Vikings Broadcaster Reveals ‘S.W.A.T’ Team Removed Drunken Commanders Fan

by Suzanne Halliburton
JERRY HOLT/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Note to NFL fans. Don’t mess with the radio announcers. That’s what the Minnesota Vikings learned Sunday after an obnoxious Washington fan messed with a broadcaster and was met with S.W.A.T force.

Paul Allen, who has been part of the Minnesota Vikings radio team for 20 years, detailed what unfolded Sunday afternoon. The Vikings broadcaster told the story to KFAN radio in Minneapolis. It sounds almost as dramatic as the game action between Minnesota and Washington. The Vikings won 20-17. But it took some heroics from quarterback Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota defense. In the fourth quarter, Cousins threw a touchdown pass and helped set up two Greg Joseph field goals, including the game-winner with 12 seconds to go.

Meanwhile, up in the booth, Allen said a Commanders fan wearing a John Riggins jersey was being extra salty. The Riggins jersey probably was his first clue. Riggins is the beloved former Washington fullback who earned MVP of Super Bowl XVII. He infamously got drunk at a fancy function and told then-Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, “loosen up, Sandy baby.” He then fell asleep under the table. In later years, the two got a big laugh out of it. Coincidentally, Riggins makes a living as an NFL analyst on the radio.

So back to the Vikings-Commanders game and the radio broadcaster. The fan in question became more unruly as the game played on. Allen said the fan took photos of his laptop in the first half after he noticed the computer featured a Vikings decal. “In the third quarter, the drunker this fool got, I thought he was trying to reach into the booth and pull the sticker off,” Allen said.

Vikings radio broadcaster Paul Allen recalled how a Washington fan harassed them as Minnesota made its comeback. (Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

There was also lots of colorful language, although the fan kept using one specific four-letter curse word. Allen said the guy verbally tossed at least 30 F bombs his way. Allen finally told him “don’t touch my stuff.”

To think, it got worse. Lots worse. Allen offered more details. “I felt things hitting me,” he said. “Like little parts of a hot dog bun. Not, like, batteries or anything. But things were hitting me! When I was on my binoculars calling a play, the guy was flicking things at me.”

In most stadiums, fans can’t get that close to the working press box or the team radio booths. That’s apparently not the case at FedEx Field.

“Then we go to break,” Allen says. “And I flipped up my headphones so I wasn’t speaking into the mic. And I used language — vociferously, loudly, directly — and just got right in this guy’s face. I was like, ‘I don’t know who the F you think you are, but we’re trying to do a bleeping job here. If you respectfully could let us do our job, we’d appreciate it, so get the F out of [our] face.’”

Remember when we brought up a big-time show of force? The Commanders didn’t send generic security guards to check on the radio booth. Again, let’s get back to Allen.

“I turned around and three S.W.A.T. members in full garb, toting assault rifles, came into the VOX (radio) box,” he said. “Just envision those cartoon characters with the chiseled faces, and then the army generals or whatever, and he was just mean-looking!”

Heckler problem solved.