The Minnesota Vikings beat the New Orleans Saints Sunday in an NFC Divisional Playoff game sure to go down as one of the greatest victories in pro football. In the last three minutes, the lead changed three times, and it seemed that with 25 seconds left on the clock, the Saints’ victory was assured, up 24-23.
But what seems like an assured outcome may never be so assured. On the last play of the game, Case Keenum threw up a long pass that connected with Stefon Diggs, and the rest, as they say, is history.
The pass went to the sideline in the vain hope that they’d have time to run out of bounds to set up a last-second field goal. When Diggs caught the ball, he was well within bounds. The Saints needed only to tackle him to end the game.
“I remember seeing a flash of Stefon breaking towards the sideline,” Keenum told Sports Illustrated following the game, “and I threw it right at the back of his head, trying to put it high on the back of his head, and he jumped up and I thought, ‘Oh wow, he has a chance at this.’ I could see his gloves up in the air. I can still see the image of his gloves going up for it. He catches it, and I'm like, ‘Oh man, he caught it!’”
Diggs grabbed the ball and somehow avoided stepping out of bounds. His defender also somehow missed the tackle, which allowed Diggs to run untouched into the end zone. Vikings won 29-24.
If the Saints had won 24-23, it would have been the capstone of an improbable victory for their team as they clawed from a 17-0 deficit to take the lead 21-20. After the lead changed hands in the last few minutes of the fourth quarter, it seemed the Saints were going to prevail. But the Vikings won, impossibly.
In the wake of their victory, Keenum spoke with Fox Sports’ reporter Chris Meyers, saying, “That’s one of the most special times of my life," according to CNS News.
“You ask me about this moment, what this moment has meant to me. It’s probably going to go down as the third best moment of my life behind giving my life to Jesus Christ and marrying my wife. And this is right there, close.”
In the spirit of MLK Day, Ronald Reagan made his birthday a national holiday 35 years ago.