NFL awards Super Bowl tickets to Eagles fans who were duped into buying fake Super Bowl LII tickets
Regardless of whether Philly loses to the Kansas City Chiefs, two Eagles fans will remember this year’s Super Bowl in particular after the NFL gifted them free tickets to the big game in Arizona — four years after the 2018 Super Bowl LII ticket-counterfeiting problem, when they were defrauded of about $5,000.
Chris DiSimone said he couldn’t believe it when he found out Thursday that he and his son were going to witness Jalen Hurts and the Eagles are trying to win the franchise’s second Super Bowl title in 11 years.
What’s more, the surprising news comes just nine months after Dee Simon lost his family home in a wildfire in the South California in May.
“I was in tears,” DiSimone said Front Office Sports on Thursday, three days before Super Bowl LVII. “I couldn’t see the road.”
In 2018, DiSimone was scammed out of about $5,000 to see his beloved Eagles take on Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Philly ended up winning it all that year after a spectacular showing from QB Nick Foles.
Chris and Ethan DiSimone are in Glendale, Arizona to watch their beloved Eagles win on Sunday
In 2018, DiSimone purchased $5,000 worth of fake Super Bowl tickets to see Philly play
Four years later, DiSimone’s story caught the attention of Melissa Pardi, the NFL’s senior director of social responsibility. She wanted to make things right, this time.
“We like to surprise fans and we’re looking for stories like Chris,” she said. “We wanted to do something to make his day.”
DiSimone is far from the only football fan to have been cheated out of a Super Bowl game.
Every year, an average of a dozen NFL fans fall victim to financial scams as fraudsters take advantage of their desperation to attend the biggest game in American football.
However, since last year, the NFL has only sold digital tickets to the annual title game after receiving a ton of complaints from fans over the years.
“Honestly, the fact that he lost his house in a wildfire made his story special,” Pardi also said of DiSimone’s situation.
The Eagles fan has found himself under some financial pressure after coming to terms with the fact that he will have to cover the cost of a home in California and the cost of his son Ethan’s college education next year.
And Pardee said that people who are going through a difficult time in their lives, like DiSimone, are exactly who the NFL wants to hand out free tickets to.
The DiSimones traveled from California to Phoenix, Arizona to watch their Eagles win it all
The NFL sent free tickets to the DiSimones after they lost their home in a fire in California in May
This year, the league has made it their mission to help those in need and give them a chance to smile by giving them free admission to games. Military veterans and community leaders are among those the NFL is reaching out to.
And Ethan, who is set to attend San Diego State next year, remembers when he was 13 and how he and his father were tricked into buying two fake paper tickets only to end up being denied entry to US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis , Minnesota.
“I remember being disappointed and confused,” said the young Eagles fan, adding that he and his father went back to their Airbnb to watch the game. “We did our best.”
This year will be a different experience for the DiSimones, who drove all the way from Southern California to Phoenix on Friday to make sure they get all the Super Bowl action this time.
“For five years, every time the Super Bowl happened, I was reminded of that bad memory [from Super Bowl LII]” said Chris DiSimone.
“It always bothered me in the back of my head. Then we lost our house in a fire. This certainly closes a rather rough chapter. I can’t thank you enough.”