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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    Wilf balancing old loyalty with Purple passion

    [size=18px]Vikings: Wilf balancing old loyalty with Purple passion[/size]

    New Vikings owner Zygi Wilf is a lifelong Giants fan, but he will root hard against them Sunday and watch the game from the visitors' sideline.

    Kevin Seifert, Star Tribune
    Last update: November 10, 2005 at 9:14 PM


    Zygi Wilf giggled like a schoolboy Thursday as he recalled one of his fondest memories in a lifetime of rooting for the New York Giants. Sitting in a New York City restaurant 15-20 years ago, Wilf looked up and saw superstar linebacker Lawrence Taylor walking between tables.

    "LT," as he is known, was headed for the men's room.

    "I was so anxious," Wilf said, "that I ran to the bathroom to get his autograph."

    At the time, Wilf was a budding real estate tycoon in his late 30s. Chasing football players into a public bathroom, he admitted, "wasn't customary for me to do. But he was such a hero of mine."

    Now the Vikings owner, Wilf keeps an LT jersey autographed by the Giants' 1986 Super Bowl team in the office he uses at Winter Park. His mother, meanwhile, recently found his handmade scrapbook of the early 1960s Giants teams. So it is with a complex set of emotions that Wilf will attend Sunday's against the Giants in East Rutherford, N.J.

    "I will always be deep inside a Giants fan," Wilf said from his New Jersey home, about 30 miles from Giants Stadium.

    Wilf continued: "Now I have my team to really root for. I still have a lot of sentiment for the Giants, and I don't think that ever goes away. [But] certainly it will go a long way for us to beat them, to put a lot of the old home feeling behind me."

    Wilf, 55, has rooted for the Giants since visiting their Yankee Stadium locker room in 1961. He attended nearly every home game from 1965-2004 -- even skipping Woodstock in 1969 in favor of a Giants-Jets preseason game -- and sat in the stands for all three of the team's Super Bowl appearances.

    On the second of those occasions, Wilf hid behind his hands when Scott Norwood's errant field-goal attempt clinched the Giants' 20-19 victory over Buffalo in Super Bowl XXV. Afterward, Wilf and his companions danced off to their Tampa hotel -- which, he says, also happened to be the Giants team hotel.

    Wearing a sweatshirt and jersey, Wilf got a table at the hotel restaurant and spotted late Giants owner Wellington Mara eating nearby.

    "At one table was us, with sweatshirts, being rowdy and so on," Wilf said. "And at the other table were the Maras, all dressed up and really celebrating in a dignified way. We just had a great time that night."

    These days, Wilf is doing his best to play the role of dignified owner despite a treacherous six-month "honeymoon" as the Vikings owners. That span has included an alleged sex party involving players on Lake Minnetonka, losses in five of eight games and a cool reception to his initial stadium proposal.

    His tenure has included important literal and symbolic accomplishments -- among them keeping training camp free for attending fans, repairing the dilapidated Vikings ship at Winter Park and pledging to spare no expense, as he said Thursday, "to mold the organization in the way that I feel will do Minnesotans proud: Winning and with class."

    People in the organization have noted his ebullient zeal during otherwise routine football activities; he has delighted in attending position meetings, watching practices and standing on the field before games. Despite the torrent of this season, he said, "I haven't had more fun ever as a football fan as I have had being the owner."

    Wilf said he considers Sunday's game a potential turning point for the Vikings, whose four road losses have come by an average of 25 points.

    "Our goal is to start the second half of the season in a winning way," he said. "If we can do that, then we will have a good chance to win our division. We have a lot of home games coming. I think we need to win an away game. It will be a great place to do it here in Giants Stadium."

    If they do, Zygi Wilf will be standing on the Vikings sideline -- away from the Giants fans in his family's suite and the polite Vikings supporters in the visiting owners' box. For the first and "probably the last time," Wilf said, he plans to watch the entire game on the field.

    "When we play there, the important thing is that I be with my team -- my family -- on the sidelines," he said. "That's the only place I feel comfortable.

    "I just want them to know where I am. I'm with my team."

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
    singersp's Avatar
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    Re: Wilf balancing old loyalty with Purple passion

    "I will always be deep inside a Giants fan," Wilf said from his New Jersey home, about 30 miles from Giants Stadium.
    It's a liitle strange now, thinking Wilf was pulling for the Giants against the Vikings in years past .

    Deep down inside he'll be happy no matter who wins.

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  3. #3
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    Re: Wilf balancing old loyalty with Purple passion

    From Newsday.com

    [size=18px]From Big Blue to purple, but Wilf isn't red-faced[/size]

    Nov 11, 2005
    Bob Glauber


    Zygi Wilf says he'll feel weird when he walks into Giants Stadium for Sunday's Vikings-Giants game.

    Until this year, Wilf attended Giants games on a regular basis and cheered for the home team; his devotion to the Giants dates to their Yankee Stadium days. But Sunday he will stand on the sideline with the Vikings, the team he bought for $600 million last June.

    "It will be the kind of feeling you have when you go back to the home you grew up in from the home you're in now," said Wilf, 55, a Summit, N.J.-based real estate developer. "What you remember is the memories, and that's what I'll have with me when I'm there. I've been thinking about this game for a long time."

    Wilf was in the stands for the Giants' first Super Bowl run in 1986. And the second in 1990. And the third in 2000. Yes, he was there cheering for the Giants when they beat the Vikes, 41-0, in the NFC Championship Game that year.

    Old habits die hard; Wilf still refers to the team as "my Giants."

    "It's 40 years of loyalty to my Giants, so you can only expect mixed emotions from the standpoint of feelings," he said. "It's not from the standpoint of loyalty, because the Vikings are now my team, and we're proud to come back to Giants Stadium and try to win this game."

    It has been a whirlwind year for Wilf, who initially was a minority partner in a bid to purchase the Vikings from Red McCombs. But when Reggie Fowler, who would have become the league's first black owner, couldn't come up with a financing plan to satisfy the league's ownership rules, Wilf, the son of Holocaust survivors, took the lead role.

    Wilf quickly became a popular figure, a stark contrast to the penny-pinching McCombs. Wilf promised the team would remain in Minnesota and that he'd build a new stadium. He picked up the tab at training camp so fans wouldn't have to pay to attend practices. He re-worked Daunte Culpepper's contract to put it more in line with other high-profile quarterbacks. He even repaired the dilapidated ship at the team's Winter Park training facility.

    But Wilf couldn't imagine he'd soon have to deal with a series of early-season losses and an allegedly out-of-control party involving several Vikings players, drunken behavior, nudity and sexual activity on two charter boat cruises last month. A week after the incident, Wilf berated his players in a private meeting.

    "I wanted to make sure they knew I expected the organization going into the future that there was no doubt about what kind of imprint I would have on the team," Wilf said.

    But Wilf insists the experiences of the first half of his rookie season as an NFL owner haven't been as bad as you might expect.

    "I've had a lot of fun doing it, even with the ups and downs of the first few months of ownership," he said. "I'm sure I'll be having a lot more fun as we continue our winning traditions for years to come."

    Wilf's outlook on life is born of experience. His mother and father survived the Holocaust and emigrated to the United States when Wilf was 2 months old. According to the Wilf family history on the Web site of Yad Vashem, Israel's national Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, the Russians deported Wilf's father, his two siblings and his parents from Poland to a Siberian labor camp. Wilf's mother, her brother and her parents spent much of World War II hiding on a farm in Poland.

    "My parents' experiences of being survivors of the Holocaust are the foundation of who I am," Wilf said. "Their outlook coming to this country provided me with valuable lessons in dealing with people and with life."

    Wilf's father came close to purchasing a stake in the Titans in the early 1960s but backed off. The Wilfs eventually bought Giants season tickets, and Zygi and his younger brother Mark, who is now the Vikings' team president, became hooked on football.

    After his first game at Yankee Stadium, Zygi went into the Giants' locker room and received a football he still has. He has a Lawrence Taylor autographed jersey. And, like most Giants fans, he attended games in full fan regalia. He remembers the time he introduced himself to Giants president Wellington Mara.

    "After the Giants beat the Bills [in Super Bowl XXV], we were able to have dinner at the hotel they celebrated at," Wilf said. "There were only two tables, one filled with a bunch of guys with sweatshirts on - that was us - and the Maras dressed up and celebrating in a very dignified way."

    Wilf introduced himself and thanked Mara for giving the fans a Super Bowl winner. He now hopes to do the same for Minnesota. Even if he'll never stop loving his Giants.

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  4. #4
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    Re: Wilf balancing old loyalty with Purple passion

    From another article I read, Wilf plans on watching the game from the field.

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  5. #5
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    Re: Wilf balancing old loyalty with Purple passion

    well we are losing to the giants every year so far but this year instead of having a head coach who was a huge giants fan we also have an owner.

  6. #6
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    Re: Wilf balancing old loyalty with Purple passion

    I can imagine how good it would feel to beat a team that he used to root for. And then I imagine he could poke some fun at his buddies and family back home.

  7. #7
    DCPologirl is offline Team Alumni
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    Re: Wilf balancing old loyalty with Purple passion

    Hmmmm I don't know how I feel about that article. I don't think I like that too much. It sort of pisses me off.

    DCPologirl:Maybe Randy will make Aaron Brooks look better......roflmao Del Rio: I guarantee he will

  8. #8
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    Re: Wilf balancing old loyalty with Purple passion

    I agree it sort of pisses me off

    Well w/e



    Thank you Josdin for the sig

  9. #9
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    Re: Wilf balancing old loyalty with Purple passion

    yeah that is a little bit strange how the giants beat us so badly for the last while. mabye sunday is the day we change things around?
    We're bringing purple back.

  10. #10
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    Re: Wilf balancing old loyalty with Purple passion

    "singersp" wrote:
    From another article I read, Wilf plans on watching the game from the field.
    Our side, of course?
    Hopefully he won't forget which team he wants to win. :shock:


    Personally, I don't think there is intelligent life on other planets. Why should other planets be any different from this one?

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