Replacement ref's call leads to $725,000 payout on $5 bet

Martin Rogers, Yahoo!7 October 4, 2012, 10:40 am

For millions of NFL fans the refereeing lockout is already ancient history, with the right men in the middle having returned to police Sunday afternoons with an iron, and thankfully precise, fist.

Replacement officials rule Golden Tate scores the winning touchdown against Green Bay. (AP)Yet while that sorry epidemic of blown class and red-faced moments is a thing of the past, a Canadian man will always have cause to remember those few weeks of mayhem with nothing but fondness.

Gino DiFelice of Brantford, Ontario, turned a cheeky wager of $5 into the life-changing windfall of $725,254 when he correctly picked the outcome of 15 NFL games a week ago, with that 15th win coming courtesy of the highest-profile and most debated decision laid down by any of the stand-in refs.

When the substitute crew controversially ruled that the Seattle Seahawks' Golden Tate had scored a game-winning touchdown to beat the Green Bay Packers, DiFelice secured a payout big enough to fund a few referees' retirement plans.

As he collected his check from the Ontario gaming authority's headquarters, DiFelice didn't care that the majority of the viewing audience – the ones with functioning eyesight – believed the Packers' M.D. Jennings had secured a legitimate interception on the game's final play.

Neither was the lucky winner's delight tempered by the fact that it was his 12-year-old daughter who provided the expert analysis needed to secure the blockbuster check.

"When the play was under review I couldn't believe what was happening," he told reporters. "When the call was made, I went nuts. I ripped open the envelope.

"Every week I do a ticket with my picks and then I ask my kids who they like. I do one ticket each with their picks. The winner was the ticket my daughter consulted me on. The funniest part is, the ticket I made all of the picks myself, I only got four right.

"I watched the last 1:48 and that's about it. I couldn't watch the rest of the game."

Tales of big wins on football bets are nothing new, with the heavy-hitters of the gambling world putting their money where their mouth is each week on the Vegas line. However, DiFelice's win is extraordinary because of his relatively small outlay, now worth around $5.08 U.S. dollars thanks to last week's slump in greenback value.

Multi-game accumulators are allowed as part of the lottery system in Canada, with the money pooled together and distributed among any winners. DiFelice was the only winner that week and the payout was the third largest in the game's history.

"Players use a card that list the games in the NFL that week and they have the chance to pick who they think will win," a spokesman for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission told Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday. "The game has a 60-percent payout, so three dollars from every five goes into the prize pool. Obviously, the pool will be much bigger if there is a solo winner."

So while the replacement officials have gone back to, well, wherever they came from in the first place, they will be largely forgotten and occasionally ridiculed in moments of nostalgia. Except for in the home of Gino DiFelice, for whom the silliest call of the NFL season was mightily welcome.

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  1. D Mack04:29pm Thursday 04th October 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    It defies belief that our courts will send 4 innocent beautiful young girls back to Italy but we cant deport the musl!m SCUM who rampaged through Sydney and want to see our country in flames. Australia is doomed to the same fate as UK/France etc unless we have strong & competant right wing leadership.

  2. Jeffrey04:02pm Thursday 04th October 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    classic- good luck to him ( and his daughter )....yeehaa

  3. Lonnie03:50pm Thursday 04th October 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    if you don"t like it ,don't read it .No one is forcing you

  4. Mars03:42pm Thursday 04th October 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    India's poorest could lose access to vital medicines if big drug companies curb the generic medications industry. This Yahoo is news worthy. Greed lives on

  5. Paul03:37pm Thursday 04th October 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    What's better Yahcrap, or Yawnhoo?

  6. Damian03:35pm Thursday 04th October 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    I'm guessing that most of these comments are from the same person. You know what? Don't read Yahoo if it makes you upset.

  7. Mars03:32pm Thursday 04th October 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    6 and half billion people do not give a @$%$@ about this game

  8. Mars03:27pm Thursday 04th October 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    "I watched the last 1:48 and that's about it. I couldn't watch the rest of the game." Earths' other 6 and half billion people couldn't give a #$%$ about this game. Yah#$%$ would post idiot items when more news worthy stories are going on around the world.

    1 Reply
  9. michael03:04pm Thursday 04th October 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    Yahoo thinks that people clock on the story because they are interested in it. In reality it's actually to comment on how #$%$ yahoo is.

  10. Milily02:00pm Thursday 04th October 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    Once again, YaANYhoo manages to scour the globe for the most irrelevant #$%$ for us to comment on. Talk about censorship by media...