Donald Crisman has more than a half-century of Super Bowl memories behind him – he has attended every one of the NFL’s season finales since their inception in 1967.
The 81-year-old is so dedicated to the practice that he is a member of the “Never Miss A Super Bowl Club”, a small group of men who have attended the game together for decades.
Despite the cost of tickets ballooning into the thousands, Crisman has paid his own way to the game every year except one.
But Father Time is taking a toll on the group – one member, Larry Jacobson, died late last year.
Crisman says attending the game without his friend Jacobson would be different, and he might not have gone this year if it did not carry the chance of his beloved New England Patriots beating the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday.
In one example of extreme commitment, he took a 24-hour train ride from his home in Maine to the Super Bowl in Florida in 1968, where Green Bay beat Oakland.
He had made arrangements to take a private plane to the game in Miami but an ice storm made it impossible to fly.
Crisman was undaunted and managed to find the 24 hour train trip.
“I can’t believe how many times that train stopped,” he said. “It was agonising to say the least.”
Crisman’s crew at the Super Bowl was long made up of himself, Jacobson and two other friends, Pittsburgh Steelers fan Tom Henschel and Green Bay Packers fan Bob Cook, who also attended every game.
But the group has dwindled down to just himself and Henschel this year, as Cook died in 2011.
He is welcoming Jacobson’s daughter Heather this year, and expects to shed a few tears when she sits in what would have been her dad’s seat.