Before I was a Minnesota Vikings fan, I was a Detroit Red Wings fan.
Growing up in Canada, I was indoctrinated from an early age about the merits of our nation’s favorite sport. Most people where I’m from cheer for the Maple Leafs or Canadians – the Canadian teams with the largest followings – but placing my allegiance behind either option wasn’t going to fly in my household.
My father – a passionate sports fan – had been a Red Wings nut for decades. When he was growing up, Gordie Howe (nicknamed Mr. Hockey) was his favorite player. The “Gordie Howe hat trick” consists of getting a goal, assist, and fight all in the same game. In other words, Howe was as skilled as he was tough.
Dad pledged his allegiance to Detroit and never looked back (my brother, for reasons unbeknownst to yours truly, cheers for the Capitals and some young upstart named Alex Ovechkin).
My early years were filled with pro-Wings propaganda. My
stubborn brother could resist, but I found it easy to acquiesce. After all, it wasn’t that difficult to cheer for greats like Steve Yzerman, Brendan Shanahan, Nicklas Lidstrom, and Sergei Federov. Winning some cups in the late 90s and into the first decade of the 2000s didn’t hurt, either.
The Griddy and The Red Wings
Now, why am I taking this oddly personal, meandering trip down memory lane? Simple: the Griddy, a celebration made famous by Minnesota’s Justin Jefferson. Stick with me.
The Wings recently had a notable accomplishment. After falling behind 4-0 to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Wings found a way to get the victory in overtime. My father even called me the next morning to see what I thought of the relatively stunning comeback (not quite on the same level as the Vikings overcoming the 33-point deficit to the Colts, but impressive nonetheless). He went on to fill me in on several game details before pontificating about where Detroit is in their rebuild, offering our armchair quarterback analysis that we have no business offering.
Not too long after hanging up, I kept my eyes peeled for some highlights and wasn’t disappointed when I saw the game winner. Take a look at how Jake Walman celebrated scoring the game-winning goal:
Honestly, I think Walman’s Griddy is better than Kirk Cousins’. Don’t take my word for it, take a look for yourself and compare:
Don’t forget the different context. Cousins is doing his on grass (or turf); Walman is doing his on the ice with skates on. Advantage: Walman.
As the video gets going, you can hear Detroit’s announcers offering their praise for Walman performing the Griddy: “What a celly! Look at that, love it! […] That’s how to celebrate, nicely done.”
The fact that Justin Jefferson’s celebration has made the trek across professional sports leagues indicates that the receiver’s stardom is continuing to reach new heights. It’s not often that we see an NHL player incorporate a touchdown dance into his post-goal routine.
Lately, there has been a fair bit of chatter about Justin Jefferson getting some MVP consideration. Without any sense of hyperbole, we can say that #18 is putting together a season that ranks among the all-time greats. He is sitting at 123 catches, 1756 yards, and 8 TDs. The yards and catches are already franchise records.
Minnesota’s next game comes against the Green Bay Packers. Jaire Alexander – a sensational corner – proclaimed that the Packers are back immediately after their win over Miami. More recently, Alexander even suggested that Jefferson’s dominant Week 1 game against GB (9 catches, 184 yards, 2 TDs) was a “fluke.”
Personally, I’d lean against making such bold proclamations ahead of my matchup with Jefferson, but my approach is neither here nor there. Alexander will get a chance to back up his words when the game begins on January 1 at 3:25 CST.
If Jefferson gets the best of him and scores a TD, we can be certain that the Griddy will follow.
Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference helped with this piece.