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Thursday, June 13, 2024

NFL Gifts Super Bowl Tickets to Eagles Fans Who Lost House in Fire

  • Eagles fans scammed out of tickets from Philadelphia's last trip to Super Bowl.
  • NFL provides Super Bowl tickets after seeing family recently lost home in California fire.
Chris DiSimone, and his son Ethan made it to the Super Bowl in Arizona.
Courtesy of Chris DiSimone.

PHOENIX — Philadelphia Eagles fan Chris DiSimone had to pull over after he received a text from Front Office Sports on Thursday. 

“I was in tears,” DiSimone said. “I couldn’t see the road.”

DiSimone was swindled out of about $5,000 the last time his Philadelphia Eagles were in the Super Bowl in 2018, details of which appeared in this FOS counterfeit ticket story. The article caught the eye of Melissa Pardi, the NFL’s senior director for social responsibility. 

Pardi asked FOS for DiSimone’s information to convey some good news. The NFL wanted to give DiSimone and his son tickets to Super Bowl LVII. 

“We like to surprise fans, and we are on the lookout for stories like Chris,” Pardi said. “We wanted to do something to brighten his day.” 

FOS texted DiSimone the NFL’s offer. 

“Are you kidding me?” the Eagles fan texted back. 

The tears immediately flowed when FOS assured DiSimone the league’s offer was real. 

Tough Times

It wasn’t just that DiSimone wasn’t able to get into Super Bowl LII, where his Eagles upset the New England Patriots. Dozens of fans each Super Bowl are duped out of money by scammers. It is less prevalent since the NFL went to digital-only tickets for the title game last year. 

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DiSimone’s home was destroyed in a May wildfire in Southern California. The costs of reconstruction and the need to save for his son Ethan’s college tuition next year meant DiSimone could not afford to see this year’s game in person. 

“Honestly, the fact he lost his home in a wildfire made his story stand out,” Pardid said.

Throughout the season, Pardi said all 32 teams and the NFL front office hand out hundreds of Super Bowl tickets to community leaders, military veterans, and people like DiSimone who are going through a rough patch in their personal lives.

Ethan DiSimone, who will attend San Diego State next year, was 13 when he and his father bought two fraudulent paper tickets and were turned away from Minneapolis’ U.S. Bank Stadium. 

“I remember being frustrated and confused,” said Ethan DiSimone, who watched the game back at their Airbnb. “We made the best of it.”

A Super Ending

The DiSimones drove from their temporary home in Southern California to the Phoenix area and arrived late Friday night. 

“For five years, every time the Super Bowl came up, I remembered that bad memory [from Super Bowl LII],” Chris DiSimone said. “In the back of my head, it’s always bothered me. Then we lost our house in the fire. This definitely closes a rough chapter enough. I can’t thank you enough.”

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