Zags

Jalen Suggs' game-winner reminiscent of the Minneapolis Miracle after Gonzaga's collapse

Zags
IMAGN

I am a Minnesota Vikings fan through and through. 

No team, professional or college, means more to me, or my family, than that franchise. 

When Stefon Diggs scored an improbable touchdown as time expired during the 2017 Divison Round, I made sounds I did not know I could make. 

Nearly a decade after the 2009 NFC Championship and Bounty Gate, the Vikings got its well-deserved revenge over the New Orleans Saints and looked poised to win the first Super Bowl in franchise history. 

Vikings play-by-play announcer Paul Allen's radio call has been ingrained into my memory: "It's a Minneapolis Miracle."

It was one of the happiest moments of my life, until it wasn't.

One week later, a backup quarterback torched the NFL's top defense en route to a 37-7 victory in Philadelphia to send the Eagles to the Super Bowl, to make it even sadder, in Minneapolis. 

Now, when it comes up on my Twitter timeline every January 14th, I certainly smile but quickly come the memories of watching the Vikings get throttled one week later. It's a fun memory, but truly nothing more. 

It did not lead to anything.

This past weekend, Jalen Suggs' game-winner gave me uncanny deja vu. A miracle game-winner as time expired against a team who delivered that fanbase one of the most memorable heartbreaks of their lives. Everyone remembers UCLA coming back from a 17-point deficit during the 2006 Sweet 16.

Adam Morrison's crying is one of the most memorable moments in Gonzaga basketball. 

 
CBS Sports

Suggs' game-winner was a moment of jubilation for a fanbase who has Morrison's tears ingrained in their memory. Gonzaga finally got revenge over UCLA.

You can hear how much it meant to Zags fans in, coincidentally, Morrison's voice.

With Suggs' shot, the Bulldogs remained undefeated heading into the National Championship and were one win away from being the first undefeated team in men's college basketball since Indiana in 1976.

This was Gonzaga's year to win the program's first National Championship.

Instead, the Zags were crushed in the National Championship by Baylor, 86-70. In just seven minutes, the Bears gave Gonzaga its largest deficit of the season and never looked back. 

It was arguably the most disappointing National Championship performance in recent memory. 

Zags fans, I know how it feels, and being so close to a championship makes it hurt that much more. 

In fact, the Vikings and Zags share a lot of similarities beyond these moments. Gonzaga ranks as one of the most successful college basketball programs without a National Championship. Minnesota is the only team in the top-17 in all-time win percentage to not have won a Super Bowl (they rank 7th). 

Similar to the Minneapolis Miracle, Jalen Suggs' game-winner will be remembered for years to come and get reposted on Twitter for every ensuing anniversary, but the shot will never have the same sense of joy it did prior to the 2021 National Championship for Zags fans. 

They'll still enjoy it, but the heartbreak from the dud laid in the season's most important game will forever sting. 

Take it from someone who has gone through the same thing.