Despite a couple of close calls when he scrambled to buy tickets, Don Crisman has never missed a Super Bowl, attending all 52 so far beginning with the inaugural game in 1967.

This year, however, the 82-year-old Kennebunk resident wasn’t sure he’d make it. A lingering bout with ulcerative colitis landed him in the hospital for over a week and threatened his streak. He lost over 30 pounds and thought to himself, “I had seen my last Super Bowl.”

Then doctors changed his medication in October, he slowly gained weight and his health improved.

“I’m making a comeback,” Crisman said.

And now he’s heading to Atlanta to see his beloved New England Patriots play the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII on Sunday, keeping alive a streak that began on a whim when a friend was given tickets to the first Super Bowl.

Crisman is a select member of the Never-Missed-A-Super-Bowl club that was featured in a 2010 Visa commercial. The original group, which began with five, is down to two – Crisman and Tom Henschel of Pittsburgh. (Another fan, Gregory Eaton of Michigan, also has attended each Super Bowl.)

Crisman will leave for Atlanta on Thursday, joined by his daughter, Susan Metevier, and one of his sons, either Don Jr. or Daryl. “We haven’t figured out yet who it’ll be,” Crisman said.

Since 2000, the NFL has set aside two tickets for each member of the club to buy at face value. This year, Crisman said he received three tickets. His seats will be in the first row of the third deck at the 50-yard line of Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

“I had notified the NFL that I didn’t think I was going,” he said. “Then I wrote them and told them things were looking up and I wanted to go.”

And with the Patriots there again – playing in their third consecutive Super Bowl, fourth in five years and NFL-record 11th overall – there was no way Crisman was going to miss it. New England has won five Super Bowls with Bill Belichick as head coach and Tom Brady as quarterback.

“Really, I didn’t think (the Patriots) would get this far,” Crisman said. “But here we are. I just hope they bring home trophy No. 6.”

Crisman is glad the game isn’t in Minnesota, as it was last year when the Patriots lost to Philadelphia.

“There was one morning there that it was minus 8 and my rental car wouldn’t start,” he said. “But Atlanta can have bad weather, too. I remember the last time it was there (in 2000), we checked into our hotel and had to buy candles for light and heat. It was an ice storm.”

Crisman, who had attended many of the pregame parties and forums in the past, doesn’t plan on doing much this week, other than perhaps a luncheon and a tour of the Georgia Aquarium. “And I have people I’ve promised to see,” he said. “That’ll be enough for me. I don’t have the energy I once had. A couple of these affairs and I need a nap.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

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Twitter: MikeLowePPH

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