Devastation runs deep for Patriots fans these days. Their team dropped the ball, literally, crushing their dreams of a fourth Super Bowl win. Their superstar quarterback tarnished his legacy, and their archenemies — New Yorkers — are basking in the glory.
“I can’t take another loss,” said John Edward, 23, as he walked through Kenmore Square on Sunday night. “I can’t stand Giants fans.”
Many fans yesterday were complaining of depression, devastation and overall grumpiness. But are their descriptions exaggerated, or can an upsetting loss really cause these feelings?
Dr. John F. Murray, a Florida-based sports psychologist who works with professional athletes, thinks it’s possible.
“On the whole, you are talking about a depressed mood,” Murray said. “You aren’t talking about anything close to needing medication. It’s not clinical depression although there could be isolated cases.”
Hormones may play a part in this general feeling of loss, said Murray. “There have been studies done that fans have more testosterone after a victory,” he said. “This is a community downer. It can cause an overall feeling of malaise.”
According to Adam Naylor, a professor of sports psychology at Boston University, an emotional investment can result in neurochemical changes.
“It really depends on how invested they are,” Naylor said. “If they have a tattoo of Pat the Patriot on them then maybe, if they bought a few tickets in the past probably not.”
Naylor said finger pointing following a loss (like Giselle Bundchen did after the Super Bowl) can also be cathartic. “Once we pass the blame, we feel better,” said Naylor.
No peace for Pats fans
Three men were arrested just after midnight yesterday after allegedly starting a fight with Giants fans in Brookline.
The victims told police they were walking and talking about the Giants when the group of men in their 20s harassed them and began the fight, according to a police report.
One of the men said he fought the victims to “defend the Patriots’ honor,” according to the report.
Some recent, monumental sports losses Boston fans have had to cope with:
2008: The Patriots, who were undefeated all year, lose to the Giants in the last minutes of the Super Bowl.
2010: In one of the most storied rivalries in sports, the Celtics lose by just four points to the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
2012: Favored to win their fourth Super Bowl, the Patriots again failed against the Giants, losing their lead in the final minutes of the game.