Don Crisman had already decided he wouldn't leave Kennebuck Beach, Maine, without a ticket in hand, but he said friends Tom Henschel and Gregory Eaton were "hell-bent" on attending Super Bowl LV, even if it meant buying tickets of the secondary-ticket market.
Living in Florida during the winter — Super Bowl XV will be played at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium on Feb. 7 — meant it would be easier for Henschel and Eaton to keep the streak of attending every Super Bowl alive.
For members of the Never Miss A Super Bowl Club and the Super Bowl Five, that streak was in jeopardy this year because the COVID-19 pandemic would limit how many Super Bowl tickets would be available.
But after the NFL recently came through with tickets for members of both groups, their streaks will continue — at least for most of them.
“I was never worried. I’ll be honest with you," said Henschel, who along with Crisman and Eaton are members of the Never Miss A Super Bowl Club. "I knew the NFL — we’ve been on their VIP list for like 27 years, maybe a little bit longer — and I just had a feeling they would come through with at least a single ticket for us."
Members of the Never Miss A Super Bowl Club from left to right: Gregory Eaton of Lansing, Mich., Tom Henschel of Pittsburgh, and Donald Crisman Sr. of Kennebunk Beach, Maine. (Photo: Photo by Richard Gibson)
Harvey Rothenberg, one of the member of the Super Bowl Five, said he and fellow members Sylvan Schefler and Larry McDonald are planning to attend Super Bowl XV. Lew Rapaport won't be able to travel because of recent surgery. Al Schragis died in 2018.
"We're elated about it," said Rothenberg, 87, who lives in Boca Raton, Florida. "We've made a reservation for Saturday night (before the game) at Bern's Steakhouse (a popular Tampa restaurant). We're going to be interviewed by 'CBS Sunday Morning.' And we're going see another game again. Maybe we'll see Tom Brady win a Super Bowl. That will be interesting."
The NFL had informed members of the two groups that the league could not guarantee tickets to the game because of uncertainty related to the coronavirus.
But Henschel, Crisman and Eaton received invoices from the NFL for their tickets on Sunday.
"Came through Sunday, on my birthday," said Eaton, 81, who lives in West Palm Beach, Florida. "It was a good birthday present."
Rothenberg was upset when it appeared his group wouldn't have tickets to this year's game, so he emailed NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
"I got a call the next week from the office of the commissioner saying that they're going to make arrangements to get us tickets," Rothenberg said.
Rothenberg said he and his fellow members hope to have both their COVID vaccine shots before they attend the game. Crisman and Eaton are hoping to get at least their first shots. But Henschel isn't sure.
"Every year, I get my flu shot through the V.A. (Veteran's Administration) up in Pittsburgh, and every year, I’m sick for 24 hours," Henschel said. "I mean I’m bedridden, hot and cold chills. And I’m actually afraid of getting his vaccine shot. I am really scared but I’ve been wearing my mask everywhere.”
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