A New England Patriots superfan is in Miami to attend his 54th consecutive Super Bowl, despite the fact that his favorite team won't be there for the first time in four years. Don Crisman has attended every Super Bowl since the very first championship matchup – the Green Bay Packers vs. the Kansas City Chiefs – in 1967.
Lifelong Patriots fan Crisman is a member of the Never Miss A Super Bowl Club, so even without Tom Brady in the house, there's no way he'd miss the San Francisco 49ers play the Kansas City Chiefs at Miami's Hard Rock Stadium this year.
Crisman and his friend Stan Whitaker co-founded the Never Miss a Super Bowl Club in the late 1960s after attending the first three Super Bowls. The duo met their third club member, Tom Henschel, at a Tonight Show taping just before Super Bowl XVII, according to NPR.
Crisman Was Once Featured In A Visa CommercialIn the early days, there were five members of the club who reunited each year: Crisman, Whitaker, Henschel, and fellow football fanatics Robert Cook and Larry Jacobson. Whitaker, Cook, and Jacobson have died in recent years, according to the Press Herald.
Crisman and Henschel are the only two living members of the Never Miss A Super Bowl Club that were featured in a Visa commercial years ago. The ad offered fans a chance to win lifetime tickets to the Super Bowl.
Gregory Eaton, who hails from Michigan, was also recently discovered to be an attendee at every Super Bowl, so he is now a member of the club alongside Crisman and Henshel.
The NFL has set aside tickets for the Never Miss A Super Bowl Club at face value for the past 20 years. For the game at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, the three super fans will each have two seats in the first row of the second deck right on the goal line. Crisman's daughter, Sue Metevier, will be by her dad's side in Miami for her sixth Super Bowl.
The Patriots Kept Crisman Going To The Super Bowl Longer Than He PlannedCrisman said he misses his annual reunion with his late fellow club members, and he even considered stopping his tradition at 50 Super Bowls. But then his Patriots kept winning, so he had to keep going.
For 2020 he told the Press Herald, "This year I have no excuse. I'm just going because of habit."
The 83-year-old Maine resident added that it feels "different" without the Patriots playing in the Super Bowl, but not in a bad way.
"It's definitely more stressful when the Patriots are there. I'm concerned about the outcome. This is kind of relaxed," he explained.
With no Patriots to root for this year, Crisman said he promised the daughter of his friend Larry Jacobson that he'll cheer for the 49ers, his late pal's favorite team.
There's Only One Thing That Will Stop Crisman From Going To The Super BowlOne year after a bout of ulcerative colitis put his Super Bowl plans in jeopardy, Crisman says that as long as he's healthy, his streak will stay intact.
"I'm going to go as long as I can move around," he told the Press Herald. "If they've got to put me in a wheelchair, I think I'll quit. I don't need that.
Still, Crisman told NPR that it's hard to explain why he continues to make the annual trek to the Super Bowl now that he's in his eighties.
"A couple of times I've said, this is ridiculous, and I ought to end it. And here I am still doing it," he said.