Minnesota Vikings NFL’s Ultimate Fan of the Year competing for national glory

Shirley Bowman, a nurse at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, is the official Vikings Fan of the Year and is now competing to be the NFL’s Ultimate Fan of the Year. 

Shirley was secretly nominated for the award by her long-time childhood friend, Theresa. The nurses she works with secretly started voting for her and, little did she know, she won! 

Shirley says some of her coworkers told her to be outside the hospital at a specific time to honor one of the nurses they work with. Shirley said she had no idea the gathering was for her. As she was standing there, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen walked in to present her with the Fan of the Year honor. 

"Out walks Adam Thielen with a camera crew and I was like ‘oh my god.’ I couldn’t even talk. I just – it was just quite a moment. When he spoke I think all I did was stare at him," Shirley said. 

Shirley is a long-time season ticket holder and a lifelong fan. She was born and raised in Minnesota but says her love for the Vikings solidified when she moved for Georgia for her husband’s job in the military. 

"When we were down there it’s like the Vikings were my connection to home and, you know, with all sports, especially football, it’s almost like a community of people and you’re connected. You’re always connected to other Vikings fans," Shirley said. 

Tickets to the 2023 Super Bowl in Arizona were part of Shirley’s prize. She’s now competing against the Fan of the Year for every other NFL team to become the NFL’s Ultimate Fan of the Year. Voting is now open at nfl.com/honors/fan-of-the-year.