Jim Nantz: The Broadcaster Who Curses The Vikings

For the first time since Week 2, the Minnesota Vikings got pretty good broadcasting treatment from the NFL, as their showdown against the Dallas Cowboys was broadcast by CBS and their top announcing crew of Jim Nantz and Tony Romo. Unfortunately, the game wasn’t as good as the announcers, as it ended in a 40-3 Cowboy victory.

In fact, the Vikings have had a history of underperforming when Nantz is calling their games. The Vikings are currently riding a seven-game losing streak when their games are broadcast by Nantz, headlined by a mix of heartbreak and blowouts.

Today I am going to go through a rundown of every Vikings game since 2010 that Nantz has called. I am going to start with the most recent games, and then go down to the start of the 2010s, the most recent time the Vikings have won a Nantz-broadcasted game. Buckle up and enjoy this ride!

Week 11 of 2022 vs. Dallas Cowboys
Final Score: Cowboys beat Vikings, 40-3

This game was just a complete dud from the Vikings, who entered the game with a then-league best 8-1 record and came off a highly emotional win over an AFC juggernaut in the Buffalo Bills.

Unfortunately, this game didn’t see the Vikings play like one of the NFL’s top dogs. The Cowboy defense collected seven sacks on quarterback Kirk Cousins and pressured him on 63% of his dropbacks, while Cowboy running back Tony Pollard gashed the Viking defense for 189 total yards and two touchdowns. The Cowboys jumped out to a 23-3 halftime lead and didn’t let up, winning 40-3.

Week 4 of 2019 at Chicago Bears
Final Score: Bears beat Vikings, 16-6

This was the low point of an otherwise remarkable 2019 campaign from the Vikings. The Bears defense forced two turnovers and rendered the Cousins-less offense lifeless throughout much of this game while jumping out to a 16-0 lead through three quarters, before Dalvin Cook scored the Vikings’ only touchdown of the day to make the final score 16-6. The Vikings dropped to 2-2 on the year, but it may have been a blessing in disguise.

Following this game, receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen both called out Cousins for the largely lackluster offensive production the Vikings had put up to start the season. From there, the team would rebound to win eight of their remaining twelve games, finishing the year 10-6 and earning a Wild Card berth.

Week 3 of 2018 vs. Buffalo Bills
Final Score: Bills beat Vikings, 27-6

Every Viking fan remembers this as the Josh Allen breakout game. Making his first career road start against the NFC runner-up from the 2017 season, the Bills rookie quarterback showcased why he was drafted seventh overall in that year’s draft.

Despite being 16.5-point underdogs, the Bills played with absolute heart and grit in Minnesota. Allen carved up former head coach Mike Zimmer’s excellent defense for 235 total yards and three total touchdowns, and the Bills defense forced Cousins into committing three turnovers. The score was an astounding 27-0 in favor of the Bills AT HALFTIME, before a late touchdown from Cousins to tight end Kyle Rudolph made the final score 27-6.

Fun fact: this was the biggest upset win by any NFL team since 1995, when the Washington Commanders (then known as the Redskins) went into Dallas as 16-point underdogs and beat the Cowboys.

Week 14 of 2017 at Carolina Panthers
Final Score: Panthers beat Vikings, 31-24

The Vikings went into Charlotte for a game against the Panthers riding an eight-game winning streak after a 2-2 start to the season. Unfortunately, this would be the Vikings’ only loss of the season between Week 4 of 2017 and the 2017 NFC Championship.

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton accounted for 203 yards of total offense, and veteran running back Jonathan Stewart turned back the clock as he ran for 103 yards and three scores. After falling behind 24-13 at the end of the third quarter, Viking quarterback Case Keenum led a rally to tie the game at 24-all. Unfortunately for the Vikings, Newton ripped off a 62-yard run on the Panthers’ final drive of the game, which set up Stewart’s game-winning touchdown run to give the Panthers a 31-24.

In what was a magical season for the Vikings, this was their really only true hiccup in the second half of the season. Keenum committed three turnovers, and the defense couldn’t contain the Panthers rushing attack, which gained 216 yards.

Week 12 of 2016 at Detroit Lions (Thanksgiving)
Final Score: Lions beat Vikings, 16-13

The Vikings came into Detroit looking to get back on track after a terrible month of football, and avoid a season sweep to their Motor City rivals. Unfortunately, the Lions had other plans.

After an exchange of touchdowns to start the game, the two teams would score a combined four field goals for the rest of the game, until the Lions defense showed up. Sam Bradford’s last throw of the game was intercepted by All-Pro cornerback Darius Slay with 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter, which enabled Matt Prater to kick a walk-off field goal and give the Lions both the win and the season sweep.

Week 14 of 2015 at Arizona Cardinals
Final Score: Cardinals beat Vikings, 23-20

This Thursday Night Football game in Arizona saw the 8-4 Vikings put up a heck of a fight against the 10-2 Cardinals. Despite trailing 20-10 early in the fourth quarter, second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater led a Vikings rally that saw him connect with receiver Mike Wallace for a touchdown to tie the game at 20-all with less than five minutes to go.

Although Arizona kicked a field goal to go up 23-20 with 1:23 left, Bridgewater and the offense had one more shot to either win the game via a walk-off touchdown or try to send the game to overtime with a field goal. Unfortunately, the Cardinals defense had something to say about that, as veteran pass rusher Dwight Freeney strip-sacked Bridgewater with five seconds left, with the ball being recovered by Arizona.

However, until the Blair Walsh Wild Card game, this was the last loss the Vikings would suffer for the rest of the season. The men in purple rebounded with a three-game win streak to end the season, and their 11-5 record was enough to win the NFC North.

Week 4 of 2014 at Green Bay Packers
Final Score: Packers beat Vikings, 42-10

This game had “blowout” written all over it as soon as the Vikings announced that due to a knee injury sustained by Bridgewater the previous week, they would be starting Christian Ponder at quarterback for this primetime game at Lambeau Field.

The Packers essentially did whatever they wanted against the Vikings this game. They jumped out to a 28-0 halftime lead, highlighted by Ponder throwing two interceptions in the second quarter, including a pick-six to Packers defensive lineman Julius Peppers. The Vikings would add a third turnover in the quarter when running back Matt Asiata fumbled on Minnesota’s only drive of the first half that advanced past midfield.

The game ended up being 42-0 in favor of the Packers before Ponder ran for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter for Minnesota’s only touchdown of the game. A field goal later in the quarter gave us the 42-10 final score.

Week 4 of 2013 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (London)
Final Score: Vikings beat Steelers, 34-27

We finally get the game that the Vikings won when Nantz was broadcasting, and it happened overseas at London’s Wembley Stadium during the Vikings’ first ever international game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

This contest saw Steelers rookie running back Le’Veon Bell have his breakout game, running for 57 yards and two scores on 16 attempts, but future Hall of Famer and reigning league MVP Adrian Peterson showed the youngster a few tricks. Peterson was a vital presence in this game, running the ball 23 times for 140 yards and two scores of his own. Fun fact: this wasn’t the last time Peterson and Bell met as opponents, as they actually recently met for a boxing match in Los Angeles on September 10.

Free agent signing Greg Jennings (a familiar name to Packers fans) also had his breakout game as a Viking after signing with the team during the past offseason, catching three passes for 92 yards and two scores. Fellow receiver Jerome Simpson paced both teams in receiving with seven catches for 124 yards.

Much like the 2021 Thursday Night game in Minneapolis, the Steelers had to make a fourth-quarter rally to have a chance at winning. A 34-17 Vikings lead soon became a 34-27 lead when Ben Roethlisberger led the Steelers to 10 unanswered points, but as soon as he had a chance to tie the game, the Viking defense said absolutely not. Facing a third-and-goal at the Vikings’ 7-yard line with 19 seconds to go, Roethlisberger dropped back to pass and was strip-sacked by Everson Griffen, with Minnesota recovering the ball.

There you have it, the last game that the Vikings won when Nantz was on the call.

Is Jim Nantz a curse to the Vikings? Do the team’s poor performances in their games that he calls have something to do with his presence? Leave your thoughts below, as they would be much appreciated. Thank you for reading this blog.
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