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MNF at TCF Bank Stadium: Bears at Vikings

21 December 2010 No Comment

When the MetroDome’s roof collapsed on Sunday, December 12 and the game location for the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings game was in question I was planning to attend the game. However, when it was announced that the game would be played at Ford Field, where I had just gone the week before, I decided to forego the trip.

But, when it was deemed that the MetroDome would not be ready for the Bears and Vikings game for Monday Night Football I was ready to travel. Rumors were swirling that the game would be played at TCF Bank Stadium – the home stadium for the Minnesota Golden Gophers. I booked a plane ticket on Southwest Airlines that would get me to Minneapolis in time for the game while returning Tuesday morning to get back for work.

Beg, Borrow and Deal
With the change of venue the Vikings needed to address the ticket situation since TCF Bank Stadium seats about 14,000 less fans than the MetroDome. The official policy was that fans would enter the stadium on a first come-first served basis. Anyone holding a 100-level seat at the MetroDome would be allowed to sit on the lower level of TCF Bank Stadium and would pay $77. The value of upper level seats would be $29.

This first come-first served basis made me nervous about flying to Minneapolis for a game that I might not be able to get into. Not because I would not be able to buy a ticket but because I would be refused entrance to the stadium.

For some reason it hit me that I should look for tickets for the game on craiglist.org in Chicago – not Minneapolis. I found a listing from a woman who had two tickets she was selling for $50. Since I only wanted one she wanted $30 each (which the Vikings had now stated was the face value).

I accepted the offer for several reasons. My original plan was to land in Minneapolis at 4:25 pm and the weather report was calling for snow. The risk of my flight being delayed, not sure what tickets would be for sale outside TCF Bank Stadium and whether or not I would gain admittance to the stadium were all factors in buying the ticket in Chicago on Sunday afternoon. Plus, the price was pretty good even though I felt I could get a better price in Minneapolis.

Flight to Minneapolis
On Sunday afternoon I was pretty concerned about the snow storm coming to Minneapolis Monday afternoon. So I changed my flight from the 3 pm departure to the 7 am departure. It cost me an additional $66 but I figured it was worth it so to ensure I made it to Minneapolis in time for the game.

I landed in Minneapolis shortly after 8 am. My friend that I stayed with in early October for the Northwestern football game, told me to stay with him. But he lives in Eden Prairie, MN – about 20 miles from downtown Minneapolis. I would have stayed with him but rental cars were actually more expensive than one night in a downtown hotel so I decided to stay in a hotel for the night.

I booked my hotel on Hotwire.com since I did not care where I was staying. The hotel ended up being the Hilton Minneapolis and Towers located at 1001 Marquette Ave. which was a reasonable walk from the Minneapolis light rail.

Day in Minneapolis
I met a friend at Ike’s Food & Cocktails at 11 am for lunch. After lunch, I went back to the hotel to take an afternoon nap and hop on a couple of conference calls for work.

Pre Game Dining
I decided to head to the stadium early to check out the area around the stadium. Remember, for the Northwestern game we “tailgated” at our friend’s house and never got to check out the area around the stadium.

There was a Buffalo Wild Wings (located at 2001 SE University Ave) directly across the street from the stadium so I walked over there. This place was awesome and definitely was not here for the Northwestern football game on October 2. It was huge and they had an outside area. I asked one of the servers when the place open and they said the prior Monday – meaning they opened and never expected there to be a game until the September 10, 2011 when the Gophers host New Mexico St.

The best part about hanging out at Buffalo Wild Wings was the fact that I could see how many people were entering the stadium. After the gates opened at 5:00 pm, I could tell the upper deck was never going to fill up. Thus, I was able to stay at Buffalo Wild Wings, keep warm, drink beer (remember there were no beer sales inside the stadium) and not worry about getting into the game early – especially since it was freezing!

TCF Bank Stadium: Bears at Vikings

Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings
Walking into TCF Bank Stadium was an unbelievable experience. It was so random to see the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings on a college football field ready to play Monday Night Football.

The highlight of the game was Devin Hester setting an NFL record with his 14th kick return touchdown, with a 64-yard punt return.

The next “highlight” was the fact that everyone at the game could possibly say they saw Brett Favre play for the last time in an NFL game. He surprisingly started the game, threw a touchdown pass and an interception and then was knocked out of the game in the second quarter with a concussion as Corey Wootton sacked him on the freezing turf.

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