Dana Blatchford’s wife jokes that his beard is the fifth member of the family.
Before every New York Giants game, the 42-year-old fan from Gloucester, Massachusetts spends 30-45 minutes spray-painting his 12-inch beard in red, white and blue with the Giants ‘NY’ logo emblazoned across the middle.
“My oldest son, Ryan, was doing some spray-painting for Halloween one year,” Blatchford said. “He brought it up to me once and suggested it would be funny if I did my beard. It kind of stuck with me that I could take it to the next level. I made stencils out of cardboard and started doing the New York Giants thing.”
January will officially mark three years since Dana became ‘Mr. Beard-O’ and the Blatchford family grew by one. The father of two (Ryan, 10, and Brandon, 6) officially earned the nickname when a California apparel company spotted Blatchford at a game and wanted to do a t-shirt with his face on it.
“That’s really when I came up with the nickname,” Blatchford recalled. “They needed a name and in the bearded community, everyone is Beard-O. So I came up with Mr. Beard-O.”
The recognition certainly helped Blatchford get selected as the Giants’ Bud Light Super Fan for the 2016 season (Bud Light has declared 2016 as the year of the Fan). It’s a deserving title, considering Dana’s fandom goes back much further than the few years he’s spent perfecting his facial hair.
“Growing up in the Boston area, everyone followed the Giants before the Patriots existed,” Blatchford said. “My dad stayed with the Giants when the Patriots came to be and most local fans switched to the Pats. So, I grew up watching the Giants every Sunday with him.”
It’s a tradition that continues to this day. Blatchford insists that if he doesn’t watch the Giants with his father, Big Blue is doomed to be off their game. Dana’s favorite all-time Giants memory is his father dancing on the living room table after Super Bowl XXI.
Mr. Beard-O does make it down to a few Giants games every year, thanks to a friend, Eric, who has season tickets. He was sitting in the corner of the end zone at the Giants-Cowboys game in 2014 when Odell Beckham Jr. made ‘The Catch.’ Despite growing up surrounded by Pats fans, Blatchford can’t imagine being a fan of any other team.
They are a storied franchise. It’s the history, the legends and the players on the team. The Giants fans are also the greatest. I’ve met so many close friends now through tailgating. - Mr. Beard-O
As for the beard, Blatchford says it’s here to stay, and doesn’t think he could ever shave again, hoping to one day grow it all the way down to his waist.
“All this attention was unexpected, so it’s very exciting,” Blatchford said. “There are people around the country that do it, and I’ve seen people back in the 1980s that did it, but I think I’ve definitely taken it to a different stage.”
Visit Dana's very own Mr. Beard-O website and get your hands on his beard (on the t-shirt, that is).