The Minnesota Vikings’ stunning, last-minute victory over the New Orleans Saints produced a photo of staggering beauty.
Quarterback Case Keenum posted an image on Twitter of his postgame embrace with receiver Stefon Diggs, who hauled in the 61-yard touchdown reception that lifted the Vikings as time expired.
Here are a few quick thoughts on why the moment and the photo feel so profound:
- The photo showed inhibited bliss and raw ecstasy. There’s disbelief, hope and exhilaration. And there’s a lot of love and appreciation. There were enough endorphins for America to share.
- “Dude, I can’t believe this!” Keenum told Diggs after the game. It was what his face revealed when he celebrated the play on the field immediately after it happened. He was truly stunned at what he and Diggs had just achieved — just like the rest of the game’s viewers. In the NFL, a league where players so often defer to clichéd language, raw moments like the one pictured above are rare and genuine. These players are human — they’re not characters built in Madden or flex-plays in your fantasy football draft.
- Keenum posted the photo just five minutes before Martin Luther King Jr. Day. During a season when racial tension escalated, I can’t help but appreciate a moment when a white and black player embrace, brought together by something they both love: football.
- You get the sense Diggs and Keenum actually felt like they were going to lose the game. Players tend to say they never thought they were out of a game. But if the Vikings knew they were going to win, they wouldn’t have celebrated with such vigor and appreciation for their achievement.
- Diggs and Keenum are unlikely NFL heroes. Keenum went undrafted in 2010 out of Houston. At 6-foot-1, he never possessed raw physical tools of a player like Andrew Luck, who went first overall in Keenum’s draft class. Diggs went in the fifth round out of Maryland, and has been an excellent pro. He wasn’t an underdog like Keenum, but Diggs also wasn’t a prospect like Cordarrelle Patterson. And yet Diggs has already achieved much more.