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Man invited to 1st Super Bowl, has now seen 50

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Posted at 4:15 PM, Feb 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-06 08:49:21-05

A man working in Denver back in 1967 got an invitation that would lead to a 50-year tradition.

Don Crisman told Denver7 a friend, Stanley Whittaker, worked at a company with a Broncos' sponsorship and got five or six tickets for that first championship game, even though the Broncos weren't in it.

He asked if I wanted to come along, Crisman said.

"Why not?" Crisman said he answered.

That started a tradition that almost ended the second year.

Crisman was on a flight that was forced to land in South Carolina by an ice storm. He managed to catch a train on the east coast and make the game in Miami.

Since then, Crisman has attended 47 more games and he'll attend No. 50 on Sunday.

"About 10 or 12 years after the first game, came up with a name," Crisman explained. The "Never Miss a Super Bowl Club."

Whittaker was afraid to fly, so they drove each year. Whitaker had the club name in letters on his car's bumper and that's how they met Tom Henschel.

Larry Jacobson joined the group around Super Bowl 33. Then Bob Cook.

Whittaker and Cook have passed away, but Crisman, Henschel and Jacobson attended an event Friday for the "All 50 Super Bowl" group.

There are 16 people who've been to all 50. They include the three members of the "Never Miss a Super Bowl Club," five members of "The Super Bowl 5," six media members, a former grounds keeper and Norma Hunt, the wife-now-widow of Kansas City Chiefs founder Lamar Hunt.

"This is such a special thing for all of us," Hunt said. "I don't consider it an accomplishment, it's such amazing fun."

"Lamar and I saw 40 Super Bowls together," Norma explained. "He wanted me to keep going and I've made it to 50."

Hunt says it's a blessing to be at Super Bowl 50 that she credits to longevity and great health.

"I've seen the greatest athletes on the greatest stage," Hunt said. "See how sometimes MVP's have single-handedly lifted their teams to victory."

Hunt said she's watched the game transform, "from championship to cultural icon."

The 50th Super Bowl is Sunday at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara.