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Number 10: Prep Bowl comes to the Dome early
The famous Halloween blizzard of 1991 shut down just about everything, and for a while, put the state high school football playoffs in jeopardy. But the Dome roof, miraculously, stayed inflated, and the tourney went off without a hitch.
"We had kids playing football in here at three or four in the morning," recalls the MSFC's Lester.
Number 9: Super Bowl XXVII, 1992 Final Four
Does anybody really remember Super Bowl XXVII? A slightly favored Buffalo Bills team lost its third Super Bowl to a stunningly efficient Washington Redskins team, which jumped out to a 24-0 lead early and won 37-24. Such a forgettable game that Washington quarterback Mark Rypien, a freakin' Canadian, won the MVP trophy. (Former Gopher place-kicker Chip Lohmiller, who had experience in the Dome, did kick three field goals for the 'Skins.)
The most remarkable thing about the contest was that it was held in Minneapolis. It was only the second time a northern city had hosted a Super Bowl (Pontiac, Michigan, home of the Silverdome, being the other). The Dome was also the smallest stadium to ever host a Super Bowl.
Just three months later, the 1992 NCAA men's final four tournament graced the Metrodome. The game was nothing to cheer—Duke beat Michigan 71-51—but hosting a Super Bowl and a Final Four put the Dome in a party of one.
Number 8: Come-from-behind wins against the Bears, Packers
The Dome has seen its share of blown leads by the Vikings, but on at least two occasions, the home team enjoyed memorable comeback victories.
In 1992, the Chicago Bears led at the half 20-0 when the Vikings rallied to score three touchdowns to pull out the victory. "This is the game that Ditka blew a gasket and went off on Jim Harbaugh," Bagley recalls.
He also cites the nail-biter of a win versus Green Bay in 1993. Down 13-12, Vikings QB Jim McMahon took a snap with 13 seconds left and no timeouts. Despite the fact that he had two legendary receivers in Cris and Anthony Carter on the field, McMahon looked deep for Eric Guliford, an unknown 160-pound receiver standing all alone on the 11-yard line. McMahon fired to the rookie, setting up a field goal, and the Vikings won. It was the only reception for Guliford all season.
Number 7: U2 raises the roof
By October 1997, the Dome had become a venue for large rock concerts—the Stones had already played there twice—but still had a deserved reputation for muddy sound. That didn't stop U2.
"They had a sound technician who looked like a reject from a shelter, but the guy figured out how to deal with sound in the place," Lester says. "He put up some sort of transformation tower to keep the sound moving."
Whatever the techie did, it worked: The concert was considered by many to be the best ever performed in the Dome.
Number 6: Chris Carter's 1,000th catch
Carter's first two catches of the game came on the Vikings' first possession, which ended with a touchdown on the ground by Robert Smith. On the next possession, Carter caught a short pass in the red zone—a five-yarder—setting up the Vikings with first-and-goal at the four-yard line.
Then came his fifth: an over-the-shoulder fade route to the corner of the end zone for a touchdown. Carter's friend Michael Jordan was watching the game from a suite, and even His Airness must have marveled at the athletic prowess.
Number 5: Timberwolves inaugural season
One of the great insults in Minnesota sports history—and there have been many—is the departure of the NBA's Minneapolis Lakers to Los Angeles. Some 30 years later, the Minnesota Timberwolves brought professional basketball back to the Twin Cities, and for the team's first year, the home games were played in the Dome. One November 8, 1989, Michael Jordan scored 45 points as the Bulls beat the Woofies 96-84, but the crowds kept coming. April 17, 1990, saw the third-largest crowd in NBA history—49,551—flock to what was a surprisingly decent basketball venue. That season, the T'Wolves drew 1,072,572 fans total, an NBA record that may never be broken.
Number 4: Randy Moss acrobatics
In Randy Moss's debut game at the Metrodome, his first TD was a spectacular juggling catch where he tipped the ball to himself on a 48-yard bomb. He finished the game with two touchdown catches—a first by a Viking rookie—to kick off an electrifying Metrodome career.
Another Moss highlight that Bagley calls "one of the most amazing plays that I have seen live," happened on October 19, 2003. The Vikings were tied with Denver 7-7 with no timeouts and 12 seconds left in the first half. On a third-and-24 play from their own 41-yard line, Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper found Moss 44 yards down the field. Two defenders started to wrestle Moss to the ground, but as he went down, he dished a perfect no-look lateral to running back Moe Williams, who headed to the end zone as time ran out.
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