‘Frank’ has been found! Viral search helps Bucs fan meet man whose cutout he ‘befriended’ at Super Bowl

Kansas City Chiefs

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — “Frank” has been found! With help from the internet, a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan and co-owner of a Tampa Bay brewery was able to track down the Kansas City Chiefs fan whose cardboard cutout he sat next to at Super Bowl LV.

LJ Govoni was at Raymond James Stadium for the Super Bowl on Sunday and sat next to a cardboard cutout that he affectionately named “Frank.” “Frank” was one of the thousands of fans who paid to have a cardboard cutout of themselves at Raymond James Stadium for the Super Bowl.

Govoni, the co-owner of Big Storm Brewing, tweeted throughout the Super Bowl asking for help finding his aisle-mate in the Kansas City jersey and white hat.

Thanks to social media, “Frank” was found on Tuesday. His real name is Clayton Whipple and he lives in Iowa.

The die-hard Chiefs fan found out what was going on when his phone started blowing up Tuesday morning. He said when he couldn’t make it to the Big Game, he figured why not spend money to have his picture featured in the stands, especially since the money was going to charity.

He had no idea what would come of it.

“I got a message earlier this morning from a friend (who) sent me the article on the story and I’m like, ‘wait, what’s going on? What’s happening?’ And then I saw all this, so it’s been fun to catch up on today,” Whipple said.

Whipple and Govoni officially “met” for the first time via Zoom Tuesday afternoon.

Govoni joked during the call that the two became really good friends on Sunday. The Bucs fan had documented his Super Bowl adventure with “Frank” on Sunday, showing them sharing a beer, chicken tenders and all of the emotions that came along with the historic Buccaneers victory.

“After a couple beers, you and I became really close, good friends,” Govoni said during the call. “Either you ate the chicken fingers, or my wife [did.] She says it was you.”

Whipple joked that he hoped Govoni shared but “didn’t spill any on me.”

During the call, Govoni officially offered to fly Whipple and his family down to Tampa, put them in a hotel on the beach and show off all that the Tampa Bay area has to offer.

“And personally I think, more importantly, come here and have some beers and eat with us and get to know you guys,” Govoni said. “My wife and my son, assuming he’s behaving, will be with us. My parents – they think this is hilarious and want to meet you. Look, from just one fan to another, especially since you didn’t win the game and that’s tough … we just want to extend the general hospitality that Tampanians are known for.”

Whipple accepted Govoni’s offer and said he looks forward to actually meeting the man who sat next to the cardboard version of himself at the Big Game. He even suggested Govoni name a beer after him at the brewery.

During the Zoom call, Govoni was also introduced to Whipple’s wife and two sons, who will make the trip to Florida too. The family said they were excited to head down to the Sunshine State and escape the cold of Iowa, noting that “we’re running out of places to put the snow.”

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and Whipple’s work schedule, the exact time of the visit has yet to be determined. But Govoni said he’s looking forward to it after the “weird year” of 2020.

“I think there’d be nothing nicer than two people that don’t know each other – literally from opposite parts of the country, essentially, and opposite teams – getting together and just being communal,” he said. “Sports and beer, I think, have a really unique way of bringing communities together.”

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