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He's Attended Every Super Bowl. A Pandemic Won't Keep Him From Kickoff

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Don Crisman has never missed a Super Bowl. No, he's not Tom Brady. At 84 years old, Mr. Crisman is the oldest surviving member of the Never Miss a Super Bowl Club. He's been to every Super Bowl game since they began in 1967. And he'll be there this year, despite the coronavirus. He's from Kennebunk, Maine, and flew to Tampa, Fla., where we've reached him ahead of tomorrow's game. Mr. Crisman, thanks so much for being with us.

DON CRISMAN: Thank you for having me. And hello, NPR.

SIMON: Who are you rooting for?

CRISMAN: Oh, I'm rooting for Tom Terrific and Gronk. I'm a Patriots fan from the day the franchise was created. And so I'm going to be rooting for the Bucs tomorrow.

SIMON: Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski used to be on the Patriots. Of course, they're on the Bucs this year. They've brought them to the Super Bowl. So tell us about this club, of which you're a member. There are several in it, right?

CRISMAN: Well, it's going and up and down. It started out with five back in '67. Recently, we discovered Gregory, who is now our third member. We're now three - myself, Tom and Gregory Eaton from Lansing, Mich. And he had been in hiding for 50 years. The Detroit Lions made us aware, and the NFL did some checking, and we admitted Gregory to the club at Super Bowl LI.

SIMON: What's the best Super Bowl you've seen?

CRISMAN: I think LI, where my Patriots were down 28-3 at the half and came back and won in overtime. Probably the next one on my list would be Super Bowl XXXVI, which my Patriots won in New Orleans for the first time. That was the first game after the 9/11 tragedy. It was just a special tribute and very memorable. And, of course, my team won in the end.

SIMON: I'm told, Mr. Crisman, you've had the first vaccine shot.

CRISMAN: That's correct.

SIMON: Are your family and friends worried about you?

CRISMAN: Yeah, half of my family doesn't want me to be here. And the other half kind of knew it was going to happen. Although, on January 1, the NFL advised us we were not getting tickets. But then a couple of TV shows and an article appeared in The Wall Street Journal, and they decided to change their mind. And on the 17th of January, they said they would send us tickets.

SIMON: Are you taking precautions?

CRISMAN: Oh, yes. Well, yeah, I'm wearing the double mask and got to wash my hands and using whatever these cleaners are, you know, as much as I can. We're trying to be as careful as we can. And the seats - we're all in the same section, but we're, like, eight rows apart.

SIMON: You know, Dr. Anthony Fauci urges everyone to, quote, "just lay low and cool it."

CRISMAN: We're trying to do that.

SIMON: Well, be careful because I think you want to see the 11th Super Bowl Tom Brady is in.

CRISMAN: Well, I don't know if he's going to make it again. But you never know. He's very capable. And New England - I mean, we've been the dominant team for 20 years.

SIMON: Don't rub it in, Mr. Crismon.

CRISMAN: (Laughter) I love every moment of it.

SIMON: Don Crisman is a member of the Never Miss a Super Bowl Club, and he's in Tampa for the Super Bowl. Good luck, sir. Thanks so much for being with us. Have a good time, and be careful.

CRISMAN: Take care.

(SOUNDBITE OF BEN BEAL SONG, "BLUE MOONS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.