By Nick Granados
SC Staff Writer
There has been controversy over the replacement referees used during the NFL lockout. Although the regular officials have been back on the field for the past few weeks, the replacement refs are still making headlines.
Following the controversial game-winning touchdown that gave the Seattle Seahawks a 14-12 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football back on September 24, the effects of the blown call were felt by many. In Las Vegas, approximately $150-$200 million in bets shifted as a result of the controversial call.
For 43 year-old Gino DiFelice of Brantford, Ontario, Canada, that mistake earned him $725,274.
DiFilice entered three different sets of picks into the pool. He filled one out himself, had his 10 year-old son make picks in another, and had his 12 year- old daughter make picks on the third one.
Having not seen any games on Sunday, he checked his daughter’s ticket at midnight and, much to his surprise, saw that she correctly picked 14 out of the 14 matchups that week, with only Monday night’s game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks left. DiFelice was so nervous, he and his son drove around Brantford to kill the time during the game, while his son provided updates.
Down 12-7 with just seconds left to play, Seahawks QB Russell Wilson heaved up a desperation Hail Mary pass to WR Golden Tate. The pass appeared to be intercepted by Green Bay’s M.D. Jennings (and replays appeared to show Jennings had possession of the ball first), but the replacement officials ruled that it was a simultaneous catch (in which case the ruling is in favor of the offense).
But, in Brantford, Ontario at the DiFelice house, there was sheer pandemonium and disbelief. The controversial call meant that his 12-year old daughter Mia’s ticket had all 15 picks correct, turning a $5 bet into a whopping $725,274. He ripped open the envelope to prove that his daughter picked Seattle. “I double checked it about 10 times to make sure it was right,” he said.
A week after winning, DiFelice took his winning ticket to cash it in. He said he plans to keep playing, along with his kids and three tickets (which costs $5 per ticket). Despite being $725,274 richer, DiFelice is still working, coaching his kid’s soccer team each week, and continuing to live a normal life.
“My daughter is the one who picked that whole ticket, pretty much,” he said.
As for his daughter, who was the one behind the winning ticket, she is certainly going to be rewarded for her win. So what is the reward for his daughter?
“A free education,” a laughing DiFelice said.
Email Nick at: