Sunday, April 20, 2014
INDIANAPOLIS - Don Crisman of Kennebunk came alone. Beverley, his wife, didn't make the trip.
Don Crisman, who has never missed a Super Bowl game, says having the Patriots in the Super Bowl makes him nervous. He can't completely enjoy the week because he's afraid his favorite team will lose.
The Associated Press
A victory would be great, and sharing it would be even greater for New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, whose parents – Tom and Galynn – will be at the Super Bowl tonight at Indianapolis.
The Associated Press
"Indianapolis," he said, "wasn't on her list of vacation resorts to visit."
But it was on his. That's where the Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and New York Giants will be played tonight.
And Crisman, of course, never misses the Super Bowl. He is one of the three members of the Never-Missed-A-Super-Bowl club, three men who have somehow managed to see every championship game played since 1967.
The others are Larry Jacobson of San Francisco and Tom Henschel of Natrone Heights, Pa. Last year, the club lost a member when Bob Cook of Wisconsin died four days after the Super Bowl. His wife will attend the game this year in his memory.
For the three men, the game is more than, well, just a game.
"We enjoy one another's company," said Crisman. "Larry and I are very close. When the Patriots played in San Francisco, I stayed at his place. And the 49ers are coming (to Foxborough, Mass.) next year, so he'll come up to Maine for a few days. We just enjoy each other's company."
Crisman, 75, was a popular figure in the media center this week, and he never turned anyone down, proudly recounting his experiences over the years.
Having the Patriots in the Super Bowl makes Crisman nervous. He can't completely enjoy the week because he's afraid his favorite team will lose. Even this week, he said, "I have a bad feeling in my gut."
His favorite experiences have been in 1969, when the New York Jets beat the Baltimore Colts -- the first AFL win over an NFL club -- and in 2002, when the Patriots upset the St. Louis Rams for their first title.
The win over the Rams is self-explanatory. But the Jets over the Colts? Crisman, who was hanging around Radio Row this week with his friend, Rich Gibson of Homestead, Fla., (who has gone to 30 consecutive Super Bowls), considers himself an AFL guy and that was the moment, he said, "the Super Bowl became the Super Bowl."
He remembers flying home after the game with a contingent of Patriots on board.
"We were partying the whole time, dancing in the aisle," he said. "It's a wonder I was able to drive back home to Maine that night."
He came close to ending his Super Bowl streak before the 1996 game but at the last minute decided to go. Now he hopes to make it to 50. Then he's willing to stop. It is, after all, an expensive habit, even if the NFL gets him tickets at face value.
"But if the Patriots get into 51, I'm going to have to go to that too," he said.
And maybe get Beverley to go again. Over the years she attended about half the games. For her, the thrill is the social week leading up to the game.
"She just loved to sit around here," said Crisman, waving his arm around the media lounge. "One day, Muhammad Ali sat next to her. Even (Patriots quarterback Tom) Brady sat next to her one day in the lobby of the team hotel."
Now people try to sit next to Crisman.
JOSH BARAJAS, an assistant football coach at Edward Little High in Auburn, is also attending the Super Bowl, his first.
Barajas' cousin, Brian Flores, is an assistant defensive coach for the Patriots and offered him a ticket after the AFC championship game.
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