This evening, four gentlemen will take their seats at Sun Life Stadium for their 44th Super Bowl.
Don Crisman, sporting a blue shirt with the inscription “Never Miss a Super Bowl Club, 44th Anniversary,” was snapping photos at the Super Bowl Media Center this week. He explained how they all found each other.
Crisman, 73, of Kennebunk, Me., started making the journey with friend Stanley Whitaker, who’s now 84 and dropped out two years ago for health reasons. It was at Super Bowl XII or XIII, they discovered they weren’t the only ones. Tom Henschel’s been with them since XIV. The baby of the group at age 68, Henschel splits his time between Pittsburgh and Tampa.
By Super Bowl XXXIII – in South Florida – the NFL included their stories in the game program and that’s how they discovered Larry Jacobson of San Francisco, who’s now 70. Oh, and now the NFL reserves tickets for them so they don’t have to search for them. They do still have to pay.
At Super Bowl XXXVI, they found Bob Cook of Wisconsin, who is 79.
“It was 36 or 37,” Crisman says. They now visit each other’s homes and attend regular season NFL games together. Crisman, for example, has gone to a Patriots-49ers game in San Francisco with Jacobson.
They have other streaks, too. Crisman attended 25 Daytona 500s in a row. Jacobson’s been to about a dozen summer Olympics games, Crisman said.
They each have responsibilities for the Super Bowl trip – one books hotels, another arranges a luncheon for the group. They typically back different teams in the Super Bowl, but this year, they’re all rooting for the Saints, Crisman said. “What the area went through, those people deserve some good in their lives.”
As for future trips, Crisman said: “I’m hoping to make it to 50, then I’ll be 80 and it’s OK to stop.”