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The Greatest Game I Ever Attended

July 19, 2010

Using both hands, I can count the number of NFL games I have attended. In fact, I have only passed through the gates of two NFL stadiums: Lambeau Field and the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. I have seen the Packers and the Vikings face off with each other more times than I have seen those two teams play separately. However, the greatest football game I have ever attended involved only one of those two teams.

It was Sunday, November 4, 2007. The San Diego Chargers were in town to face the Minnesota Vikings. It is the first and only time I had been to the Metrodome when the Vikings were not playing the Packers. As my wife, her sister, my brother-in-law and I settled into our seats, I can’t say I felt all that excited about the game; other than watching LaDainian Tomlinson, I didn’t have much interest in the Chargers. Substitute Adrian Peterson for LaDainian Tomlinson in that last sentence, and that would describe my feelings towards the Vikings back then as well. But it was time well spent with family, so I sat back and enjoyed the action.

After Tomlinson and Peterson matched each other’s touchdown plunges, the game was tied at 7-7 at the end of the first quarter. With seconds remaining in the second quarter, Ryan Longwell lined up for a 59-yard field goal. The attempt fell short and Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie made a spectacular play to catch the ball before it landed out of bounds behind the end zone. Cromartie then eluded multiple would-be tacklers and ran the ball back 109 yards for a touchdown leaving the Vikings down 14-7 after the first half. After a poorly executed first half for both teams, I recall the Vikings faithful encouraging their team with a chorus of boos as Childress and the Vikings retreated to the solace of their locker room.

The second half, however, was a very different story. Adrian Peterson was, simply put, ‘the man’ on that Sunday afternoon. After being held to 43 rushing yards in the first half, Peterson ran all over the Chargers defense in the second half. Peterson rushed for an NFL single-game rushing record 297 yards on the day, with 253 of those yards coming in the second half. I recall Peterson being unstoppable. He was bigger, faster, and better than any other football player on the field. Every time he touched the ball, the Metrodome crowd would rise to their feet and erupt in cheers as Peterson rattled off rushes for 64-, 46-, and 19-yards with ease.

It wasn’t until Peterson’s third touchdown scamper put the game out of reach, and my sister-in-law suggested we leave early to beat traffic, that I realized we were witnessing history. As we made our way toward the exit, I held back and watched Peterson rip off another 35-yard run. He was now two yards away from breaking Jamal Lewis’ single-game rushing record. I corralled everyone back to the railing overlooking the field, and we watched Adrian Peterson plunge up the middle for a three yard gain. Adrian Peterson’s final record-breaking rush of the day was a routine dive up the middle but a history-making finale to an amazing performance.

It was the single best football performance I had ever seen in person. I don’t know if I’ll ever see anything like it again.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 19, 2010 10:08 am

    I remember watching highlights of that game – it was more like a video game. The Chargers were a decent team on top of it, which makes the performance even more incredible. That is cool to have seen that in person, even though it was a Viking.

    • July 19, 2010 10:22 am

      You’re right; before this game the Chargers defense was supposed to be one of the best in the league. I think AP changed that notion pretty quickly.

      I never thought any game would trump seeing the Vikings vs. Packers at Lambeau in 2006 when the end zone crowd rejected Fred Smoot’s Lambeau leap attempt and proceeded to give him a beer shower, but Peterson’s performance was simply amazing.

  2. July 19, 2010 11:12 am

    Good read Max-I also remember seeing highlights of this game and being just amazed at the performance of Peterson this day.

    Pretty good day, even if it was a Vikings game

  3. July 25, 2010 9:28 am

    SKOL TO YOU SIR! I was in the seat i have been in for 11 years at the game! I said at the beginning of forth quarter he could break the record, the guy to my left said NO WAY! Loudly! I said YES WAY! even louder. When he did it! That SD fan was no where in site. Shame on him. History was made and he wasn’t even around to witness this Awesome event. More time than i care to remember NFL history happens to our Vikings on the other side of the game. This time it was with us! Everytime i talk with AP i THANK HIM FOR COMING TO THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS! SKOL! Vikingdav

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