For most football fans, this Sunday should serve as the climactic finish to an exciting NFL season. Even for football casuals, or those who couldn’t care less about the sport, Sunday can be a big day. Bring on the parties full of nachos, wings, and beer!

There’s no question Super Bowl Sunday has its own special place on the sports calendar. There was even a momentary push to have the day after the Super Bowl become a national holiday. Would they call it “Recovery Day?” That’s what most Americans would need a day to do – recover.

Can you imagine how badly someone like me, someone who eats, drinks, lives, breathes (and of course works in) sports would need that day?

About that…

You see, I’m a Vikings fan.

Not only am I a Vikings fan, but a Vikings fan born in 1979. In fact, I was born the same day as the nuclear accident on Three Mile Island. Perhaps that became symbolic of my choice of a favorite NFL team.

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Generations before me talk about four excruciating Super Bowl losses. For me, those seem like mythical times.

While I understand those fans not wanting to have to potentially go through a fifth loss, I’d give it a whirl. How bad can it be? I’m good at enduring losses.

In my world, the Super Bowl is the game played after my favorite team loses in an embarrassing fashion or in a heartbreaker. The annual question is – how many weeks after?

Due to all of this, I look at Super Bowl Sunday as – Sunday.

This year, on the day of the big game, I have Gophers Basketball tickets. I’ll say it again: Gophers Basketball tickets. I’ve played pick-up games in elementary school and local church gymnasiums that were more competitive than Ben Johnson’s team is right now.  Yet, a trip to Williams Arena is currently my top Sunday priority.

Barring any unforeseen craziness, the basketball game and commute back to Duluth will end in time for me to see the Super Bowl. I’ll certainly still watch it. I don’t feel I can be a credible host of a sports radio show and not watch one of the biggest events of the year.

Before the radio show, watching was not a guarantee. I vehemently refused to watch two Super Bowls in my lifetime. The Vikings fell just short despite fantastic seasons in 1998 and 2009. The losses to the Falcons and Saints still strike a nerve. There have obviously been other close calls, but not on the same level.

While the Saints went on to beat the Colts, I played video games until social media helped tell me the game was over. As the Broncos pummeled the Falcons, I had purposely pulled an all-nighter as a student at Winona State the night before -- and was sound asleep during the game. This was not the only bad decision I made at Winona State. I was proud of myself then and find it all juvenile now.

What if those were iconic games? Jealousy looks terrible on me.

Despite my admitted jealousy and overall lethargic attitude toward the big game, even I have Super Bowl memories.

Judge me accordingly, but I’ve been a Tom Brady fan since his Michigan days, which provided me a solid decade of having “a dog in the fight” for the Super Bowl. I’m also the type of Vikings fan who even cheered against the Green Bay Packers when they competed in “Pitch Perfect 2,” so obviously John Elway’s run remains etched in my memory.

I also have Super Bowl memories that were a much bigger deal off the field. When the game was recently played at U.S. Bank Stadium, the halftime show was performed by Justin Timberlake. Some of the dancers in Timberlake’s performance were coached by my sister, Jill Leste. I beamed with pride as the most talented person in my family who contributed to such a huge national moment.

There was a Super Bowl that seemed to put “The Northland’s Sports Page” radio show on the map. Dave Cook, Topher Davis, and I received invitations to a party in Duluth that was co-hosted by many of our all-time favorite Vikings.

I’m pretty sure New England won that night, but I can assure you that being engrossed in conversations with Keith Millard, Rickey Young, Henry Thomas, Carl Lee, and Ted Brown topped anything I saw in the game. Even Tommy Kramer singing “Amarillo by Morning” (nearing the wee hours of the morning), had me grabbing my cell phone to record it as fast as possible.

It was that party, along with a summer trip to Ridgeview Country Club, that laid the foundation for us to get guest appearances from former Vikings with relative ease. Developing friendships with those legends was (and perhaps still is) my Super Bowl.

How long will that have to be enough? Hopefully, someday soon Kevin O’Connell and Brian Flores can make Super Bowl Sunday into the biggest sports day in my life.

As for this year, it’s just another Sunday. Maybe I’ll even watch “Any Given Sunday.” It’s a decent film, and I’m an Al Pacino fan.

Spoiler alert: Minnesota loses in a fictional postseason there too. Maybe football is scripted?

I promise you the radio show is not. Talk to you Saturday morning!

Brian's show, 'The Northland Sports Page', can be heard Saturdays from 10 am to noon on the FAN 106.5 FM/560 AM. You can catch previous episodes on the Northland FAN On-Demand area of our website or on our mobile app.

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