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James R. Johnson / Forum Communications Co., Published January 19 2010

NFL playoffs: Game tickets tough to come by

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Oh when the Vikes go marching in to New Orleans, Minnesota fans hoping to be in that number are going to need a lot of money.

There are still motel rooms available in New Orleans for Sunday’s NFC Championship game against the Saints.

Tickets, though, are another story.

This message appeared at www.vikings.com:

“Unfortunately, the Vikings will not have any tickets to sell to fans for the upcoming NFC Championship Game in New Orleans vs. the Saints. However, we encourage fans to make use of NFL’s TicketExchange, which is the safest way to purchase tickets to the game.”

The TicketExchange Web site said:

“Currently, there are no tickets available.”

But TicketExchange on the Saints Web site at noon Monday had ticket seekers offering $300 a head for the top row and five offers of $10,000 for two tickets anywhere in the Superdome, which has a listed football seating capacity of 72,003. Published attendance figures from events such as the Sugar Bowl football game have exceeded 85,000.

City of hope

“This city’s going nuts,” said Ben Johnson, managing director of the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce. “The phone has not quit ringing. People have been mobbing sports bars to see the game, then partying afterward in the French Quarter.”

Johnson referred to an article in the Times-Picayune asking readers how could it happen that Vikings quarterback Brett Favre, who was a Saints fan before he became an NFL athlete, is now Public Enemy No. 1.

“He’s from Kiln, Mississippi, right across the border,” Johnson said. “Now, our favorite son is blocking the door to the Super Bowl.”

Johnson said the Saints’ waiting list for tickets has surpassed 50,000 since the Superdome reopened in 2006 after repairs made necessary by Hurricane Katrina.

“The Saints are a sign of hope as we rebuild,” Johnson said.

History on Vikings’ side

The Vikings own a 2-0 all-time record against the Saints in the postseason, having won 44-10 in New Orleans on Jan. 3, 1988 in an NFC Wild Card Playoff game, and 34-16 on Jan. 6, 2001 in Minnesota in an NFC Divisional Playoff contest.

Favre won his only Super Bowl ring in the Superdome in 1997 when the Green Bay Packers topped the New England Patriots 35-21.

The contest will also be a rematch of a regular season game played on Monday Night Football in the Superdome on Oct. 6, 2008. Saints running back Reggie Bush returned two punts for touchdowns, but the Vikings won 30-27 on a field goal with 13 seconds left.

The Superdome will host Super Bowl XLVII in 2013.

James R. Johnson is a writer for the Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.