The Green Bay Packers face the Minnesota Vikings in a NFC North showdown at the Metrodome tonight. It’s the final game between the two
teams at that facility.
The Metrodome will be demolished after the season and replaced with a new indoor stadium nearly twice its size and constructed primarily of glass. The new stadium will open for the 2016 season and the Vikings will play 2014 and 2015 at the University of Minnesota’s outdoor stadium.
It’s one of the loudest venues I’ve ever been in. Even as a member of the media, I get no relief from the noise. What the players hear, I hear. It’s an open air press box and it means 3+ hours of constant fan noise, loud music, blares of drums and a Viking horn. The noise is magnified so to speak.
There’s no question it gives the Vikings an edge. Even if the team isn’t that good, they can still count on some sort of advantage. Their .644 winning percentage since it’s doors opened is proof of that. That percentage ranks 6th in the NFL.
The Packers have done OK in the Metrodome. They’re 14-16 since the doors to the facility opened in 1982.
Many in the Green Bay Packers organization feel the Vikings piped simulated crowd noise through their P.A. system. They complained to the league and the practice supposedly stopped.
The game I remember most was the T.J. Rubley game. It was 1995, I was down on the field for the final 5-minutes of the fourth quarter. Ty Detmer had suffered a season-ending thumb injury and it left Rubley to finish a 24-24 game.
With less than 3-minutes left, Rubley and the Packers were headed towards field goal range. The Packers had 3rd and less than a yard and Mike Holmgren called for a quarterback sneak. Rubley decided another option would be better so he audibled and threw an interception to the Vikings Jeff Brady. The Vikings ended up winning the game on a Fuad Reveiz 39-year field goal. It was pretty much the end of Rubley and while there were more disappointing games to come, that is the one that stands out the most to me.
For the Packers tonight, losing to the Vikings would be a monumental upset. I certainly don’t expect it to happen. In fact, I think the Packers will pull away and win by more than two scores.
The end of the Metrodome. It makes me wonder what the next stadium will bring for the Packers.