Most Mainers didn’t have much invested in Sunday’s Super Bowl match-up.
But at the start of the second half, the scene at Binga’s Stadium in Portland told a different story.
“It was like the Sox winning the World Series in here,” said Michael Harris, owner of the restaurant and sports bar on Free Street.
As a promotion to get people to come in for the game, Binga’s promised to give away $10,000 to all its customers if a kickoff was returned for a touchdown at the start of either half.
“Everybody said, ‘It will never happen,’ ” said Harris.
Then, at the start of the second half, it did. Percy Harvin of the Seattle Seahawks ran back the kickoff for a touchdown.
“Everybody’s giving each other high-fives at different tables,” said Erik Thayer, 23, of Portland.
If it weren’t for the promotion, he and his friend Sari Weiss would have been long gone by then, they said.
Instead, Weiss, 21, of Portland, said she’ll be using the money she won to pay her utility bills.
“CMP, coming straight at you,” she said, referring to Central Maine Power Co.
There were 211 people in the restaurant at the time of the touchdown, so Harris decided to give everyone $50 even.
That didn’t quite cover the tab that Scott Abel, his son and his son’s friends racked up eating wings, but it put a good dent in the bill.
“I’m gonna give it right back to ’em,” Abel said, stacking the cash he won on the check he needed to pay.
Abel, of Davis, Calif., was visiting his son, a student at the University of New England. His son and his son’s friends went back to the campus in Biddeford at halftime.
“If they would have stayed, I would have come out ahead,” he said. That’s if they shared the money.
Still, Harris was the only loser in the bar on Sunday, but he said it was worth it to see the smiles on everyone’s faces.
“I’ve spent $10,000 on worse things in my life,” he said.
Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at: