Auburn business owner Dan Cunliffe has a lot of exotic vacations under his belt. He’s been to the World Series, he’s at Disney all the time and he’s seen plenty of big award shows out in Hollywood.

The Super Bowl, though, has always eluded Cunliffe. He’s tried for years to get to the big game but never made it through the gates.

Super Bowl LII changed all that. When the Eagles met the Patriots on the field in Minnesota, Cunliffe was in the stadium after scheming all year to get there.

How did you manage to score tickets? I had been trying for years to score tickets. I had entered the Super Bowl NFL lottery to be able to buy tickets, entered contests, etc., and didn’t have any luck with those avenues. I ended up finding out about the NFL Extra Points card a while back and I signed up to rack up points, and this year I was finally able to redeem them for a pair of tickets to make it to my first Super Bowl.

What was the mood like in Minnesota? There was a lot of energy and excitement from all the fans. There were volunteers all around the city helping fans with everything from directions to helping them take photos. Everyone was in a great mood until the game ended. At that point some of us were not so happy.

See any celebrities while you were there? I saw quite a few celebs and actually got to meet quite a few players, like RG3, Kevin Faulk, John Randle, Tyreek Hill, the Gronkowski brothers, Andre Reed, Tiki Barber and a handful of others. I actually ran into Todd Chrisley and his son from the reality show “Chrisley Knows Best” on two different days. I did a special Super Bowl magic trick for his son along with some of the players I had met. I was hoping to see the infamous Mark LaFlamme out there, but I hear he’s kind of a recluse.

What did you think of the game itself? The game was exciting even up until the last minute. We were bummed the Pats lost, but at least it was a great matchup and the Patriots had opportunities to pull out a win even at the very end.

Was there any crying after the Patriots loss? I didn’t happen to see any tears on any of the fans on the way out of the game. Maybe it was because the Pats have a great record and could easily be in it again next year. Or it may be because it was 2 degrees and the tears froze instantly to the corners of people’s eyes.

And what about you? Let’s just say I wasn’t taking any selfies on the way out.

Whatcha got for souvenirs? I brought back some Super Bowl programs I got at the game for some friends, some trinkets they gave us at the game like a Super Bowl towel and Bud Light Super Bowl cups, a signed mini helmet by John Randle, a handful of other assorted items, along with a ton of pictures and some Super Bowl memories I will cherish for a lifetime.

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