Minnesota Viking fan Emmett Pearson made a promise in 1975 to never shave his beard until his team won a Super Bowl, but 38 years later, he died at the age of 83. Pearson did get a lot of attention a few years ago when his team almost made it.
Pearson was 31 years old for the Vikings’ first season in 1961, and he never saw his team win it all. The Vikings lost four Super Bowls and had a good chance to win it all a few other times, most notably 1998 and 2009, only to fall short in heartbreaking fashion in the NFC championship game.
“I made a vow, and I’m going to stick with it,” Pearson said in an interview with the Rochester Post-Bulletin in January 2010, the day after the Vikings fell one game short of getting to the Super Bowl with Brett (5 o’clock shadow) Favre at quarterback. “But I think my wife would just as soon I give it up.”
Daughter Amy Pearson chuckled Friday, the day of his funeral, thinking about the frustrations of Vikings fans and wondering “who would have that kind of devotion to that team? But he was a man of his word. He didn’t ever have an option.”
She tried to get her father to shave his bear for her wedding 18 years ago, but “he said no. That’s the kind of man he was. He had an unwavering conviction toward the Vikings.”
The beard nearly fell to the cutting-room floor just two years after first sprouting, but the Vikings fell instead, 32-14, to the NFL champion Oakland Raiders. The Vikings have ever been to the big game since, all four of their defeats coming in the same decade.
During the Vikings’ powerhouse 1998 season, shaving cream and razors routinely arrived in his mailbox. But his Amish-like facial hair — sans mustache — survived when his beloved team lost out to Atlanta for a Super Bowl berth.
Pearson seemed to live a good life. He was a farmer, involved in the local school board and his church, and was married to his wife for 56 years, according to his obituary. He is survived by five children and a number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.