Super Fan: 81-year-old has attended every Super Bowl

Donald Crisman gives thoughts on 52nd Super Bowl featuring the Philadelphia Eagles and the Patriots

Donald Crisman has more than a half-century of Super Bowl memories behind him, from taking a 24-hour train ride to Super Bowl II to seeing his beloved New England Patriots win in overtime last year.

But he says the 52nd Super Bowl featuring the Philadelphia Eagles and the Patriots on Sunday just might be his final big game.

The 81-year-old resident of Kennebunk, Maine, is a member of the ever-shrinking “Never Miss a Super Bowl Club” that’s attended every season finale since its inception in 1967. He has bought his own ticket every year except one.

Crisman was featured in a 2010 Visa commercial along with three friends who had attended every Super Bowl. He is attending this game with a heavy heart because friend Larry Jacobson of San Francisco died last fall. Crisman said attending the game without Larry would be different, and he might not have gone if the Patriots weren’t in it.

He shared some of his favourite memories with The Associated Press.

Last time in Minneapolis

Crisman prefers the warmer venues for the Super Bowl. But he has fond memories of the last Super Bowl in Minneapolis — in 1992 at the now-gone Metrodome.

He has a hat from the game bearing the Super Bowl XXVI logo that was signed by Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs, quarterback Mark Rypien and wide receiver Gary Clark. He is bringing it with him to this year’s game at U.S. Bank Stadium, built on the site of the old Metrodome, to “show and tell it.”

Super Bowl that almost wasn’t

Crisman’s trip to the second Super Bowl in 1968 was an odyssey. 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 a train that took 24 hours to get to Miami. “I can’t believe how many times that train stopped,” he said. “It was agonizing, to say the least.”

Favourite venues

The Miami area, which will set a record by hosting its 11th Super Bowl in 2020, is Crisman’s favourite place to see the game. He’s also a fan of San Diego, which has hosted three times.

Crisman is “not a fan of these winter bowls,” occasionally held at indoor stadiums in Indianapolis, Detroit and Minneapolis. But when asked about his worst experience at a Super Bowl venue, he cannot think of one.

Top plays

The Rhode Island native has been a Patriots fan since the team’s inception in 1960, so his favourite Super Bowl play of all time is fittingly James White’s overtime, game-winning touchdown last year. Previously, he was the subject of endless teasing because his favourite plays were a pair of field goals.

Specifically, field goals that won Super Bowls for the Patriots in 2002 and 2004.

“I’ve been laughed at and kind of ridiculed. ‘You can’t have a field goal be your favourite play,’” he said. “Well, I do.”

Will he keep going?

Crisman’s crew at the Super Bowl included Jacobson and Pittsburgh Steelers fan Tom Henschel and Green Bay Packers fan Bob Cook, who also had attended every game. But the group has dwindled to just him and Henschel after the death of Jacobson last year and Cook, who died in 2011. He’s welcoming Jacobson’s daughter Heather on Sunday and expects to shed a few tears when she sits in what would have been her dad’s seat.

His son, Don Jr., called his dad “the most consistent force in football.” He said it will be different when his father no longer goes to the big game. After 51 Super Bowls and counting, the elder Crisman said that day might be coming soon.

“I’m thinking about it,” he said. “But this year, I’m taking the Patriots.”

Patrick Whittle, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Kelowna patios ready for spring

Check out some local patios that are coming out with the sun

Kelowna golf course ready and open for spring business

Two Eagles Golf Course opened Saturday, more to come

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA hopes annual climb will promote peace

MLA Norm Letnick’s 5th Annual Spring Climb for Health & World Peace is April 6

Possible assault to bus driver in Kelowna

A minor bus crash was reported just after 8 p.m. Friday night

Car crash nearly sends car over embankment in West Kelowna

RCMP search for driver of alleged stolen vehicle that caused crash

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Calgary captain has 3 points as Flames torch Canucks 3-1

Giordano leads way as Alberta side cracks 100-point plateau

Okanagan woman launches sewing studio

“I know there’s a lot of people up and down the valley that would love to sew.”

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

Letter: Stop raising the minimum wage

To the editor: The government is looking for ways to put more… Continue reading

Letter: Immigration will not help other countries, or our own

To the editor: Firearms are not the culprit in all those massive… Continue reading

Letter: Sprawl destroying natural landscape

To the editor: I agree with the assessment by Ian Pooley in… Continue reading

Former Okanagan teen found safe after disappearing from YVR airport

Ethan Burnett, 14, was found safe in Kelowna on March 22

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Most Read