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Largo couple hits big in the Super Bowl lottery

The payoff: tickets to the big game at RJS ... with or without an appearance by the Bucs.

By BRUCE LOWITT

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 21, 2000


Vin and Judy Piccolo of Largo admittedly got caught up in the post-season hype that put the Bucs in Super Bowl XXXV long before the first game of the 2000 season. One thing is sure. The Piccolos will be there.

Saturday they received word from the NFL -- in the form of an invoice -- they were winners in the ticket lottery for the Jan. 28 game at Raymond James Stadium.

The NFL said invoices were sent Thursday and Friday and that winners and losers should know their fate by today. Both will be notified by mail.

A short story in the Jan. 31 St. Petersburg Times gave instructions on how to enter the lottery and said that the deadline was June 1. "It's one of those things where you send it off and figure, "Well, that's it.' You just go through the motions,' " Vin Piccolo said. "It's like getting get struck by lightning to actually get them."

The cost: $325 apiece, plus an $8 service charge.

He said he got the tickets for his wife, Judy, because, "She's the bigger football fan in the family."

They are first-year Bucs season-ticket holders. After having lived in Connecticut, Long Island, Massachusetts and upstate New York, "this is the first time we've lived in an NFL city close enough (to the team) that we wanted to get season tickets," he said.

They will be at Sunday's game against Buffalo. They used to live in Utica, N.Y., and rooted for the Bills. "I'm going to wear a Bills shirt and a Buccaneers hat," Vin said. "Oh, my," Judy exclaimed. "Oh, I'm going in regular attire, nondescript, because all our friends, all the people in the stands are Bucs fans. ... Let's put it this way; whoever wins, I will be happy."

The NFL received about 34,000 lottery entries for 500 pairs of tickets, meaning the Piccolos beat odds of about 67-1. The likelihood of them getting two tickets through the team's lottery are much slimmer, unless the Bucs are in the Super Bowl.

Mike Newquist, the Bucs director of ticket operations, said 500 pairs would be in a lottery for about 60,000 season-ticket holders. That will rise to about 2,000 pairs if the Bucs are in the Super Bowl

Asked whether they would consider selling their tickets at a premium, Judy Piccolo was insistent. "No. Oh, no," she said. "We're planning on going. This is a once-in-a-lifetime shot. Why would you do that?"

Jim Steeg, the NFL's director of special events, was reluctant to disclose the names of other Tampa Bay-area Super Bowl lottery winners.

"That just means all of a sudden they get publicity and scalp them," Steeg said.

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