“How much was Carrie Underwood paid for this? Was it the NFL or the station who paid her, and what is she going to think when she looks back on this 20 years from now?”
This year’s Sunday Night Football opening montage is like a Spring Break tattoo come to life. Who are they using for a test audience? (Looks at 2016 election polls) You know what, forget I asked.
I’m at Grizzly’s in Plymouth as the Vikings and Packers are set to kick off Sunday Night Football in the Vikings’ new stadium. On Facebook, several friends have posted pictures of the view from their seats, or of themselves in their seats.
Behind them appears to be a half-empty stadium. I’m sure that’s not the case, but it seemed that way. Maybe that’s because season passes for the tailgate lot were $750, an individual parking ramp spot was $45, and God knows how much a ticket is for a game at US Bank Stadium. Am I too far off assuming the cheapest one is $400? I’m not, am I.
Ooh! My first drink arrived.
First star of the kickoff was former Vikings head coach and Walking State Capitol Bud Grant. Can we start a petition to make Bud Grant the new state flower? I don’t even remember the last time I saw a Lady Slipper.
Second star was Vikings kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson, who made it onto and off of the field without pissing anyone off. Third star was NBC commentator Cris Collinsworth; who, in a stunning display of composure, said “Aaron Rodgers” without reaching orgasm.
12:03: The Vikings defense appears to be on their way to a banner night when they force a fumble. Vikings Safety Andrew Sandejo picks up the ball and holds it just long enough to fumble it right back to the Packers.
If you say it right, “Sandejo is so dumb” almost sounds like you’re saying “Sandejo” twice. Just keep doing it until you see what I mean.
9:52: Did I mention this was the debut of Rams future franchise quarterback-turned-bust-turned-Philadelphia savior-turned-pariah-turned-emergency-turned-starting quarterback for the Vikings? Sam Bradford has been a lot of things (including injured, a lot).
At 9:52, he’s sacked by Cee-Lo Green, who stuck around after a DJ stint at The Exchange last weekend.
Meanwhile, at the bar, a man is running his hand through his (very thin) hair incessantly while a glass of red wine sits behind him. He’s slouched over, legs propped up on the seat next to him. This is what drinking alone looks like in Plymouth: same sadness, different glass.
7:42: The announcers kill some time by discussing whether the Packers running back is fat. His name’s Eddie Lacy. Hang onto that.
On the field, Vikings defensive back Terrance Newman commits two straight pass interference penalties. The announcers repeatedly mention how old this man is. He’s 38. No, seriously, 38. Trust me, 38.
5:39: Packers QB Aaron Rodgers finds wide receiver Jordy Nelson for the game’s first score. Packers 7, Vikings 0.
I order my second Bloody Mary. Grizzly’s Bloody Marys are not extravagant or adventurous, but I’ll tell you what they are: extra-spicy and $3 on Sundays. Hit me!
The first quarter ends with the Vikings sacking Aaron Rodgers, and part of the Carrie Underwood jingle is played. What’s worse: that, or Rick Ross’ “Suicide Squad” song? You tell me.
12:14: They’re looking at Sam Bradford’s hand. OH MY GOD, HE’S ALREADY INJURED! Wait … wait … okay, false alarm.
11:51: The Vikings have an offensive lineman named “Fusco.” Did you know actual clowns being run out of business now, because scary clowns are freaking people out everywhere? Fusco.
9:23: Bradford’s in the locker room! Bradford’s in the X-ray room! That’s okay because Shaun Hill played pretty well last week. Bradford’s back on the field!
8:07: Al Michaels touches briefly on the injury to Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, and makes an off-hand remark about how Sam Bradford could be a long-term solution here, too. I say “off-hand” because I bet a lot of Vikings fans briefly debated slitting their wrists in that moment.
— Humann (@HumannTouch) September 19, 2016
GEEZ and Bradford hits receiver Stefon Diggs for a 44 yard gain!
The Vikings tied the game at some point. Vikings 7, Packers 7.
It’s the two-minute warning already? Where the hell have I been?
00:31: Vikings kicker Blair Walsh is brought onto the field. Cris Collinsworth: “He needs to make this kick.”
I’ll take this moment to defend Cris and Al. When you’re live in front of a camera or microphone, no matter how long you’ve been doing it, you can’t fill a broadcast (no matter how short) with next-level wit. It’s impossible. Sometimes, all you’ve got is “He needs to make this kick.”
I mean, he wasn’t wrong.
Walsh makes the kick. Vikings 10, Packers 7 at the half. Let’s pay tribute to Prince.
— Stephanie Sutton (@Steph__Sutton) September 19, 2016
10:34: Blake Shelton speaks for “The Voice” in a commercial. It’s the first time I’d ever heard him talk and people really pay to hear this guy sing? Woof.
9:18: Vikings second-year defensive back Trae Waynes takes Terrance Newman’s cirriculum a little too seriously, causing penalties like it’s his job (which, technically, he was getting paid).
Eddie Lacy runs for a big gain. Two fun facts about Eddie Lacy:
1. His Twitter handle is @Lil_Eazy_Ana_42
LACY WANTS SOME CHINA FOOD, STAT.
— Karlee Kanz (@KarleeKanz) September 19, 2016
6:55: The Vikings force another fumble! It’s loose, and Vikings defender back Captain Munnerlyn has the ball right between his hands! How delightful! Watch as Munnerlyn’s hands slowly close around the football and secure it in his sweaty, rock-hard bosom.
No, Captain, you have to … no, quicker please … Captain, PLEASE CLOSE YOUR HANDS ON THE FOOTBALL!
The Packers recover.
4:57: In a Geico commercial, kids play Marco Polo with Marco Polo. I know I could Google this and save myself some embarrassment, but how do you even play Marco Polo? Like, what’s the object?
2:27 Adrian Peterson gets injured. He can’t leave the field on his own, and two guys help him bunny-hop into the locker room. Despite this, it takes about 20 minutes to officially announce he’s out for the game.
2:11: Diggs gets free for a touchdown! Beautiful catch, nice throw from Bradford. Collinsworth calls Bradford’s performance thus far “borderline unbelievable.” It’s only borderline, you see, because it’s happening and therefore believable. Vikings 17, Packers 7.
On the ensuing Packers possession, Trae Waynes gets flagged for pass interference again. I swear, that kid is —
— Destry Sangregorio (@destrysang) September 19, 2016
What was I saying?
With Minny up 17-7, the quarter starts with a big pass from Rodgers to Nelson. In the booth, Collinsworth nearly injures himself trying to say “betwixt and between.”
I bet Bud Grant nails that phrase every time.
12:41: The Vikings leave the entire field open for Rodgers to run down and into the end zone. I’m honestly baffled. It’s like Pinky and the Brain lured Vikings defenders back into the locker room with free T-shirts.
Vikings 17-Packers 14, and I just found a clip of “Pinky and the Brain” in German. It’s … emotional.
6:53: It happens again! Vikings D-lineman Brian Robison knocks the ball out of Aaron Rodgers’ hands … and, this time, the Vikings recover!
6:09: Sam Bradford always looks cross-eyed when he’s got his helmet on. Ever notice that?
5:11: Matt Kalil gave up a sack. Twitter, come at me! Better yet:
— Negative Dave (@neg_dave) September 19, 2016
3:19: The Packers continue marching. An eerie light is cast upon the butt-face of Rodgers. This is exactly the type of heartbreak that would open this new stadium, isn’t it? Shit.
1:50: Where was I on that Trae Waynes tangent earlier? Ah, that’s right.
HE JUST MADE A GAME-WINNING INTERCEPTION WHICH PROVES HE IS THE CHOSEN OF THOR AND HIS MISTAKES ARE MERELY PAWNS BEING MOVED TOWARD MANKIND’S ASCENT INTO FOOTBALL VALHALLA.
Do you realize the Vikings only need to win four Super Bowls to match the Packers’ total? Let that sink in.
The clock expires and I go home.