History majors know Romans didn’t paint hairy chests and crush cans of Busch Light while watching lions devour the condemned in the “Flavian Amphitheatre.”
That’s not what they called it. Ask a Roman where he was headed dressed like that, and he’d use a different name. He had season tickets to the Coliseum.
Sunday night the purple faithful will pack US Bank Stadium, but the football mega-church in downtown Minneapolis still doesn’t have a nickname.
This won’t do.
The rival Green Bay Packers arrive from a stadium with a poetic, honorific title (“The Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field”). Meanwhile, the hometown Vikings play in a place with a name, US Bank, that sounds more appropriate for hotel conference rooms in Bloomington.
Rules suggest sporting lore cannot begin in a sporting venue without an unofficial name brandished by the faithful. But sobriquets are slippery business.
Do you opt for deprecatory description (“The Barn” for Williams Arena)? Or affectionate truncation (“The X” for Xcel Energy Center)? What about the classic subject-noun phrase (“The House That Ruth Built” for Yankee Stadium)?
Even the maligned Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome was antecedent to a number of handles: Homer-Dome, Metrodish, the Dome. With “The Bank” already foisted upon TCF Bank Stadium, we need to get creative with the christening.
Here are a few options I’ve weighed out.
The Vault. A growing favorite around the local football bloggers, this apparently refers to the giant glass doors that — when opened — will project the voice of play-by-play man Paul Allen’s voice over the nearby Mississippi watershed. Pro: Sounds like a place you keep weapons or money or jeweled skulls. Con: Not a place you play football.
The Crystal Cathedral, Home of the “Three Hours of Power,” the Purple Mega-Church, or Purple Golgotha. The stadium’s clear plastic roof is the largest in North America and reminiscent of the California televangelist Robert Schuller’s old glass church. The see-through roof brings us closer to the heavens. Pro: The “N” in NFL might as well stand for Nietzsche. Con: Schuller’s palace was sold after bankruptcy filings.
HP LaserJet Stadium. The first time I could see this thing from I-35, I wanted to take a baseball bat to it, like the copy machine scene in Office Space. Pro: Architecturally accurate. Con: Reminds people they work in an office.
House of Pane. Hey, it’s punny. (It’s a window joke.) “House of pain” is also what football players at my high school told us marching band kids we would enter if we marred the field while rehearsing our halftime show. Pro: The fifth favorite of Vikings blog (dailynorseman.com). Con: Not as funny as #8 on the list (Winterfell).
Drakkar. Suggestion from a Reddit poster who says this is Old Norse for a group of Viking ships. Pros: Cool hashtag for Instagram of über-fans donning leather breastplate, horn helmet, and holding baby wearing purple ear muffs. Cons: Esoteric fluff.
Dead Bird House. As many as 988 million birds die annually from window collisions. You think translucent patios are bad. What about giant-glass-stadiums-near-watersheds!? Pro: Intimidating to the many aviary mascot teams (Falcons, Seahawks, Ravens). Con: Sounds like a German film company.
Stadium Sandcrawler. Alludes to mobile fortress driven by the druid-types across the deserts of Tatooine. Pro: Sticks with Star Wars theme. Con: Ragnar eats the Jawas.
USB Stadium. Hey, an acronym! Pro: Versatile, easy-to-use. Con: Sometimes you forget to save the latest draft of your paper onto it and have to run back to your dorm.
Valhalla. The top vote getter from the aforementioned Vikings website, referencing the diaphanous after-life rewarded to brave, honorable Nordic sailors and warriors. Pro: Manly. Spirited. On brand. Con: Not to split metaphysical hairs, but Valhalla would be Canton. The stadium would be, like, raiding the British Isles.
Paisley Park East. In memoriam to the late, great Purple One. Pro: Gives us a warm, fuzzy feeling. Con: Doesn’t roll off tongue while horns-to-horns on the Green Line, shouting to passersby where your Sunday afternoon bloodlust will be sated.
The Death Star. One observer told me the fixed-roof stadium resembles the planet-destroying floating, metallic eyeball of George Lucas’ mind. Pro: Imposing for opponents, easily understood even by sports haters. Con: Always gets blown up.
Vote for your favorite(s) below.