Ontario man wins $725,274 thanks to botched Packers-Seahawks call

A man bets on Proline. (VERONICA HENRI/QMI Agency file photo)

A man bets on Proline. (VERONICA HENRI/QMI Agency file photo)

DARRYL G. SMART, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:20 PM ET

Gino DiFelice and his Brantford family might want to send NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a gift basket for prolonging his labour dispute with the league's officials.

While the regular NFL officials went back to work last Thursday, DiFelice was revelling in his big Proline win, thanks in part to the replacement officials handling the Sept. 24 game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers.

A botched call on the last play of that Monday night game gave the Seahawks the victory and meant DiFelice won $725,274 thanks to a perfect 15-for-15 prorogation of the NFL's third week.

"I still can't believe it," DiFelice said Monday as he drove home from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. office in Toronto. "It's funny when you think of it. It's unbelievable."

DiFelice's windfall is the third highest Proline payday. The most a Proline ticket has paid out was $874,857 in December 2011, followed by $759,465 in October 2010.

And what makes it more unbelievable, is the way he picked the winning teams.

"Every week I do a ticket with my picks, and then I ask my kids (Mia, 12 and Marco, 10) who they like. I do one ticket each with their picks," DiFelice explained.

"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."

Going into the Monday night game, DiFelice was well aware that one of his tickets was a perfect 14-for-14.

"After Sunday, I had a feeling it was going to win," DiFelice said. "I actually looked up the directions to the OLG and read all of the disclaimers that night. I knew if Green Bay won I would still win something."

With the lucky ticket in a sealed envelope, DiFelice watched the Packers-Seahawks game with his wife and nephew, Nick.

"I watched the last 1:48 and that's about it," he said. "I couldn't watch the rest of the game. I had the ticket sealed in an envelope and nobody knew until after the game until I told them.

"When the play was under review I couldn't believe what was happening. When the call was made, I went nuts. I ripped open the envelope to show them. They couldn't believe it."

For the next five hours, DiFelice and his nephew stayed up waiting to see how much the ticket was worth.

"We were up until 5 a.m., constantly hitting refresh on the computer," he said. "It was a long five hours. When we found out how much it was worth, I couldn't believe it. I checked the ticket 10 times just to make sure."

DiFelice found out that, if the Packers had won, he would have had to split the prize with five others. He said he waited a week to claim his prize because of his work schedule with the City of Brantford.

"I'm a low-key guy and wanted to lay low," DiFelice said.

darryl.smart@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/darrylsmart1


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