Super Bowl Stories

By Jake Weyer

02/01/18

When I first met Greg Kelly last August, the 66-year-old Minneapolis resident and former hobby shop owner was already several months into the construction of a toothpick and balsa wood model of U.S. Bank Stadium.

At that time, of course, the 2017 football season hadn’t yet begun and the Vikings’ playoff push was nothing more than wishful thinking. But the Super Bowl was coming to town and Kelly was determined to get his model done in time for the big game, even if his basement ended up being its permanent residence.

By early July that model had risen from the basement to the bright lights of the real U.S. Bank Stadium, where it was on display in a plexiglass case for the Vikings’ divisional playoff game—one that will be long remembered for its unusually positive (for the Vikings) ending.

By then, Kelly and his toothpick masterpiece had appeared in the pages of our partner Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota’s thrive. magazine. His story was also covered by the Star Tribune, City Pages, Fox 9, KARE 11, and other media outlets.

Kelly is one small piece of what has snowballed into Super Bowl hysteria this week, but a reminder of one well-timed story’s power to captivate a community, even if it’s for a short time. Kelly’s model is currently on display in the gallery at Hang It frame store in Minneapolis, awaiting a permanent home.