FOREST CITY — It was without a doubt one of the lowest points in Minnesota Viking history.
And though Forest City resident Doug Arispe is just 47 years old, he remembers watching the Dallas Cowboys steal a Super Bowl berth from the Vikings in the 1975 NFC championship game played at the old Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minn.
“I still can’t get over that one,” Arispe said. “It has to be the worst loss in Viking history, worse than the four Super Bowls.”
In that 1975 game, Cowboy quarterback Roger Staubach hooked up with end Drew Pearson on a 32-yard scoring pass with 24 seconds left to give the Cowboys a stunning 17-14 win.
Arispe and most Vikings fans still swear to this day that pass interference should have been called.
“I really do think Pearson pushed off on cornerback Nate Wright on the play,” Arispe said.
“That play still haunts a lot of Viking fans. I think they probably get flashbacks of it every time they play the Cowboys.”
People are also reading…
Arispe may be a better judge than most on the Hail Mary pass because he still has game tape of the play.
Although the loss was hard to take, it didn’t dim Arispe’s love of the Vikings.
His basement at home has one of the niftiest TV rooms in Iowa, Minnesota and probably beyond. Simply, it’s a shrine to everything Viking.
It’s lined with an estimated 800 framed 8x10 Viking signed photos from wall to wall. Mixed among all the photos are pennants and signed authentic Viking jerseys hanging from the ceiling, and authentic NFL footballs signed by full Viking teams.
There is everything from an old ’70s blow horn to Viking bobbleheads.
“The thing is”, Arispe said, “what I have in the basement (on display) is only a fraction of the Vikings things I have.”
In storage, for example, he has plastic tubs full of signed footballs and jerseys.
Such a shrine to the Vikings takes time to accumulate and Arispe has worked pretty hard at it.
He has spent one or two weeks at Vikings training camp for each of the past 16 years.
“Some players will come to the fences that separate the field from the fans and sign autographs,” Arispe said.
“Last year, I had 16 authentic jerseys signed and quite a few mini-helmets.”
Arispe has attended draft parties over the years in the Twin Cities. He said there were more than 20 players signing autographs at a draft party at the Mall of America a few years back.
“There are other ways to get Viking autographs and talk to the players,” Arispe said. “I’ve gone to the headquarters at Eden Prairie, Minn., and gotten autographs.
“And on game nights during the season, players will sign stuff at the hotel rooms downtown where they are staying,” he said.
His knowledge and tactics have allowed Arispe to collect about 40 signed footballs, 75 jerseys and 800 signed Viking trading cards.
Arispe has two young daughters and has just started taking them to training camp.
“They seem to enjoy it,” Arispe said. “It’s fun to share it with them.”
Arispe says he’s looking for a strong 2013 season.
“From what I’ve seen in training camp, they should be pretty good,” Arispe said. “They’ll be better in the secondary and the wide receiver corps is better.
“I think all Viking fans are looking forward to that first pre-season game.”
Chris Todd is a reporter for the Forest City Summit and Britt News- Tribune, also Lee Enterprises newspapers.