It was a lucky play.
After leading 17-0 at halftime and watching it slip away, the Minnesota Vikings avoided a heartbreaking collapse thanks to Case Keenum’s 61-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs as time expired against the New Orleans Saints.
The play gave the Vikings a thrilling 29-24 victory, propelling them into this weekend’s NFC Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Don’t forget, this is the Vikings we’re talking about — a franchise without a playoff victory since 2009 before this season. Now, they are one step away from potentially hosting the Super Bowl.
And it is all because of a lucky play.
Funny thing is most championship teams have at least one of those moments along the way to a title.
A stroke of good fortune went the New England Patriots’ way back in 2001 when an unheard of tuck rule and a pair of Adam Vinatieri field goals in a heavy snowfall resulted in 16-13 overtime win against the Oakland Raiders in a divisional playoff game.
The Patriots went on to win their first of five Super Bowls that season.
Back in 1999, Sean Elliott’s “Memorial Day Miracle” with nine seconds remaining against the Portland Trailblazers in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals gave the San Antonio Spurs an 86-85 victory. The Spurs won the series and captured their first of five NBA championships weeks later.
In 2004, Boston Red Sox pinch runner Dave Roberts’ stolen base in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankee is considered a turning point, allowing the Red Sox to become the only MLB team to ever rally from a 0-3 hole in the playoffs.
Boston proceeded to win the World Series and collected two more titles since.
In the NCAA Tournament, it happens almost every year.
If a line is traced from the champion back through the bracket to its first-round opponent, inevitably a buzzer-beater can be found somewhere along the way.
Luck isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it often feels like a sign of destiny.
Every great team has to catch a break at some point during their run, and when it comes in dramatic fashion, it can create a sense of invincibility within a team capable of creating confidence, poise and trust.
Championship teams survive scares. They overcome desperate situations, and they defy the odds.
Usually, that requires a little luck.
Sometimes, despite miracle plays or miraculous comebacks, the good fortune is all for not with some of the most memorable moments in playoff history being provided by teams and players who are eliminated soon after.
That might be the case with Vikings as they are still tasked with challenges, potentially needing to dethrone the NFL’s most recent dynasty in the Patriots to win the Super Bowl.
If they do, though, Diggs’ walk-off touchdownto beat Saints will go down in history as the most pivotal point of the entire season.
And it was just a lucky play.