A $10 buy-in and a lucky fantasy football player pick in 2016 earned Destin resident Susan Chang an all-expenses paid four day, three-night trip for two to the Super Bowl to watch the New England Patriots take on the Philadelphia Eagles in Minnesota.
According to the NFL, the retail value of the trip is around $8,000.
Chang, a lifelong Saints fan and 10-year employee of Harry T’s Lighthouse in Destin, signed up for the NFL Playoff Challenge in the Harry T’s Women’s Fantasy Football League about five years ago and came in first place.
“That’s when I started paying more attention to players and people on other teams,” Chang said.
When the male employees of Harry T’s finally allowed the female employees to join their fantasy league, they all signed up for the NFL Playoff Challenge. The Challenge focuses on the eight teams that make it to the playoffs, and each participant creates their all-star team out of the overall pool of players across the eight teams.
“Everyone picked a player named LeGarrette Blount, who was on the New England Patriots at the time, but I picked running back James White of the New England Patriots,” Chang said.
That running back was her ticket to creating the winning fantasy football team.
“He wasn’t a very popular player on the team, but he ended up blowing up and got more points than Tom Brady. No one else picked him except for me,” Chang said.
In the 2016 Playoff Challenge, Chang came in last for the first two weeks and the guys teased her, saying there was no way she was going come in first place.
“I was just being silly and I kept saying, 'I’m going to win,'” Chang said.
Chang’s team, “SusiePing’s Picks,” not only won her $120 as the Harry T’s Lighthouse NFL Playoff Challenge winner, but it shot her to the top of the national charts and tied for first place with another person competing in the Playoff Challenge. Both Chang and the anonymous player had 1,001 total points by the end of the playoffs. She won the tiebreaker by finding out that she had submitted her team lineup first for the final playoff game.
“After a month of waiting to hear from the NFL, I figured the other guy won it all, but on March 2nd, I got the email telling me I was the grand prize winner.”
On Friday, Chang and her roommate and best friend of many years, Jaimie Wood, took off for the Minnesotan tundra. Their Super Bowl tickets include VIP tailgate access, where Chang will be able to rub elbows with Hollywood A-listers and other professional athletes.
“Three years ago, Jaimie won an all-expenses paid trip to New York City through her company, so she took me. I never thought I could repay her, so when I won this trip, there was no doubt in my mind I was going to take her,” Chang said.
When asked who she wanted to win, she frowned.
“Well, definitely not New England!”