Back to reality
Diggs, Keenum trying to put the ‘Miracle’ behind them
MINNEAPOLIS — How crazy has it been since the miraculous reception last Sunday, Jan. 14, by Stefon Diggs?
His high school coach, Bob Milloy, had reporters from three television stations camped out on his driveway the next day in suburban Washington D.C., seeking interviews.
Milloy fired off a text to Diggs, the Vikings receiver who hauled in Case Keenum’s 61-yard touchdown pass on the final play for a 29-24 win over New Orleans in an NFC divisional playoff.
“I said in the text, ‘Congratulations. Don’t forget I taught you everything you know, ha, ha,’ “ Milloy, who coached Diggs at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Olney, Md., said Wednesday, Jan. 17. “Then I said, ‘Enjoy the moment but don’t forget you got 120 minutes to go do what you really want to do.’ “
That would be winning Super Bowl LII on Feb. 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium. To make it to the game, the Vikings must win at Philadelphia in Sunday’s NFC championship game.
Diggs has been the talk of the football world since he caught a high-arcing pass from Keenum at the Saints’ 34 and ran untouched down the right sideline at U.S. Bank Stadium after safety Marcus Williams whiffed on a tackle. He realizes, though, it’s time to move on from the “Minnesota Miracle” to focus on the Eagles.
“Take everything with a grain of salt,” Diggs said of being a fixture this week in social media. “It’s been fun, but I want to get a win this week. It’s real important to me, and we’ve got another opportunity.”
Still, Diggs did reflect a bit Wednesday on the catch. He joked about having spoken to his mother, Stephanie Diggs, who watched the game on television at her Maryland home.
“She was funny,” Diggs said. “She said she almost had a heart attack, so it was kind of cool. She’s OK, though.”
Diggs is well aware his reception will be replayed over and over in future years.
“Hopefully, I can show it to my grandkids one day,” Diggs said. “It’s kind of like one of those things where I would say it’s like a storybook ending. Nine times out of 10, it never happens that way. The clock runs out. The defense plays good ball. No mistakes happen, but for us we never gave up. … Kind of like (Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said after the game), ‘The good guys won.’ “
Diggs wouldn’t say how many messages he has received since the play. Milloy, who coached Diggs in high school from 2008-11 and retired after the 2016 season, only could imagine.
“Right after the game, I got 18 texts, about 11 phone calls and three emails within about five minutes,” Milloy said. “Diggs’ phone, it probably exploded.”
Keenum also has received his share of messages from well-wishers.
“I’ve had a bunch,” he said. “I’ve had so many people that have been praying for me, that have been supporting me, that have reached out and continue to reach out. It means the world to me.
“I have so many people from back home (in his native Texas), from all over the country. I had somebody text me from South America, one of my friends that is deployed over there. It’s cool. I’ve got them everywhere.”
Keenum said he has heard from some current and former players but wouldn’t name them. When the Pioneer Press was conducting a phone interview Monday with Roger Staubach, the hall of fame quarterback was informed Keenum was nearby.
“Tell him he’s having a great season,” Staubach said.
Like Diggs, Keenum said it’s important for the Vikings to put the dramatic win behind them as they prepare to face the Eagles. Still, Keenum said, there are lessons to be learned from the play that can help moving forward.
“It was my first playoff experience,” Keenum said. “It’s something that I’ve said all year that I learn from every experience I am in. I definitely learned a lot from that. I learned a lot from the emotions I felt, to how I handled it, to how I prepared, and (that’s) something I am continuing to apply to this next game.”