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CHRIS ERSKINE / FAN OF THE HOUSE

Metrodome roof collapse had to be a sign from above

The wreckage at the overripe architectural monstrosity, caused by too much snow, could only have been a message from God, and the message is, 'Tear down this stadium!' How much clearer does He need to be?

December 13, 2010|Chris Erskine

The Minneapolis Metrodome died suddenly Sunday, when its roof collapsed under the weight of too much snow. The big, ridiculous balloon/metaphor was only 28.

"Frankly, I'm glad to see it go," said Santa Claus, a tackle for the Minnesota Vikings in the 1960s, when the team played outdoors. "The place stank like reindeer."

But seriously, folks, wasn't what happened Sunday just God's way of saying that real Vikings play football outdoors? I hope you saw the video of the roof collapse. It was like a scene from "Independence Day." The fabric roof shuddered then tore, and the snow poured in like so much celebratory confetti.

Mazel tov, Minnesota. Maybe you'll finally get rid of that dump.

Indeed, 30 years seems about right for modern arenas. In the old days, they built places that could last a century. Fenway. Wrigley. Boston Garden. Madison Square Garden. They were built by two guys with a hammer and a bucket for cement. There's one in Rome that's pretty old too.

Today, stadiums are built like double-wide trailers, virtually disposable. The Metrodome's crummy next-of-kin included the Seattle Kingdome, Veterans Stadium in Philly, the Pontiac Silverdome.

What a biblical end to a Vikings season, eh? First, they lose Sidney Rice, then they gain Randy Moss, then Brad Childress and Brett Favre start bickering like schoolgirls. Amid it all, there was some little controversy, about Favre's cellphone photos, maybe you heard. In a less moral world, it would've been a big story.

It finally got to be too much. What happened early Sunday was clearly divine intervention. There should've been a priest present.

You know what's good indoors? Poker. Or sleeping . . . that's good indoors too. Everything else is better outdoors — eating, shopping, sports, even showering. Ever showered outdoors? It's liberating and a little decadent. I really recommend it. You're on your own with the authorities, though.

Point is, football's grittiest he-man division — the NFC North — should be an open-stadium league that takes advantage of the lovely late-season splendor of the upper Midwest. Tell me you don't get a slight snow-gasm every time you turn on the tube to see two teams duking it out in a blizzard. Of course you do.

You might also note that the Lions haven't had a winning season since they moved indoors two stadia ago. Then again, I don't think the Lions ever had a winning season. Why they even televise a Lions game anymore is beyond me.

Meanwhile, the Packers and the Bears have had good runs in their outdoor stadiums. Their kooky fans feed off the fresh air and the stadiums always sell out, no matter how many people lose limbs. In fact, some fans will show their devotion by disrobing.

Even hockey is finding a resurgence with its outdoor games. A collegiate match last week, held in Michigan Stadium, was viewed by more than 113,000, many of them penguins (probably loaded).

By ignoring the obvious, the city of Minneapolis now has itself a fine mess. The Vikings' lease expires next year, though there must be something in the boilerplate about upkeep and playability. I'm not a lawyer, but I'm smart enough to know that the smaller the print, the more likely it is to come bite you in the butt later (that's legal talk).

In the meantime, R.I.P., Metrodome. Without a lot of other options, the apple-cheeked Minnesotans will try to repair its torn toupee in time for next week's Monday night game against the Bears. Or, they could just finish what God started on the Sabbath.

Just take it off.

chris.erskine@latimes.com

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