It’s conference championship weekend in the NFL, and it may not be possible for either of the Sunday games to top the ending of the Minnesota Vikings victory over the New Orleans Saints in the divisional round last weekend. Whether the excitement of last weekend can be topped, Sean Payton has been extremely gracious in defeat, especially considering the stakes on the line when Stefon Diggs made a play that will be remembered for years to come.
Just in case any readers have spent the last week living under a rock or in a coma and have yet to see a replay, here it is.
Stefon Diggs with the walk-off game-winning touchdown for the Vikings #NOvsMIN pic.twitter.com/K2BQlSW3l5— Athlete Tweets (@AthleticDesires) January 15, 2018
And in making that play, Diggs not only earned the right for the Vikings to to play in the NFC Championship game for just the second time since realignment, he helped raise a significant amount of money for charity. While several charities have benefited following the Vikings victory, one of the most high profile and amusing instances of fundraising came from Payton himself enjoying a little laugh at the expense of the Saints.
After the Saints loss to the Vikings, a Minnesota furniture store, International Design Center, posted the following tweet to its account, trolling Payton while also looking to potentially score free advertising following the manner in which the Saints fell short.
Let us know if you want to be comfy, coach. #MinneapolisMiracle #ouryear pic.twitter.com/h6YE4MDldY— International Design (@IDC_MN) January 19, 2018
Beyond looking for free advertising, part of the reasoning behind trolling Payton may have grown out of the fact that Payton was taunting Vikings fans with a Skol chant after Wil Lutz hit a field goal to give the Saints the lead with less than thirty seconds remaining in the game.
January 16, 2018
In spite of what could have brought about a very negative reaction, Payton responded in well played manner and with good sportsmanship.
Ok, enough already. I want the couch! But it's to be donated to @childrensmn along with 25k via @thomasmorstead foundation. Pulling for Zim and @Vikings.#Skol#recovering— Sean Payton (@SeanPayton) January 19, 2018
Feeling better already.
Following Payton’s response, @childrensmn, or Children’s Minnesota, which describes itself as “one of the largest free-standing pediatric health systems in the United States and cares for the most amazing people on earth - children,” had received over $200,000 in donations on the week as of Friday. That is far more important than any football game, and shows just a bit of the impact NFL coaches and players can have off the field.
In any case, whether or not either of the conference championship games is anywhere near as entertaining remains to be seen, but hopefully there will be something that comes out of one of Sunday’s games that has as positive an impact on the world as the fundraising effort for Children’s Minnesota.