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Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN)
A Philadelphia Eagles fan scored an ill-gotten souvenir Sunday when he ripped off a purple plastic seat from U.S. Bank Stadium following Super Bowl LII. His act soon went viral.
He slipped it out of the stadium, sneaked it past security on the busiest day ever at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Monday and on to an American Airlines flight. While he got away, cameras caught him in the act and shared the evidence online.
The man had his new souvenir strapped to his carry-on suitcase when he pulled up a seat next to Marcus Certa in the gate area, and boldly let everybody within earshot know who the new world champions were.
"I kept waiting for somebody to say that he was too intoxicated to get on the plane or that he had a stolen item," said Certa, who was returning to Vermont after attending Sunday's game. "The TSA and the feds are more concerned how much pot you have, not that you have a seat stolen from a stadium."
Certa said he tried not to make eye contact with the man, who can be seen in a video posted by the satirical sports and men's lifestyle blog Barstool Sports. The video shows him walking out of a tent with the seat partly concealed by a coat. The man, wearing clothing with an Eagles logo and what looks like game credentials, is shown shaking the hand of a worker in the coat check area before walking out. Certa said the seat still had the coat check ticket on it when the man got on a plane heading to Charlotte, N.C.
On Instagram, Certa posted a message to U.S. Bank Stadium, saying, "You appear to be missing a seat. The drunk guy next to me has it."
On Tuesday, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA), which operates the two-year-old stadium, said it was aware of the video and that the authority's security team was investigating the incident.
The MSFA has not filed any damage or theft reports with Minneapolis police, and has not asked police to investigate any such cases, said police spokeswoman Darcy Horn.
The seat heist was not the only mischief exhibited by Philly fans. Zak Fick had his camera rolling to capture Eagles fans' joy in section 307 when their team won their first Super Bowl title.
And then he caught something else: fans busting up purple plastic seats in a section of U.S. Bank Stadium where tickets went for more than $1,200.
"I heard a few cracks and turned around to see Eagles fans with beer in their bellies and smiles on their faces snapping off a seat back," said Fick, a die-hard Vikings fan from South Dakota who got tickets to the game from family members. "They kicked a hole in a seat and busted the whole thing off. Three seats right there in 307."
Indignant, Fick took the destruction personally, and tried to chase down the culprits to stop them.
"It's like welcoming them into our home and then before going home the child has to break the china," he said.
Fick said he was sort of rooting for the Eagles, his second-favorite team. He is a big fan of North Dakota State University football and Carson Wentz, the Eagles quarterback sidelined by injury. But he really was just hoping for a "great game."
Fick was disturbed enough to post his photos online and preach a little.
"To Philadelphia fans, you are more than welcome to come to our stadium. We love opening our homes and cities and expect respect in return," he said. "Everybody is happy for you guys. You can be happy without the blot on the celebration."
The damaged seats will be "repaired or replaced immediately," the MSFA statement said. "On a broader note, U.S. Bank Stadium was once again spectacular, this time on an international stage in front of more than 100 million people."
Calls and e-mails to the MSFA seeking answers to further questions were not returned Tuesday.
Tim Harlow · 612-673-7768
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