Because it was nice out and I needed to get out of the house, I decided to make Sunday an annual "Outdoors Adventure Day."
I puttered around Bayfield for a while and, though I planned on making it back for at least the end of the Minnesota Vikings game in Arizona, I was stuck in a rural part of northern Wisconsin with no cell service through the ending. When I pulled in to Duluth and checked my phone, it had become clear that something terrible had happened.
Greg Joseph pushed a game-deciding field-goal attempt wide right and the whole state of Minnesota huddled in a corner. On KFAN, Paul Allen bellowed, then backtracked, as a great call was interrupted by actual events.
Yes, I grew up in the Upper Peninsula watching the Packers. Previous editions of myself would have greatly enjoyed Sunday's events. You're reading the words of someone who knows Allen's "Here it is! The season's on the line!" monologue word-for-word in both the original and Tecmo Super Bowl-dubbed versions. I named a fantasy football team "Ponder Passing" once not because of Christian but because of PA's call of Brett Favre's interception in the 2009 NFC Championship Game: "But why would you even ponder passing?! You could take a knee, and kick a 56-yard FIELD GOAL! THIS IS NOT DETROIT, MAN! THIS IS THE SUPER BOWL!"
Here's the thing, though. On Sunday night, I felt nothing.
It's not because it's just Week 2, or because I'm still shell-shocked by how bad the Packers looked last Sunday against New Orleans, nor is it because I've come to like the way Allen's voice adds a certain urgency to games I have no stake in. Also, I find his daily radio show to be, for the most part, upbeat and entertaining.
It's because the kicker thing just isn't fun anymore.
Between Gary Anderson, Doug Brien, Blair Walsh, Daniel Carlson, Kai Forbath and now Joseph, it's just cruel. This is about as original a downfall as it is for Sideshow Bob to step on an upturned rake in The Simpsons.
First, it's not like that field-goal attempt was the biggest chance, it was just the last chance. As a veteran of several Detroit Tigers Bullpen Disasters, the events are similar in their outsized impact because there is no do-over. Minnesota had several chances to win that game, not the least of which was 1st-and-10 at the Arizona 19 with 44 seconds to play and a timeout.
Second, it cuts both ways. How soon we forget that Fuad Reveiz made walk-off field goals to beat the Packers in the Metrodome in 1992, 1993 (the Eric Guliford Game) and 1994 (the T.J. Rubley Game). Maybe they just need to see if Fuad has any kids with a strong leg?
And the Vikings aren't even the only team in the division with kicker problems. How soon we forget Bears kicker Cody Parkey's "Double Doink." The Lions wish they could get close enough to blow a game on a missed field goal.
Finally, it's just bad form. If there's one thing I've learned from six years outside of the official bounds of Packers country, it's that, if my own preference has failed or is unavailable, I do gain a small amount of satisfaction from an outcome that makes several of my friends happy. I'd never put it in front of the Packers winning, but at least it makes for more pleasant conversation around the workplace the following week.
Isn't this world difficult and frustrating enough right now? Maybe if I extend a little kindness in this column, Vikings fans won't reflexively celebrate every potential mini-downfall to the east. Then again, that's probably as likely as a successful game-ending field goal.
Brandon Veale is sports editor of the Duluth News Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.