Prince Jinxes His Minnesota Vikings With ‘Purple and Gold’
The NFL regular season is almost here and, for many of us, that means being glued to our television sets all day on Sunday. But it also caused us to remember when Prince wrote a song, "Purple and Gold," for his hometown team, the Minnesota Vikings.
In 2009, the Vikings finished atop the NFC North with a 12-4 record. Their 40-year-old quarterback Brett Favre, who had spent the bulk of his career with the Vikings' chief rivals, the Green Bay Packers, came out of retirement and defied his age, throwing for more than 4,200 yards and 33 touchdowns. Third-year running back Adrian Peterson continued to impress, with nearly 1,400 yards on the ground and setting a team record with 18 rushing touchdowns. The defense was led by a fierce line that contained two Pro Bowlers, Jared Allen and Kevin Williams.
On Jan. 17, 2010, the Vikings began their post-season campaign at their home stadium, the Mall of America Field at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, against the Dallas Cowboys. Favre threw for four touchdowns and the Vikings' defense sacked Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo six times and forced three turnovers in a 34-3 rout. Fans of the franchise, who had seen their team lose four Super Bowls between 1970 and 1977 and, in more recent memory, suffer crushing defeats in the NFC Championship to the Atlanta Falcons (1999) and New York Giants (2001), felt this could finally be their year.
During the game, TV cameras spotted Prince in one of the suites in the Metrodome. He would later say it was the first time he had seen them play in "a very long time." Following the game, he returned to Paisley Park and recorded "Purple and Gold," so named for the team's colors. He wrote the song because, "I saw the future."
Four days later, it appeared as a stream on the Vikings' website. With lyrics like "No need 4 sword in hand / We r all amped up like a rock n roll band / Ready 2 celebrate every score / Ready 2 fight the elegant war / Ready 2 hear the crowd roar," the track was intended to inspire the Vikings against the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship, and then on to the Super Bowl.
However, it backfired. With the game tied at 28-28, the Vikings had moved the ball to the Saints' 33-yard line with 19 seconds left. Then they were penalized five yards for having 12 men in the huddle, more or less putting them out of field goal range. Then Favre threw an interception, which sent the game into overtime. The Saints won the coin toss to receive the ball and drove downfield, with Garrett Hartley kicking a 40-yard field goal to win it.
Hear Prince Perform "Purple and Gold"
Coincidentally, the Saints had their own theme song created by one of their city's musical greats. During the regular season, traditional jazz trumpeter Kermit Ruffins, known outside the Crescent City for playing himself on HBO's Treme, released "A Saints Christmas," where he declared that all he wanted for the holiday was to see his team in the big game. Ruffins got his wish and then some: The Saints prevailed in the Super Bowl, beating the Indianapolis Colts, 31-17.
But if Prince had jinxed the Vikings, the team quickly forgot about it. After his death, they issued the following statement. "Like the rest of the world, we are shocked and saddened today by Prince’s death. As one of the most influential music icons, Prince was an incredible representative of Minnesota who helped put Minneapolis-St. Paul on the map. He was a brilliant performer and a better person. We will forever be proud and grateful that he considered himself a Vikings fan. Our thoughts and prayers are with Prince’s family at this time."
For their 2016 home opener against the Packers, which was also the first Vikings game in the new U.S. Bank Stadium, the halftime show was a tribute to Prince, with the Minnesota Orchestra and the Steeles -- a gospel group that had worked with Prince -- performing "Purple Rain." As an eerie footnote, the first touchdown scored in the building during a regular season game was scored by the Packers when quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw to receiver Jordy Nelson. People couldn't help but notice the connection between Rodgers-Nelson and Prince's full name, Prince Rogers Nelson.