From 1967 to 1983 and in 1985, NFL coach Bud Grant led the Minnesota Vikings to 161 wins, 99 losses, five ties, and four Super Bowl appearances.
Although he never won any of those Super Bowls, Grant was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame after retiring as the eighth most successful coach in NFL history. Known for his many achievements and his stoic demeanor, Grant was recently interviewed by NBC Sports reporter Michele Tafoya about his past and his present.
One of the topics they touched on was the “Viking Formation.” Tafoya asked:
“One of the things you taught your team to do was called the ‘Vikings Formation’ and it was the way to stand during the national anthem. Why was that so important to you?”
The former coach responded with tears in his eyes.
“I was raised during the war. I had a lot of friends that got killed in the war. It’s just important to me that we show respect to those people who paid the ultimate price. It’s the least I could do, not much, but that’s all I could do.”
Grant, a World War II veteran, has spoken out against the kneeling during the national anthem before. He told The Pioneer Press last September:
“They’ve got every right to do it. This is a free country. This country was founded on freedom of expression, but all those people that came from Sweden or Ireland or Spain or France and settled this country, all stood under that flag for many, many, many years.
And now to have somebody, whether it’s a disrespect for the flag or the national anthem or whatever cause they have in their craw, I don’t (know), if you took a poll, how many people would favor that. To me, it’s disrespectful, but I don’t know that they’re doing it in that vein. They’re trying to send another message through that conduit. I don’t think they personally go out and say, ‘I do not like the flag. I do not like this country.’
Those who watched Grant’s interview with NBC took to Twitter to express how much they enjoyed hearing him talk about the “Vikings Formation”:
Listening to the interview with Bud Grant on NBC is why you always stand for the National Anthem
— Stephen Veschi (@TheVesch) February 4, 2018
— Troy J. White (@TJWhite1961) February 4, 2018
— James Vallejos (@youflopset) February 4, 2018
Coach Bud Grant’s interview just now on the super bowl pregame show was old school AWESOME with a powerful message that I’m glad wasn’t edited out!
— Coach Tony Lotti (@CoachTonyLotti) February 4, 2018
According to the Pioneer Press, Grant added, “We’re a free country. We can express ourselves any way we want. We will not be taken to jail. We will not be taken out and shot like in some countries.”