James Lipscomb has been a Bengals fan since the beginning.
It seemed almost like destiny that he'd be a fan. Lipscomb attended the team's very first game at Nippert Stadium on Aug. 3, 1968, on his birthday.
"The team was just a mish-mosh of players. It was hard to believe they even put a team on the field," Lipscomb said. "It was against Kansas City and we got stomped to death."
Lipscomb was a season ticket holder for decades and never deserted the team, despite the ups and many downs. Now at 86 years old, he's ready to witness something he's never seen before. He wants to see the Bengals win a Super Bowl.
"I'll be there if he has to drag me there in a wheelchair or a stretcher, I'll be there. I'm telling you," Lipscomb said.
He very well might be on his way now that a GoFundMe campaign called "Get Grandpa to the Superbowl" raised more than $35,000 this week.
It started after Lipscomb's family posted a video of him in tears after the Bengals won the AFC Championship.
"I had this blanket around me, I just put that blanket over my face and sobbed," Lipscomb said. "I just, being with them since 1968, I went to the Super Bowl in Detroit, but I didn't go to the other two Super Bowls. I sat through the Freezer Bowl down in Cincinnati…it was terrible, below-zero temperatures."
The video of Lipscomb soaking in the Bengals' latest win went viral.
"My grandchildren and my son-in-law and daughter keep telling me different numbers that's on the social media and I just I can't believe it," he said. "In 2015 we were at the playoff game…I remember us three grown men sobbing walking back to the car (after the loss)," said Brandon Burtis, Lipscomb's grandson. "When I saw a different type of crying from grandpa, I was just like I want to share this with as many people as I can."
Burtis said supporting the Bengals is a family affair.
"Growing up with the Bengals being a laughing stock and still remaining a fan…it's been rough," Burtis said. "You get made fun of a lot, but when you see the signs of hope in your team, it means that much more."
Don Eschenbrenner, Burtis' stepfather, agreed.
"All the playoff games with the Steelers...it is really soul-crushing, but this is what makes it sweet," he said.
Eschenbrenner, a lifelong Bengals fan himself, will be the one to accompany Lipscomb to the game if they're able to raise the money."It's always on my bucket list to go," Eschenbrenner said.
"You work all your life to get to go somewhere then you retire and you can't afford it. So, you spent your whole life loving something you can't ever go see live."
Still, Lipscomb's family is hopeful he can make it to California Feb. 13. "It's really unbelievable to me that so many people in this area have sent messages on Facebook, Twitter and then people donated money," Lipscomb said.
"It's absolutely amazing to me. I'll be sitting there and just think about it and start crying. I'm that type of person, I'm very emotional."
To date, the fundraiser has raised over $38,000.
This story was originally published by Dave Briggs and Alex Livingston of Newsy. Mariel Carbone of WCPO contributed to this report.