The Minnesota House Government Operations
(Before we had drawing boards, what did we go back to? -- Steven Wright)
The Vikings are trying to say the right things, though I have to think it is becoming difficult at this point.
Lester Bagley, the Vikings' point man on the stadium push at the Capitol, said afterward that the team was "extremely disappointed" at the outcome. "I guess I would ask the state, what else would you expect us to do? What else can we do?" he said.
... Bagley said the team will continue to push the proposal in the remaining two weeks of the session. "But this is extremely disappointing, and it sends a strong message to the Vikings and the NFL about the situation," he said. He would not say whether the committee vote made the team's future in Minnesota any less secure.
My allegiances are clear. But I also maintain a semblance of common sense, unlike most politicians. This isn't about giving a billionaire (Zygi Wilf) a football stadium. Wilf is willing to put up almost half the money himself, and the state will make its share back over time, thanks to taxes paid by the team and by the players who will play games in the stadium.
(Most of you probably know this, but opposing players have to pay taxes for games they play in Minnesota. Not to mention the Vikings players do the same for their eight home games.)
Not only that, but the White Earth tribe has offered to pretty much cover the state's share. All we have to do is let them run a casino in the metro area.
(I don't want to get into a gambling debate, but I can't fathom why anyone would turn down the offer made by this tribe. The problem here is that the state is already invested in its lottery, and no one wants to do anything that could cut into the money pulled in by the state lottery. Either that, or people are afraid of this invisible backlash against gambling. You pick.)
If the unthinkable happens, and this team leaves, there will be many senators and representatives who face backlash in their districts, and it might be enough to cost some of them their jobs. If that's not bad enough, it's a virtual certainty that there would be action taken at some point to get a stadium built, and the NFL would find a way to get Minnesota another team.
What's the point? Why turn into another Cleveland, which wouldn't build a stadium for Art Modell, then suddenly found a way to get something done when the opportunity for an expansion team presented itself? Why be Houston, which lost a good franchise -- with an awesome logo -- in the Oilers, only to start over with the expansion Texans?
The Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans have both been to Super Bowls. The new Browns and Texans have combined for two playoff appearances in their franchises' histories.
Yeah, that worked out well.
Just build it, Minnesota. Get a hold of your representatives and make your feelings known. Don't let them dictate the ultimate fate of your favorite football team.