The Super Bowl is a big-time event for football fans, as evidenced by the supermarket lines before game day, the wild parties the day of and the high-level celebrating that happens immediately after. But has anyone ever been as dedicated to the annual event as this group of best friends, known as “The Super Bowl Five”?
Sylvan Schefler, Lew Rappaport, Al Schragis, Larry McDonald and Harvey Rothenberg have seen every Super Bowl ever. That’s a total of 52 games. And more importantly, that’s 52 years of friendship and memories.
Back in 1967, these gentlemen decided to check out the AFL-NFL World Championship Game at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Though not a big deal at the time, this would later become known as the very first Super Bowl game ever. They had such a great time that they decided to attend the next year’s championship game, then the next one and so on. Last night, “The Super Bowl Five” made their 52nd pilgrimage to the Super Bowl, where they watched the epic showdown between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Super Bowl Five, all ranging in age from their late-70s to mid-80s, make this yearly reunion an absolute priority. Despite increasing airfare, each of the men’s lives on the East Coast, and the astronomical prices of Super Bowl tickets, skipping the game isn’t an option. The men, all military veterans, come decked out in custom rings, jackets, sweatsuits, bathrobes and ties, and even have a racehorse they’ve named Superbowl Five.
“It’s very hard to describe nostalgia on this level, and to have had the opportunity to go to every single stadium and every place and get to become a part of this event,” Schefler, a New York Giants fan, tells PEOPLE. “But it isn’t the event; it’s the relationship with these same people. This is about friends.”
“It’s hard to imagine that all of us can figure out a way for 52 years to make sure that, no matter what happens, we get together at this time of year—it’s so unique,” continues Schefler, 79. “It’s a very meaningful thing, and it has started to hit home over the last number of years, you know.”
Maybe it’s time to start a similar tradition with your BFFs?