This is Tom Brady’s eighth Super Bowl. Impressive, yes, but not nearly as astounding as Jerry Green’s streak of 52 straight Super Bowls.
During a Patriots press conference this week, Green lobbed a question to Brady about his receivers, part of Green’s annual routine of rooting out story lines on the big game for the Detroit News. He has covered every Super Bowl since the very first between the Packers and Chiefs on Jan. 15, 1967 at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
He’s in an exclusive club of sports writers, along with columnist Jerry Izenberg of the Newark (N.J.) Star- Ledger and his former colleague there, Dave Klein, who can say they’ve covered them all.
“I think it’s very special,” Green said. “I’ve used the phrase, Cal Ripken-esque. He kept his streak going and that’s the same mentality I have, and Jerry also has. We want to keep it going.”
Green acknowledges Klein’s run, but distinguishes himself and Izenberg as “newspaper men.” Klein now runs a subscriber blog centered on coverage of the New York Giants called E-Giants. At 77, he’s the youngest of the men. Izenberg is 87. Green is “89, 9 months and 16 days,” he said on Wednesday. “And I’m keeping score, yes.”
His fondest memory of the games was Super Bowl III. Many recall Joe Namath guaranteeing a Jets win over the Baltimore Colts. What Green remembers most was Namath rebuffing the media all week, refusing to show up for interviews, then deciding to have a poolside chat with a few select reporters, including Green.
The best game?
That was just last year, when Brady orchestrated a historic comeback over the Falcons to give the Patriots a 34-28 win.
“I don’t think it will be equaled for a long while,” he said. Super Bowl XXXIV in 2000, when the Titans came up one yard short to the St. Louis Rams.
Through illnesses, industry transformations and countless trials, Green, Izenberg and Klein have endured. Green started working at the Detroit News in September of 1963 and retired in 2004. He hasn’t let that keep him from finding his spot among a press corps that has reached upward of 5,800 media members, thousands more than in the early days of the game when tickets were as cheap as $6.
“We want to keep it going,” Green said. “Obviously, some day it will stop.”
But for now, it’s Patriots vs Eagles in Super Bowl LII on Sunday, then on the next one for the three writers.