Miami, Fla. – His name is Gregory Eaton. When the Green Bay Packers won the ﬁrst two Super Bowls in 1967-68 against the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders in Los Angeles and Miami, respectively, Eaton was there.
Eaton was also at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to watch the Miami Dolphins achieve the only undefeated season in NFL history by winning Super Bowl VII over the Washington Redskins.
And he sat in the crowd in Glendale, Arizona, where the New York Giants pulled off a major upset in Super Bowl XLII by preventing the New England Patriots from ﬁnishing the 2007 season undefeated.
With the Super Bowl spanning 57 years, Eaton, 83, is one of only three people in the world who have attended every game since 1967, traveling to more than 16 host cities and over 97,000 miles.
But the Michigan native’s story doesn’t end with him never missing a Super Bowl.
Eaton, who has a residency in West Palm Beach Fla, became the ﬁrst Black lobbyist in the state of Michigan in the 1960s working for Karoub and Associates, a lobbying ﬁrm whose biggest client is Metro Cars, and Eaton has ties to NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson.
Eaton said he was one of Johnson’s mentors who lived a block away from Johnson and his family in Lansing, Michigan.
Eaton said a young Johnson worked for his janitorial business when the ﬁve-time NBA World Champion was in high school and in college at Michigan State University.
In support of his mentee, Eaton attended two of the Los Angeles Lakers’ NBA Finals games in the 1980s to watch Johnson run Showtime.
He said the two talk till this day.
"I remember when he was born," Eaton told the South Florida Times from West Palm Beach. "He worked for my janitorial service company and was there when he won the state championship in high school, NCAA championship at Michigan State and two NBA championships. I’m really close to his family. Lansing is a really small community, and we are really close."
Eaton also owns a soul food restaurant in Michigan and continues to mentor young Black men and women and help them launch their careers.
Outside of business and mentoring, Eaton is a huge football fanatic.
Eaton’s attendance at every Super Bowl is linked to Michigan State University.
He said he was a junior in high school when he met Herb Adderly, a cornerback for Michigan State University on campus who was later drafted by the Green Bay Packers.
They became friends and Adderly was able to get him tickets to the NFL championship games before the merger and the ﬁrst ﬁve Super Bowls.
Eaton, who also graduated from Michigan State University, started purchasing tickets on his own with the help of Adderly, who later was traded to the Dallas Cowboys.
Eaton said Super Bowl tickets for the ﬁrst two Super Bowls cost as much as $10 for one ticket, which is far less than $7,000 he paid for two tickets for Super Bowl LVII between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles this month in Glendale, Arizona.
Eaton said he spends about $10,000 on Super Bowl tickets, travel expenses and hotel accommodations each time he attends the big game.
Sometimes, he takes his family with him which drives up the costs but he loves for them to share in the excitement of the NFL’s biggest stage and the Super Bowl after parties.
He shared his experience with the recent Super Bowl when the Chiefs won their second Super Bowl in four seasons against the Philadelphia Eagles this month in Glendale.
Eaton said the Super Bowl was the loudest he has ever experienced.
"Of the 57 Super Bowls I have been to, that was the loudest," he said.
Eaton said as a Black man, Super Bowl LVII and Super Bowl XXII in San Diego, California in 1988 are his two favorites.
Super Bowl LVII was the ﬁrst time in history two Black starting quarterbacks, Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts, faced off against each other, and Washington Redskins quarterback Doug Williams was the ﬁrst Black quarterback to start and win a Super Bowl over the Denver Broncos.
Eaton said another achievement for Blacks in sports is Super Bowl XLI in Miami when then-Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy and Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith became the ﬁrst Black NFL head coaches to square off on Super Sunday.
"I’ve been around football all of my life and those were something special," he said. "They said we weren’t smart enough to play quarterback and Doug Williams proved them wrong. We had two Black quarterbacks and two Black head coaches face each other in the Super Bowl. That is so special for African Americans."
Eaton said the helmet catch by Giants’ wide receiver David Tyree in Super Bowl XLII was also a memorable moment for him.
The catch set up Eli Manning’s game winning touchdown pass to Plaxico Burrers that gave the Giants the upset victory over the Patriots in Arizona.
"That was a great moment," Eaton said. "I don’t know how he caught it but he did and New York won."
Eaton said he has no plans of slowing down and is planning to attend Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas in February 2024.
"I love going to Super Bowls," he said. "No matter where they are, I plan on being there."
Jackie Salazar, an executive associate at Karoub and Associates, where Eaton now works as a consultant, said she has known him since 1986 and he’s a "great guy."
She said he always gives back to the community and will lend people the shirt off his back.
"He’s down to earth and just a wonderful person, someone you never think twice about his honesty and sincerity," Salazar told the South Florida Times. "He’s kind hearted and a very smart businessman."