Sports Illustrated is continuing their “Football in America” series sponsored by State Farm to highlight different states and their football culture from the NFL to youth football. They crewed a camera operator in Minneapolis to hit the field with the Minnesota Vikings, University of Minnesota Golden Gophers, Cleveland High School Clippers, and Phelps Falcons Youth Athletics.
Minnesota Vikings “Ground and Pound”
SKOL Vikings! Our camera operator headed to a Minnesota Vikings game to get a feel of the football culture at their tailgate and during a live game. We waded through the crowd of fans to talk about their loyalty. The Vikings joined the NFL in 1960 but have never won a Super Bowl. They came close this past season but fell short. The loyal fans have not left their side though, even in the freezing temps. We then hit the locker room with some of the “purple people eaters” to talk about their passion. Some pro hall of famers to come from this team are Warren Moon, Brett Favre, and many more. We then sat on the sidelines in the U.S. Bank Stadium dome to watch a game. You really could see their passion on the field.
UM Golden Gophers “Row Your Boat”
Go Golden Gophers! As one of the oldest college football programs, the University of Minnesota knows the importance of history but also knows when to change things up. They hired P.J. Fleck as their new head coach last season. Fleck played college football for Northern Illinois University and then played pro football for the San Francisco 49ers. He is excited to be at the “Twin Cities” and is “looking forward to rowing with you forward as we continue our time together.” Even though they just had a 5-7 season, they are looking forward at the great things to come.
Cleveland Clippers “Friday Night Lights”
Clipper Pride! When you think of Cleveland you probably think of Ohio. But there is a little town in Minnesota that’s also named Cleveland. Its residents say there isn’t much to do in the small town except watch high school football. The Cleveland High School Clippers give “Friday Night Lights” a whole new meaning. Our camera operator attended a game and watched as the crowds laid their blankets down on the “hill” to watch their friends and family members play. We also spoke with a former player who joined the army and lost both his legs in combat. Now that he’s back he appreciates the small town he came from. Playing football gave him strength, and his community gave him continued strength and encouragement.
Phelps Falcons Youth Athletics “Go Team”
Go Falcons! Phelps Park in Minneapolis was being used for criminal activity. The Phelps Activities Council decided to make some serious changes for the community. They developed Phelps Falcons Youth Athletics. We chatted with some of their players and they said their “teammates are brothers,” and that they “don’t know where they’d be without football.” We also chatted with some of their coaches and they said “when we first started we had to get glass and rocks off the field,” and that now they “are teaching them to better men.”
From small-town high school football to a packed NFL stadium, Sports Illustrated covered it all in Minnesota for their latest “Football in America” piece. We were honored to help tell the story of football culture in this great (and cold) state.