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Vogt's Notes: This is a kind of fever I can definitely handle

My love of professional football games has returned.

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Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

I have a fever.

Football fever finally returned, and I couldn't be happier.

Anyone who has tuned into the NFL playoffs the past three weekends knows what I’m talking about, to a point.

To recap briefly, the six playoff games I watched the past two weekends were well played, close games with all decided by field goals or touchdowns as time ran out. Two games were won in overtime.

Not one game was a blowout.

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That can’t be said for a lot of Super Bowl games I've watched.

Now let me explain what I mean by my football fever finally returning.

I’ve always enjoyed watching professional football. I’ve been to Vikings games at the Metrodome in Minneapolis and Met Stadium in Bloomington, but decided long ago games are more fun to watch on TV with the commentary and closeup views.

I’m sure I got my love of the game from my parents, and mostly my dad - a lifetime, diehard, unwavering Chicago Bears fan in good times and bad, bad times.

Sunday football games were always on at our house, and I remember attending a few games at Met Stadium with my family.

I recall venturing to a game with my dad on an extremely cold day, and how the hot chocolate I drank warmed my body down to my toes with every sip. (To be clear, I was too young for schnapps back then!)

I’ll never forget when we watched the Bears vs. Vikings at the Metrodome and the appalled look on my dad’s face when my sister and I started cheering for the Vikings over his beloved Bears. Hey, we both grew up in Minnesota!

Then 2020 came.

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My dad died in January that year, less than two weeks before the Super Bowl. I was sad he didn’t get to see that game. My husband and I watched it with my mom, and we enjoyed the game and remembering my dad.

Then the 2020-21 football season came.

And I lost all interest in football.

The COVID-19 pandemic was in full swing with coronavirus restrictions affecting games. There was controversy surrounding players who “took a knee.”

And my dad wasn’t around.

I’m not sure I watched a game last season, beyond the Super Bowl.

I was sad because honestly, I can't find much on TV these days for entertainment. Football was something I enjoyed watching, or at least having on in the background while keeping busy with something else.

But not last season.

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I’m not sure what changed, but this season we started tuning in again and enjoying football (as much as any Vikings fan could, anyway). My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed watching playoff games while jigging lines in our fish house on Leech Lake.

And I’m so happy that my mom's football fever also returned. We texted back and forth about how exciting the playoff games were, and we watched one game together this past Sunday.

My mom revealed she remembered the first Super Bowl being played, and we started talking about the Vikings’ Super Bowl appearances. I was actually surprised to learn they made it to the big game four times in the 1970s. (I thought it was only twice.) I was just a kid during those Super Bowls who preferred to play with friends over watching the games those years.

Those were the years when many Vikings players lived in our community and I went to school with many of their kids. I remember those players signing autographs at some event at our elementary school.

So I’m happy to have football fever again. It’s been a fun part of our winter weekends.

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Nancy Vogt, PineandLakes Echo Journal Editor

Now I just have to decide who I want to win the Super Bowl - the Cincinnati Bengals, who have never won a Super Bowl and had a 2-14 record just three years ago, or the Los Angeles Rams, only because it would be fun to see Matthew Stafford win after his years with the lowly Lions.

You can bet I'll be tuning in.

Nancy Vogt, editor, may be reached at 218-855-5877 or nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Nancy.

Opinion by Nancy Vogt
Nancy Vogt is editor of the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, a weekly newspaper that covers eight communities in the Pequot Lakes-Pine River areas - from Nisswa to Hackensack and Pequot Lakes to Crosslake.

She started as editor of the Lake Country Echo in July 2006, and continued in that role when the Lake Country Echo and the Pine River Journal combined in September 2013 to become the Pineandlakes Echo Journal. She worked for the Brainerd Dispatch from 1992-2006 in various roles.

She covers Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore and Crosslake city councils, as well as writes feature stories, news stories and personal columns (Vogt's Notes). She also takes photos at community events.

Contact her at nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
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