As a back-up center on the 1998 Vikings, Matt Birk had a front-row seat for Gary Anderson’s infamous field goal miss in the NFC title game, a miss that denied the Vikings a chance to make the Super Bowl for the first time in a generation. Fast forward to today. Birk, now a member of the Baltimore Ravens, once again had to stand helpless and watch a kicker boot away a chance for his team to make the Super Bowl. In the waning seconds against New England, the Ravens’ Billy Cundiff missed a potential game-tying kick wide left, sending Tom Brady and the Patriots back to the Super Bowl and Birk probably into retirement.
That is one disappointing set of career bookends to say the least.
If Birk does retire, he can at least say he was witness to two of the more exciting conference title games ever played. He can also say he was there for one of the most dog-like championship game performances in history, the Vikings’ 41-0 dismantling at the hands of the Giants after the 2000 season. But Birk won’t be able to say he played in a Super Bowl, and I’m sure that smarts for the former All Pro. It was a great career for Birk nonetheless, and I’m sure he has a stellar future in broadcasting ahead of him if he chooses to pursue that.