Le Pays De France - Members of the 'Never Miss A Super Bowl Club' gather for No. 56

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Members of the 'Never Miss A Super Bowl Club' gather for No. 56
Members of the 'Never Miss A Super Bowl Club' gather for No. 56

Members of the 'Never Miss A Super Bowl Club' gather for No. 56

For many American football fans, going to a Super Bowl is a once-in-a-lifetime special event.

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But for three elderly American men, it's something they have done every year since 1967, and will be doing again on Sunday when the Cincinnati Bengals take on the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl 56.

"You gotta be old to be in this club," said Don Crisman, 85, as he sipped a bloody mary with fellow super-fans Tom Henschel, 80, and Gregory Eaton, 82.

The three are members of the ultra-exclusive "Never Miss A Super Bowl Club", the only three fans who have attended every edition of the NFL championship game since its inception.

The game is the ultimate sporting spectacle, with more than 100 million Americans expected to watch on television, and many more around the globe.

A dazzling half-time show complements the action on the field, with Sunday's entertainment provided by major stars of rap and R&B.

Tickets sell out fast, with some of the very best going for $40,000 each.

It's all a far cry from the very first game, said Henschel.

"My tickets were actually $12. Now, the last two years, $2,500 face value," he said.

The club got going at Super Bowl 17 in 1983 when Henschel and Crisman bumped into each other while waiting to watch the Los Angeles filming of the Johnny Carson show.

"We were standing in line right next to each other," said Henschel, who overheard Crisman and a friend talking about their regular attendance.

"I thought I was the only one who'd gone to every game. And so we end up calling ourselves 'Never Missed A Super Bowl Club'".

Other club stalwarts have since died, but Crisman and Henschel were delighted to induct a new member for Super Bowl 51, when they met fellow life-long fan Eaton.

"It's been fun ever since I met these guys," Eaton said.

"We’re the only three in the world that bought our own tickets to every Super Bowl."

Crisman, who still has the straw boater he wore at the very first game, says a lot has changed in the last 56 years -- including the half-time show.

"I remember they had two college bands for half-time and they let a basket of pigeons go," he said.

All a far cry from Sunday's line-up, which is expected to feature Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar -- though Crisman is not really looking forward to that part.

"I'm not into today's music," he said. "If they could bring back my favorite Diana Ross, I'd be in heaven."

The three friends are aware that time is marching onwards, but don't want to break their record streak, and insist they will keep coming as long as they are able.

"Really the guy upstairs is in charge," quipped Crisman.

"I had some health issues and in November I said this is the final one.

"But now that I got together with these guys again, I'm thinking maybe I can squeeze another one in."