Perhaps the most amazing of his exploits came at the age of 72, when he did it again … for the 33rd time. According to CNN, the super sneak snuck into his 33rd Super Bowl game — not just to attend and not because he couldn’t afford a ticket. (He was quite successful in real estate.) No, Dion Rich likes the game. Not the one he attended, but the one he played when he tried to sneak in. And he was really good at it.
The former night club owner made a career of sneaking into Super Bowls and got onto the field and even into the locker rooms on numerous occasions. There are pictures of him standing on the winner’s platform along with Vince Lombardi and Pete Rozelle at the first Super Bowl. He helped carry Dallas Cowboys’ coach, Tom Landry, off the field following Super Bowl XII and was photographed saying something into Joe Gibbs’ ear as the former Redskins’ coach was leaving the field after Super Bowl XVII.
He loved the game of sneaking in, but wasn’t content merely with Super Bowls. Dion has crashed the party of the Academy Awards (even getting his picture taken with his arm around Gwyneth Paltrow after she’d just won an Oscar). He’s snuck in to title fights, the Kentucky Derby, World Series games, and at least fourteen Olympics.
There’s one gate no one will be able to crash.
Super Bowl XXXVI presented the most difficult challenge he ever faced in terms of security. Because of the events of September 11, there was more security at that game than at any previous one. The NFL alone spent $7 million on a security strategy that included not only local law enforcement agencies but also the National Guard, FBI, FEMA, and even the Secret Service. There were barricades and fences everywhere. (A 10-foot chain-link and barbed-wire fence encircled the entire perimeter of the Superdome.) Entrances were reduced to a select few locations staffed with a literal army of security people. On top of that, the NFL admitted they knew about him and were watching out for him.
But he got in … in less than six minutes.
Dion Rich has been to 35 Super Bowls and never paid for a ticket. The “World’s Greatest Gate Crasher,” as he is known today is 88 years of age and lives in San Diego. According to one article, he has posed as a security guard, a waiter, an NFL official, a disabled person in a wheelchair and as a woman. You’ve got to hand it to the guy. He’s resourceful, creative, innovative, daring, and … well, sneaky. There’s something (albeit carnal) in most, if not all, of us that admires someone who can get away with something like that. And who among us wouldn’t love to get into 35 Super Bowls without paying a fortune or even a dime to get in?
But there’s one gate no one will be able to crash. It’s the one Jesus spoke about in Matthew 7:13-14. “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
As good as he is, even Dion Rich can’t help you get through that gate.
You’ll need JESUS for that. (John 14:6)
© 2019. Barry L. Cameron
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.