Stefon Diggs‘ improbable touchdown to beat the Saints in last year’s Division Round resulted in some gold for the Vikings after all. The “Minneapolis Miracle,” as the 61-yard catch-and-run has since been dubbed, earned last night’s ESPY award for Best Moment.
It was a play the defied a lifetime of Vikings disappointment. Too often in the history of the Minnesota fan, their team snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Staubach’s Hail Mary, Anderson’s missed kick, Favre’s interception, Walsh’s missed kick. All of these served as reminders that Vikings fans never win anything.
And yet, with one perfect throw, one acrobatic catch and one horribly misplayed tackle, the Vikings took a step away from misfortune, out of the muck of heartbreak and into the echelon of some of the NFL’s most historic plays. So as Diggs and Case Keenum took the stage to accept the award, no one remembered the fact that the team lost the next game in lopsided fashion. No one remembered the years of missed opportunity. They simply remember the moment. They remember the way they felt in the immediate aftermath and for the days following. The ultimate result was irrelevant. That feeling is what earned enshrinement in ESPY lore.
“If I can leave you with anything,” Diggs said in his acceptance speach, “it’s don’t stop playing until the clock hits zero. It’s crazy, it’s cliché, but anything can happen.”
Keenum has since moved on to the Broncos and Kirk Cousins is the Vikings’ new quarterback. But even if Keenum falters in his new role, he will always have a place in Vikings lore. More than that, his name will be synonymous with an iconic NFL moment.
The other moments in the category were the championship-winning buzzer beater by Notre Dame’s Arike Ogunbowale in the women’s basketball title game, the Las Vegas Golden Knights winning the Western Conference in their first NHL season and 16-seed UMBC knocking off top-ranked Virginia in the NCAA tournament. Diggs and Keenum also earned a nomination for Best Play, which they lost to Ogunbowale’s buzzer beater.