GoFundMe Aims to Help 93-year-old Sportswriter Cover Super Bowl

Jerry Green of Grosse Pointe is the only journalist to cover every Super Bowl, but ‘The Detroit News’ doesn’t pay his expenses anymore
jerry green
A GoFundMe has been launched to support sportswriter Jerry Green. // Photograph courtesy of Jenny Klein

The only journalist to cover every Super Bowl is heading to Los Angeles this weekend on his own dime on behalf of The Detroit News, which no longer pays his expenses — so fans have launched a GoFundMe campaign to defray the cost of the flight, hotel, and food.

Jerry Green, 93, of Grosse Pointe, was featured this week in an article I wrote for Newsweek recalling his illustrious six-decade career covering Detroit sports. As of 2020, Green was the last of the 338 credentialed reporters who covered Super Bowl I to have made it to every Super Bowl, but this could be his last time. He says he liked the idea of stopping at 56, the same number of consecutive games his childhood baseball idol Joe DiMaggio hit safely in for one of sports’ most vaunted records. Like DiMaggio, Green owns “another unbeatable record. That might be enough,” he says.

While Green did not make a big deal out of the lack of financial support from The News, where he worked on staff from 1963 to 2004 and continues to contribute freelance columns, some Newsweek readers were offended that it’s on him to pay his way.

Amy Turner, a reader in Las Vegas, launched the GoFundMe with a $5,000 goal, writing: “It’s a shame that newspapers are so cash-strapped these days that a 93-year-old has to pay to do his work, which he loses money on but does anyway because it’s his passion and livelihood. This could be Jerry’s last Super Bowl. Let’s raise enough money for Jerry and his daughter to fly direct, stay somewhere nice, and have some good meals. It’s only right that after more than 60 years, he gets to go out in style.”

After his retirement, The News asked him to continue to cover Super Bowls, but they stopped paying his way at least a decade ago, he says. For the past three years, he’s traveled with his daughter, Jenny Klein of Troy, to ensure his safety.

Among Green’s distinctions, he was one of a half-dozen reporters in an iconic Sports Illustrated photo of an impromptu press conference with a shirtless New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath lounging by the pool before Super Bowl III. Green recalled that in a 2019 column commemorating the 50th anniversary of that moment. He’s been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as well as the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame and the Michigan Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

While Green is suffering the impact of aging — back and leg troubles, hearing difficulties — he still writes columns for The News, like one this week about his appreciation of the career of University of Michigan alum and seven-time Super Bowl champ Tom Brady. “Tom Brady is a cherished No. 2 in my GOAT rankings,” he wrote, referring to his personal “greatest of all time” ranking. “My GOAT? Johnny Unitas, in the high-topped, black cleated boots winning championships for the Baltimore Colts.”

Green’s journalistic acumen and stamina have been praised by others in the industry. “Jerry has basically what appears to be a photographic memory — and the ability to put the history into context in the present,” The Detroit News sports editor Gerald Ahern says in my Newsweek story. While Michael Signora, the NFL’s senior vice president for communications, says Green “is a legend. He’s become synonymous with the Super Bowl, and I cannot imagine walking into the press box on game day and not seeing him. Jerry has chronicled this event from its inception, watching it grow and develop into something that has become part of the fabric of American life.”