Paul Layne is probably best known as an SMU superfan. This is the title given to him by ESPN. Currently, he is battling serious health issues in his ICU.

DALLAS — Melissa O’Brien calls her colleague and friend Paul Laing “a bit of a superhero.”

“He has the most golden heart,” she said.

He is beloved in many circles, especially among realtors like hers.

His genuine compassion for others and zest for life create superhero qualities.

His undying loyalty to the SMU Mustang makes him an undisputed superfan.

“Paul has been in consecutive SMU football games for 50 years, starting in 1972 as a cheerleader as a freshman in college,” O’Brien said.

But about a month before the season started, Dave Perry Miller’s real estate agent, Rain, developed a serious blood clot.

After that, he underwent intestinal surgery and continues to struggle in the ICU.

Saturday night was supposed to be game number 543, but the winning streak had to end.

O’Brien and a group of friends and realtors made T-shirts that read, “I’m Paul Laing.”

They printed out a picture of a friend wearing an SMU jersey, bought tickets for the season opener at the University of North Texas, Denton, and went to the game in his place.

“It was our goal to make sure he didn’t miss out, so we gathered an army and joined him on his horse,” she said.

The tributes didn’t stop with our friends in the stands.

The team put Rain’s initials on their helmets.

A page dedicated to keeping people up-to-date about his fights also features photos of other groups who have taken his place.

O’Brien and the real estate agent attend every match until he himself can take the place of his friend.

They are currently coordinating travel plans.

“Maryland and Orlando are scheduled, and I think we have some home games, and I hope Paul gets up sooner or later,” O’Brien said.

Friends say it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what makes Paul so special.

Being extremely loyal is definitely at the top of the list.

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