As you know, famed author of big thick thriller novels Tom Clancy died Tuesday at the age of 66. What possible relevance could this have to readers of a Minnesota Vikings blog?
Well some of you older fans will remember how Clancy became involved with the Vikings. In 1998, Clancy decided he was bored with making bazillions of dollars writing books about spies and tried purchasing an NFL team (cause bored rich guys just like owning sports teams). As it happened, the Vikings were up for sale at the time so Clancy submitted a bid. And ultimately he won the bid, reported to be around $200 million.
Unfortunately for Mr. Clancy, Mrs. Clancy at the time was in the process of trying to take as much of his money as possible during a nasty divorce, so the NFL ultimately had to reject Clancy’s bid. This came as a relief to some Viking fans who had become convinced that Clancy intended moving the team to Houston to replace the Oilers who had just left town. Clancy denies he ever intended moving the team to Houston, but who knows. In the end the club was purchased by another man with Texas ties, Red McCombs, for the tidy sum of $250 million.
And we all know what happened once McCombs got his hands on the team. His cheapskate ways quickly ruined the franchise, leaving it in a very sorry state before Zygi Wilf came along and took it off his hands. Thanks to Wilf’s commitment – largely financial, though less-so in recent years – the Vikes have enjoyed three playoff appearances including a legit Super Bowl run. And they have a new stadium on the horizon (with help from nicotine addicts). So it’s hard to complain about Wilf’s tenure overall, despite a few bumps in the road. But you can’t help wondering what would’ve happened had Clancy’s bid succeeded and McCombs never purchased the team in the first place.