The only thing 9-year-old third-grader Dylan Cooperider really expected from opening packs of football cards throughout the 2014 season was the fun of chasing his favorite Cleveland Browns players. A dream trip to Super Bowl XLIX as the grand prize winner in Panini America’s Super Bowl Kid Reporter contest remained a distant fantasy – no matter how many times he entered codes from the in-pack contest cards.
So you can imagine Dylan’s surprise when his father, Jeremy, got the call late last week that Dylan had in fact won that fantasy trip to the Super Bowl in Glendale, Ariz., to be Panini’s Super Bowl Kid Reporter for Tuesday’s Media Day, when he’ll team up with Super Bowl-winning quarterback Trent Dilfer, Panini America’s Super Bowl Kid Reporter ambassador, to interview players from the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks.
“At first I was a little skeptical because I had completely forgotten about us entering those cards in,” said Jeremy, who lives in Granville, Ohio, with his wife, Farrah, Dylan and Dylan’s older brother, Tyler. “When they called, the phone number came up as restricted on the cell phone and nine out of 10 times, I wouldn’t even answer that phone call. I’m glad I did.
“I figured we’d probably never go to a Super Bowl in our lives. Dylan would always say, ‘What if we won that trip to the Super Bowl?’ when we were putting the codes into the website and I would always say, ‘Don’t get your hopes up. The only way we’re ever going to the Super Bowl is if I win the lottery or the team you’re playing for is in the Super Bowl.”
That latter option may not be too far-fetched. Dylan, who stands more than 5-feet tall and weighs more than 130 pounds, towers over most of his fellow third-graders at Newton Elementary School and is the biggest player on his football team.
Dylan bought most of his cards this season at Walmart and loved looking at the pictures and reading about the players and their stats on the backs of the cards. When he discovered he could possibly win a trip to the Super Bowl just for collecting Panini America cards, the Joe Haden and Johnny Manziel fan jumped at the opportunity.
“I wanted to enter the contest immediately,” Dylan said. “But I didn’t think I’d have a chance to win. I’m really excited. I’m most looking forward to asking questions to Russell Wilson and Tom Brady.”
Dylan gets that chance on Tuesday, just two days after taking his first airplane ride. Later in the week, Panini America will host Dylan and his family at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Luncheon and the Panini Pop Warner Skills Clinic. On Sunday, Dylan and his father will make family history by attending Super Bowl XLIX.