By Jeff Wagner

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — With the stakes at an all-time high, the energy was even higher inside Randle’s Restaurant and Bar at the start of the NFC Championship Game.

“And then you come out and score in the opening drive and you’re like, this is it. We got this this year,” said fan Mackenzie Weber after the Vikings started the game with a touchdown.

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Optimism and confidence were cooking in downtown Minneapolis. One fan brought a drum, leading fans in a raucous Skol chant early in the night. But the cheers slowly gave way to gentle claps and eventually gut wrenching frustration. During one of the Eagles’ touchdowns, most fans didn’t even flinch or let out a groan. The silence in the room was deafening.

“First half, ugh, terrible,” said fan Jamal Brown during halftime.

“Right now it’s just a roller coaster but I think we’ll get it done,” said fan Chris Mitchell.

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His hopes and that of so many others slipped away with each passing second. The dream season hit a rude awakening in the form of a blowout 38-7 loss.

“What an absolute let down man. That was crazy. We came out flat, defense didn’t even show up,” said fan Michael Carbone.

“Depressed, I’m very depressed,” added Weber.

Most fans didn’t stick around to see the ending. And why should they when you consider it’s one they’ve already seen several times.

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“You’ve been through ’98, you’ve been through ’01 getting crushed 41-0. You know how it feels to get crushed,” said Weber. “I want our city to go to the Super Bowl. When is it gonna happen? When?”

Jeff Wagner