Vikings fan who refused to shave beard until team won Super Bowl dies at 83 (photo)
As a lifelong (and long-suffering) Minnesota Vikings fan it pains me to report that Emmertt Pearson, a fellow lifelong (and long-suffereing, albeit for much, much longer) Vikings fan, passed away at the age of 83 at his home on Monday.
Pearson, all the way back in 1975, vowed to not shave his beard until his beloved Purple achieved Super Bowl glory. Pearson, at the time of his vow, had already suffered through three gut-wrenching losses in the Super Bowl: In 1970 in a 23-7 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl IV, in January of 1974 when the Vikes lost 24-7 to the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VIII, and a 16-6 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl IX.
It was after the loss to the Steelers that Pearson made his oath, meaning the poor guy’s beard went unshaven for almost 39 years.
Pearson, who would experience one more Super Bowl loss in the 1970s and several NFC Championship losses in the ensuing decades, held true to his vow through all the heartbreak.
Pearson received a fair share of national notoriety in 2010 after the Vikings, once again, came all too close to at least reaching the Super Bowl when the Brett Favre-led Vikings came up short against the New Orleans Saints, losing in overtime, in the NFC Championship Game at the Superdome.
Via a Star Tribune report:
“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.”
The report also notes that during Minnesota’s 15-1 season, he routinely would receive shaving cream and razors in the mail. But the Vikings lost to the Atlanta Falcons in overtime, 30-27. And so the mustache-less beard continued to grow as the years passed and season after season of coming up short in one way, shape or form rolled on.
His obituary, via Legacy.com:
A longtime member of Vasa Lutheran Church, not only did he sing in the church choir since he was 18, he also helped dig the church basement. Many will remember Emmett for his unforgettable beard, something that he’s had since 1975 when the Vikings lost the Super Bowl to the Steelers. A staunch Vikings fan, the beard was not coming off until the Vikings won a Super Bowl. Needless to say, Emmett died having never shaved his beard. More than the Vikings, farming and education, his family was most important to Emmett and he loved them dearly.
May he rest in peace. Goodness knows he’s earned it. And, as noted by The Big Lead, Pearson received one final gift before he shuffled off this mortal coil by passing away before being forced to watch the debacle the Vikings committed in a horrendously embarrassing loss to the New York Giants on Monday night.