We’ve all seen those “spectacular” wedding proposal stories on the internet. Cheesy scavenger hunts. Sappy speeches. Skywriting and hot air balloons. “That’s not happening,” said Brian. “I knew I wanted to marry Samantha. But we’re all about football, not flash mobs in front of the Eiffel Tower.” He knew his proposal had to be real, not Instagram perfect. Keep reading to find out how Brian and Samantha’s big moment during the big game got way more real than he ever anticipated.

Brian and Samantha are huge sports fans. Always have been. They met at a Super Bowl watch party, got into an argument over a referee’s decision, and immediately fell for each other. For two years they’ve heckled each other when their teams lose, and celebrated each other’s victories. Last year Brian had to adjust to a lot of red and black suddenly appearing in his mostly purple and gold apartment when he and Sam decided to move in together. So, when the third anniversary of their “first fight” came around, it was only natural they’d be watching the Super Bowl again. But Sam had a surprise for Brian. They were sitting on their red-and-purple patio, sharing a cigarillo, when she hit him with the news. “This year, we’re not arguing over ref calls in front of the TV,” she insisted. “We’re going to argue in front of eighty thousand people instead.” They were going to the Super Bowl.

“I was thrilled. It was amazing,” says Brian, “and at the same time I had this sinking feeling in my stomach.” Sam wasn’t the only one who had planned a big surprise for their third anniversary. “But how could I say no? That’s once in a lifetime.” So they decided to go, and Brian decided to improvise.

Finally, the big day came. They had been to games together of course, but nothing could have prepared them for the sheer excitement of the biggest game in sports. Brian had a bit of a problem though. When, in the middle of all this action, could he find room for his own surprise? He picked a moment just before half-time; the leading team had just gotten possession, they were sixty yards from the endzone; probably nothing major happening for a down or two. He reached into his pocket and got down on one knee.

Then, there was a roar from the crowd. An interception and mad dash to the endzone had suddenly put Sam’s team in the lead. She and about 40,000 other people leapt to their feet simultaneously, knocking right into Brian. His “surprise” went flying, hit the ground, and went bouncing off out of sight. “Everyone was screaming. I was screaming too,” Brian laughs, “but for a different reason.” He got on the ground, searching in a panic. Sam asked him what he was doing crawling through spilled beer, but he wouldn’t explain. Then she spotted something shiny lying under the seat in front of her. Someone had lost their ring. She knelt, grabbed it, and showed it to Brian. From the look on his face, she suddenly realized whose ring it was. “Hey,” she said, still on one knee, “want to fight over football forever?” Of course, he said yes.

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