It was an Internet meme that came to life as, without even a hint of irony, the streaker arrested at Super Bowl LV in Tampa was identified as a 31-year-old Florida man.
Yes, that Florida man you keep reading about in the world’s nuttiest headlines is absolutely real. In fact, he’s been doing dumb things for decades, particularly surrounding sports’ biggest spectacle.
Streakers during the Super Bowl
Boca Raton, Florida’s Yuri Andrade, was arrested and charged with trespassing when he jumped on the field and ran around in a pink leotard at Raymond James Stadium this past February. Although, he wasn’t the first streaker at the Super Bowl.
Right after the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction at halftime during Super Bowl XXXVIII at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas, a man wearing an NFL referee’s uniform stripped down to his birthday suit, had a little dance, and went for a run across the field.
Infamous streaker Mark Roberts had run around naked everywhere from a New Zealand All Blacks rugby game to the men’s final at Wimbledon and was simply adding the NFL’s biggest game to the list. He is not from Florida.
However, the Brit played the role of Florida man flawlessly. After New England Patriots linebacker Matt Chatham leveled him, police hauled Roberts off the field and tossed him in jail.
Streakers revenue and fines after their stunts
It’s worth noting that while both Andrade and Roberts acted like idiots running across a football field. Both of them wearing very little or no clothes at all, each made an arguably smart play. Andrade claimed to have bet $50,000 that Super Bowl LV would have a streaker.
Rumor has it he ran into some trouble collecting but may have won as much as $374,000. Roberts went a more conventional route to his own payday.
He grabbed a GoldenPalace.com sponsorship for his streak. Back in the early 2000s, the sketchy offshore online casino was giving away money to just about anyone willing to write its name on their back.
Roberts got $1 million, front row seats on the 50-yard line to help set up the streak, and GoldenPalace.com sprung for the lawyer who got his charges reduced to a misdemeanor with a $1,000 fine.
They weren’t exactly the Florida man arrested for calling 911 after his kitten was denied entry into a strip club. Nor were they the Florida man who was trapped in an unlocked closet for two days.
However, some NFL players have been involved in some pretty idiotic ‘Florida man’ moments. Specifically at the Super Bowl over the years as well.
Pre Super Bowl fumbles and arrests
Oakland Raiders center Barret Robbins did not get arrested the night before Super Bowl XXXVII in San Diego. However, he did disappear from the team hotel and was found boozing it up just south of the city. He was drinking in the notorious party town of Tijuana, Mexico. He got so wasted he reportedly thought Oakland had already won the game.
The Raiders played without Robbins, lost, and he didn’t sober up until six years later when he was shot three times by police in Miami and convicted on an attempted murder charge.
On an even more serious note, you may remember Super Bowl XXXV MVP Ray Lewis, who is from Florida, running into some big trouble at a Super Bowl XXXIV party in Atlanta. There was a brawl that resulted in two men being stabbed to death.
Lewis and two friends were indicted on murder and aggravated assault charges. He was acquitted of the murder charges but convicted of obstruction of justice. Lewis was fined $250,000 by the NFL but won that Super Bowl MVP award when he led the Baltimore Ravens to the title a year later.
Of course, Atlanta Falcons safety Eugene Robinson wins the award for the top ‘Florida man’ moment among NFL players at the Super Bowl. He got arrested the night before Super Bowl XXXIII after offering an undercover police officer $40 for oral sex.
Ironically, Robinson won the Bart Starr Award for best exemplifying outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field, and in the community earlier that same night. Then, he got burned for an 80-yard TD in the game as his Falcons lost.
Finally, there’s the blogger come media mogul turned sportsbook operator. Who made his bones playing the ‘Florida man’ arrested at the Super Bowl. Barstool Sports Founder and ‘El Presidente’ Dave Portnoy wasn’t nearly as Internet-famous as he was now when he got dragged out of Super Bowl LIII at Mercedez-Benz Stadium in Atlanta in handcuffs.
The story is that Portnoy, a massive New England Patriots fan, snuck into the NFL’s Opening Night festivities using a fake media credential. Once caught, he was turfed out. They told him he would be arrested for trespassing if he showed up at any other Super Bowl events.
Portnoy turned up at the game itself. After being hauled off to jail, he missed watching his Patriots win the big game. Apparently, they don’t have cable at the Fulton County Jail.