The Minnesota Twins won their second World Series on Oct. 27, 1991 when they beat the Atlanta Braves, 1-0, in 10 innings in Game 7 at the Metrodome. Three months later, the Washington Redskins beat the Buffalo Bills, 37-24, in Super Bowl XXVI in the same stadium.
Until Thursday night that marked the last championship for either Minnesota or Washington, D.C., when it came to their NFL, MLB, NBA or NHL teams. If misery loves company, the Vikings, Twins, Timberwolves and Wild and Redskins, Nationals, Wizards and Capitals at least knew that they had something in common. (The Nationals moved from Montreal for the 2005 season and have been to the playoffs four times since.)
That ended on Thursday when the Capitals won the Stanley Cup by beating the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, 4-3, to break a 43-year stretch without a title. The Capitals had been positively Vikings-like with their ability to botch even the best opportunity before finally breaking through.
Minnesota now stands all alone by a wide margin when it comes to the four major men’s professional sports — the Lynx have proven that Minnesota is eligible to win titles by capturing four WNBA championships — with a 27-year drought.
The next longest drought for a state with NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL franchises is Arizona, but that doesn’t even date to the 1990s. The Arizona Diamondbacks beat the New York Yankees in the 2001 World Series and the NFL’s Cardinals went to the Super Bowl, but lost to the Steelers, in the 2008 season.
But at least Arizona had one of its teams reach a championship game. The Twins’ title is not only the last by a Minnesota team among the men’s big four, it’s also the last time the Twins, Vikings, Wolves or Wild got to a championship game or series.
After putting this note on Twitter on Thursday, a few people pointed out that Minnesota was without an NHL team from the time the North Stars left in 1993 until the expansion Wild began play in 2000. It also was noted that Atlanta hadn’t won a title since 1995 — the year that Braves captured the World Series — and that the city had all four major pro sports from 1999 through 2011 when the NHL’s Thrashers were still around. That franchise moved to Winnipeg for the 2011-12 season.
We can make all the excuses we want, but even if you decide to include Atlanta in this discussion, the fact is that city’s time without a championship goes back 23 years, not 27, and the Braves returned to the World Series in 1996 and 1999 and the Falcons went to the Super Bowl in 1999 and 2017. That 1999 appearance, following the ’98 season, came at the expense of …
Oh, forget it. This exercise is becoming too painful.
Eventually this Minnesota drought will be broken — we think. The way things currently look the favorite among the Big Four would be the Vikings, followed by the Twins, Wild and Wolves. The issue is the Vikings have not been to a Super Bowl since the 1976 season, when they lost their fourth one, and they have lost six NFC title games (1977, 1987, 1998, 2000, 2009 and 2017) since that time.
Maybe the Lynx need to deliver some pointers on what it takes to earn the right to get fitted for championship rings and throw a parade.