As the New England Patriots lined up for a two-point conversion try with less than 1 minute to play in Super Bowl LI, the most nervous person west of the Mississippi River may have been in Columbia.
John Goehrke, a 20-year-old marketing major, knew that his chance for a date with tennis star Genie Bouchard was hanging in the balance of that conversion attempt.
“That was probably the most nervous moment, right before that two-point conversion, and they lined up with nobody in the backfield, so you knew they were passing,” Goehrke said. “It was crazy.”
Crazy indeed. The Patriots got the two points and then won 34-28 in overtime, and that secured Goehrke a date with Bouchard.
Here’s the backstory: When Atlanta jumped out to a 21-3 lead, Bouchard tweeted that she knew Atlanta would win, and Goehrke quickly tweeted back to her.
“I’ve been a big fan of hers for a couple of years now and I was going through Twitter and it was only the second quarter when I saw her tweet,” Goehrke said. “I just thought to myself it’s not over. That idea kind of just popped in my head, so I went through with it.
“I thought maybe there was a chance she would respond, but I thought there was no chance she’d actually agree to it.”
As the Patriots started on what would be the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history, Bouchard began to worry and tweeted back to Goehrke.
“I was starting to get nervous as the Pats were coming back and the score was getting closer and closer,” Bouchard said in an interview with TSN. “I was with my brother and my mom and they kept looking at me like ‘Oh you might have to go on a date’ and like making fun of me. I just couldn’t believe it could actually happen, so I was in complete shock.”
So was Goehrke.
“Once the game ended, that’s when everything started blowing up,” he said. “I started getting texts from my friends that knew. My Twitter started blowing up. It was the first time I had to start turning my notifications off.”
Goehrke, who is a fan of the Rams (!) and Tom Brady, is from the Chicago suburb of Vernon Hills, Ill., and said he’s been contacted by multiple media outlets, and his phone’s mailbox was full.
“It’s been crazy,” he said.
Bouchard tweeted this on Monday morning:
Despite that dazed look, Bouchard, 22, told TSN she has no regrets.
“It’s fun and I’m going to follow through with it, because I want to honor my word,” she said. “It’s just fun to have interactions like that with your fans. Like I said, I was so confident, but I think I was too confident. I just tempted fate a little bit too much. Yeah, here is my punishment.”
Finding the time to get together for the date might be tough. Bouchard, who is from Canada, obviously has a full schedule as the 45th-ranked player in the world. And Goehrke is in his second semester at Mizzou.
“You know what?” she told TSN. “I’ll fly him out (to a tournament), but besides that he has to be the gentleman and, you know, organize a fun date night.”
That could be in Miami.
Mizzou’s spring break is March 25 to April 2, while the Miami Open is March 20 to April 2.
Getting a free trip to a tournament in addition to a date with Bouchard? This keeps getting better for Goehrke.
“That,” Goehrke said, “would be awesome.”