They hatched the plan last Wednesday, on the plane ride home from Dubai. The 15-hour flight gave them plenty of time to strategize.
“They know me. I can’t do it again,” Vitaly Zdorovetskiy, 28, told his friend.
Yuri Andrade, 31, suggested they needed a decoy. “To make this work, we need two people.”
And a map of Raymond James Stadium. And tickets to the Super Bowl.
By the time they landed in Florida, they had perfected their plot.
Some say these guys shouldn’t get any more publicity. They broke the law. They delayed the game. And both have been arrested before, everything from inducing panic to grand theft.
Others want to know who the troublemakers were, why they wanted to streak across the field and how they did it.
More than 96 million people caught a glimpse of their prank live on CBS. Inside the stadium, fans cheered.
On Tuesday, outside California Pizza Kitchen in Tampa, they shared their story.
‘Better than any drug’
They met as teenagers at Boca Raton High, and both still live in that area. Andrade helps manage his mother’s landscape and janitorial companies. Zdorovetskiy runs a YouTube channel where he pranks people and stages stunts at sporting events.
He sprinted across the pitch at the 2014 World Cup Final, onto the court at the 2016 NBA finals, across the field at the 2017 World Series. He’s been arrested for climbing the “D” in the Hollywood sign. He spent five days in an Egyptian prison for scaling a pyramid.
“It’s an adrenaline rush,” Zdorovetskiy said. “Better than any drug.”
His YouTube channel has more than 10 million subscribers. He has 620,000 followers on Twitter and is reported to have a net worth of $7 million. His adult website, “Vitality Uncensored,” features “nude party videos, pranks & more!” “It’s art,” he said.
During the last four Super Bowls, he dropped $80,000 on tickets and tried to streak across the field. Each time, security stopped him before he got to the gridiron — once before he even sat in his seat.
“They were waiting for me,” Zdorovetskiy said. “They have me on a watch list.”
But no one would be looking out for Andrade. Or for Douglas Schaffer, 28, another high school friend who agreed to be the decoy after Zdorovetskiy offered him $5,000.
On Saturday, the day before the Super Bowl, they searched for tickets online. Their seats had to be close to the field, near an aisle and exit. They paid $25,000 for two spots at the edge of the end zone, close to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ pirate ship.
Andrade told his mom what he was about to do, and he said she tried to talk him out of it. “I don’t need any negativity, Mom,” he said. “I’m doing this.”
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When he described the stunt to another friend, the guy grinned. “Wonder if there are any odds on that?” he asked Andrade, who is a betting man.
Sure enough, the online sports betting site Bovada was giving +750 odds that someone would streak during Super Bowl 55. “So a $1,000 bet gets you $7,500,” he said. “I called everyone I knew.” Some bets were limited to $800, so he seeded friends to invest. He also contacted bookies in Vegas and at other betting sites.
Zdorovetskiy put $10,000 on the table. Andrade bet $40,000.
They left Boca Raton Sunday morning, drove to Tampa and checked into a hotel. There, four hours before kickoff, they sat watching live feeds from the Bucs’ website. They studied schematics of the stadium, printed a map and plotted escape routes, watched videos of streakers at other games getting caught, analyzed what went wrong.
In the hotel bathroom, Andrade squeezed into a hot pink women’s swimsuit with Zdorovetskiy’s website emblazoned across the chest. His tattoo, Revelation 2:10, stretched between the straps. The Bible verse says: “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer.” The thong, he said, gave him a painful wedgie.
He pulled a red shirt and black gym shorts over the bathing suit, laced up the new neon green Under Armour sneakers he hoped “The Rock” would notice. In one pocket, he put $2,000 cash — bail money. In the other, he stashed a handful of melatonin tablets. “So I could fall asleep in jail.”
At the stadium, he put on a blue mask and bought a Bud Lite. Zdorovetskiy wanted him to make the run in the first quarter. But Andrade, who had never been to a Super Bowl, said, “If I’m going to the Super Bowl, I’m going to see the Super Bowl.”
So he and Schaffer watched the first half, then The Weeknd’s halftime show, then the third quarter when the Bucs scored 10 points. They also watched security guards and police officers patrolling the sidelines.
In the fourth quarter, Andrade popped the melatonin and chugged four Bud Lites — liquid courage. He didn’t really want to interrupt the game, so he waited for play to stop before he pounced.
With five minutes left, while the Chiefs were in a huddle, Andrade turned to Schaffer, “Let’s go!”
Deputy makes a great tackle
Schaffer ran onto the field first and dove onto the turf. Security officers from several sections raced to grab him, which gave Andrade an opening. He raced down the stadium stairs and, from six rows up, jumped over the fence and tore off his shirt.
That, he said, was “the greatest moment of my life.”
The crowd went wild. Two security guards tried to grab him, but he eluded them with a spin move, dashed past a lineman and blew a kiss to Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes — who scowled at him.
“Someone has run on the field, some guy with a bra,” announced radio sportscaster Kevin Harlan. “He’s running down the middle, at the 40, arms in the air in a victory salute ... He’s being chased to the 30, he breaks in a tackle with the security guard, down the middle to the 10, the 5 … He slides into the one, and they converge on him at the goal line.
“Pull up your pants, take off your bra, be a man!”
In the end zone, Hillsborough County Deputy Clinton Stearns tackled him. The deputy, it turns out, had played football at Plant City High.
“Don’t hurt me,” Andrade said. “The whole world is watching.”
His 15 minutes of fame
He didn’t get to see the Bucs win 31-9, or watch Tom Brady hoist the trophy, or celebrate in the stands.
Thanks to the melatonin and beers, he slept soundly in jail. And early Monday morning, he and his friend made bail: $500 each.
Both were charged with misdemeanor trespassing, which carries a $500 fine.
Monday night, they celebrated at the Penthouse strip club, where Andrade streaked onto the stage in his now-famous pink onesie and shimmied up the pole.
Over the last two days, hundreds of people have recognized him and asked to pose for pictures. Radio shows, TV stations, sports websites have called. Zdorovetskiy is ecstatic, already planning his next prank.
And about that bet: By late Tuesday, Bovada had pronounced Andrade’s account “in breach of our Terms of Service.”
Bovada “identified some betting irregularities on our Super Bowl prop ‘Will a fan run onto the field during the game?’ ” said a company statement. “We will continue to make sure that any publicity stunts or ill-intended behavior cannot adversely affect the outcome of a player’s wager.”
Andrade said only 20% of his bet was through Bovada. Vegas bookies and other sites, he said, are holding about $300,000 for him.
He said he plans to pay off his mother’s house.
“It’ll make my mom proud of me.”
• • •
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