From: The Villages, FL
Just saw this thread, and of course (everyone who knows me here will nod to themselves) this is right up my alley. Thanks, Dan.
I'm 59. Earliest memories are a bit vague, dating to the '62-'63 seasons or so. Remember Paul Flatley at WR, Ron VanderKelen at QB, Alderman at guard, and that's about it. By '64, I was into it a bit more (age 8, born October of '56). I recall the Marshall wrong-way play at Kezar Stadium vs. the Niners. Had a bad headache that afternoon and was laying in misery on the living room couch when it happened.
Our identity was of kind of a rock 'em, sock 'em squad in those days. Toughness reigned. Lost a lot more than we won, but remember, we were a TRUE expansion team in '61, got the castoffs of all the other squads, plus the draft of course. Very tough sledding vs. the established squads in the NFL. The Bears, the Lions, and the Packers were all extremely successful and we had a mountain to climb to compete.
Crystal clear memories of the '68-'69 teams, which began the winning tradition of the MN Vikings. Had we had just a little better QB play (Tark was in NY) in those days, we'd have won at least a couple of SB's then. Kapp was "magic" for a year, but contract issues killed his time in MN. Shipped him out to New England. By the time Tark returned, we were 4 years into our "window" already. That window effectively closed when Drew Pearson pushed off in December, '75. Made the big game the next year, but we were too old by then. A nice 9-year run was over. Bud hung on for another 6 years, but never had the horses after Jim Finks split to CHI, where he built the Bears powerhouse of the mid-80's.
Was very proud of the '87 team, whose replacements lost all 3 tilts and cost us HFA for the playoffs. We upset N.O., pounded the mighty 49'ers, then fell ill and got edged by the Skins at RFK. Wrote Burnsie and brief letter of congratulations and respect, got a signed letter back thanking me for the note & for the fandom, plus a color photo of that team. When Doleman and Millard were at their peak, they were MONSTERS up front. We'd have pounded Denver in that Super Bowl, alright. The flu bug got that team.
Zimmer seems to have "it". This current squad impresses the heck out of me. Look out, NFL...the star of the north is nigh! Skol!!!