50. You can get better food there, but the price goes up, of course.

And yet, despite the expense the place was packed (highest attendance ever, I heard) and there were lines at all the concession stands.

I can’t imagine a family of five going to the game, but I saw a lot of little kids there with their parents.

It is a pretty expensive outing. Like going to Disney World. But no rides.

So, besides performance pay, here is my other idea.

If the players don’t play well and we fans don’t get our money’s worth, the players take some of their multi-million dollar paychecks and refund our ticket cost.

I shall be waiting by my mailbox for my check. They can round it down to an even $100 if they want. After all, the half time show professional frisbee football (and yes I guess there is such a thing) was very exciting, way more so than the actual football game, with Minnesota pulling out a 3-2 victory over Chicago.

I know, I know. I whined about the Vikings last year when they first pulled off the Minnesota Miracle in the playoffs, then failed to show up against the Eagles and got whomped on.

I said then to just wait until next year. That should be the official slogan of the Minnesota Vikings.

Or the Minnesota Heartbreakers, as they should be called.