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'Never Miss a Super Bowl Club' redefines fan dedication

By Danielle Paquette, Special to CNN
Patriots fan Don Crisman has attended 44 Super Bowls.
Patriots fan Don Crisman has attended 44 Super Bowls.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Don Crisman and three other men have never missed a Super Bowl
  • When a reporter introduced the men to one another, the "Never Miss a Super Bowl Club" began
  • On Sunday, they will attend their 45th Super Bowl

(CNN) -- Don Crisman has never missed a Super Bowl.

"My family knows not to die on Super Bowl Sunday," he said, "because I won't make it to the funeral."

And with great game attendance comes myriad memories.

The 74-year-old Rhode Island native paid $8 to see Green Bay defeat Kansas City at the first AFL-NFL championship in 1967.

Thirty-five years later, he roared with fellow Patriots fans as kicker Adam Vinatieri nailed a 48-yard field goal to beat the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI's final seven seconds.

He barely noticed Janet Jackson's infamous "wardrobe malfunction" during Super Bowl XXXVIII's halftime show in 2004.

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Now, he's ready for the Steelers-Packers matchup in Dallas, blizzard or otherwise.

Crisman is one-fourth of the "Never Miss a Super Bowl Club," an exclusive group featured in Visa's latest advertising campaigns.

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He and three other men boasting a perfect attendance record -- 49ers fan Larry Jacobson, Steelers fan Thomas Henschel and Packers fan Robert Cook -- can be seen in the national commercials, flashing more than four decades of Super Bowl ticket stubs.

"Sports fans see the Super Bowl as the pinnacle of U.S. sporting events -- an American institution, really," said Alex Craddock, head of Visa's American marketing. "This year, our NFL campaign was developed to celebrate the passion that fans have for the sport of football and the Super Bowl."

Members of the club, who met and devised their name when a reporter profiled them individually for an NFL media guide, will attend their 45th Super Bowl on Sunday. This time, the game's on Visa's tab.

"44 years, 44 games, and we never had a free ticket," Jacobson said. "This is a pretty good deal for me."

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Jacobson, who went to the first Super Bowl to impress a date, said he spends thousands of dollars yearly to fund his football obsession.

"The game is an excuse to travel," he said. "We've been to Disney World, the beach, all over, the week of the Super Bowl. It's even better knowing I'm on a vacation while my friends are working."

The club members don't intend to break their Super tradition anytime soon. Crisman said he'll keep going for "as long as the Big Guy Upstairs allows."

"Just before playoff time, there's a big magnet somewhere in the sky drawing me in the direction of the game," he said. "It's kind of a crazy, expensive odyssey I'm on. A pilgrimage -- whatever you want to call it."

 
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