Minnesota Vikings home games are way too loud. I would say this even if I were 20-40 years younger than my current golden age years.
This reporter’s game-day experience at The People’s Stadium is like children’s book author Judith Viorst’s book title: It was a terrible, horrible, very bad Sunday as the non-stop eardrums-splitting noise level begins before the gates open and lasts for several hours.
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communications Disorders (NIDCD) says anything at or below 70 dBA (A-weighted decibels that human ears can hear) is considered safe. Anything above that for long periods can be bad and lead to hearing loss.
During the game, the stadium’s huge video board loudly encouraged fans to be as noisy as possible, registering as high as 119 dBA.
Fans of all races and ages dressed in purple and gold, or white and purple—the Vikings’ team colors. Many dressed from head to toe in all types of festive garb—we saw a youngster wearing white face paint to match his purple clothes as he and his family headed to the game.
“The reverberating beats of the Vikings War Drum…the atmosphere creates goosebumps as the larger-than-life video culminates with a screaming [player], head thrown back and arms raised”: so proudly explains the game-day program.
It doesn’t mention someone blowing a large horn before the game like a call to worship. It doesn’t mention how fans say “Skol!” like saying “Amen” in church. Instead, besides the noise, the whole atmosphere reeks like something along religious lines, like pagan worshipping.
An admitted Pagan, Laura LaVoie wrote in 2010, “I contend that football is…a Pagan sport. You can even see each team as having a patron god or goddess.” She specifically noted Odin, which Wikipedia describes as “king of the gods” and the Vikings’ god.
Bleacher Report’s Bobby Brooks wrote in 2020, “Stadiums resemble a place of worship… The behavior of NFL fans often has striking parallels with religious traditions.”
“Much like churchgoers,” said then-University of Texas doctoral student Tanya K. Jones in 2018. “Americans offer up their Sundays as a day of worship of their favorite team, players and sport.”
We found several Vikings fans who agreed to answer our questions without using their real names. We asked if the games are too loud and if the game is indeed a religious experience for them.
“Albert,” a 21-year-old Black male: “It’s very energetic, like, it’s not like any other place. They’re gonna get loud. They’re gonna yell. That’s a part of the culture.”
“Ben,” a 65-year-old Black man: “I’ve been attending games since 1961. It’s changed over the years.”
“Carl,” a 31-year-old White man dressed in Viking garb from top to bottom: “It’s just something me and my dad do. It’s all about having fun. We love it.”
The Action Network, a sports betting website, says in a new report on all 30 NFL cities that Minneapolis is the sixth-worst city for NFL game-day experience. They factored in ticket costs, stadium-quality, and “positive social sentiment.”
I didn’t need this report to give last Sunday’s game my top-worst rating for the Vikings games I’ve attended.
Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and award-winning sports columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.