An ever-shrinking handful of followers have witnessed each Tremendous Bowl in individual. They will not be capable of sit subsequent to one another this yr.
The Tremendous Bowl goes to look totally different this yr for 3 mates who’ve attended each installment of the large recreation.
However, Don Crisman, Tom Henschel and Gregory Eaton have tickets in hand and say they are going to be there, as they’ve yearly for the reason that first AFL-NFL World Championship Recreation in 1967. The trio, who vary in age from 79 to 84, are amongst an ever-shrinking group of followers who’ve witnessed each Tremendous Bowl in individual.
They usually use the occasion as an opportunity to meet up with one another, however this time they’re working coronavirus-era precautions into the journey. They will accept an out of doors lunch whereas seated a number of toes aside to fulfill up this yr.
Within the stands, they will be seated a number of rows aside.
“After all I am involved. Who would not be? My physician’s involved. He mentioned do not go,” mentioned Crisman, 84, of Kennebunk, Maine.
Crisman, who’s flying from Boston to the sport web site of Tampa, Florida, hasn’t been on a aircraft since his return journey from final yr’s Tremendous Bowl. He is bringing his daughter, a medical technician who has been working COVID-19 vaccination clinics, to the sport this yr.
Crisman mentioned he was prepared to surrender the streak, however Henschel’s dedication to retaining it alive satisfied him to make it.
“I’ve to go. I am unable to break my string. I’ve to be there,” mentioned the 79-year-old Pittsburgh space resident who winters in Tampa, making for a simple commute. “I am slowing down, however I nonetheless love the sport.”
Crisman and Henschel first met on the 1983 Tremendous Bowl, after they realized they’d each been to each recreation to that time. Eaton, a Lansing resident who additionally spends his winters in Florida, met them years later within the mid-2010s. Just a few different members of their unique membership of followers who by no means missed a Tremendous Bowl have died in recent times.
Eaton, who’s Black, mentioned he has needed to navigate challenges earlier than to get to the sport. He mentioned he was turned away from a lodge due to his race when looking for lodging for one of many first Tremendous Bowls.
Nowadays, one in every of his favourite elements of the sport is catching up with Henschel and Crisman.
“I sit up for it yearly — and the relationships we have had these previous 5 years are unbelievable,” mentioned Eaton, 81, who winters within the Palm Seaside space. “We’re like a brotherhood.”
The defending champion Kansas Metropolis Chiefs face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers within the 2021 Tremendous Bowl on Feb. 7 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Attendance has been capped at 22,000, which incorporates 7,500 well being care staff. The stadium shall be a couple of third full.
Crisman is a New England Patriots fan who stays loyal to Tom Brady, the Buccaneers quarterback and former Patriot taking part in in his 10th Tremendous Bowl.
Principally, although, Crisman desires to maintain his Tremendous Bowl streak going and are available again to Maine with out contracting the virus. He mentioned he has had one of many two doses of the coronavirus vaccine. Eaton mentioned he has additionally had the primary shot, whereas Henschel mentioned he has not.
Crisman mentioned he is aware of his streak has to finish finally, and he was initially ready for this to be the yr it did. However then he discovered himself recreation planning.
“The whole lot’s bought to finish finally. I am unable to clarify it — it simply occurs,” he mentioned.
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