Tom Collins reflected the mood that was in the frigid air at Boston’s City Hall Plaza late Monday morning.
Yes, said the 48-year-old ironworker from Weymouth, the New England Patriots would beat the Seattle Seahawks in next Sunday’s Super Bowl. No, Deflate-gate was not a big deal. No, the Pats didn’t cheat. Why was it getting attention? That’s easy: everyone loves to hate this town, he said.
“It’s been us against the world here in Boston for a long time,” he said. “Everyone hates Boston because of our sports teams.”
Collins was among the hundreds who braved the freezing temperatures and light snow flurries to send the New England Patriots off to Glendale, Arizona. Some waved placards that stating “Do Your Job.” House of Pain blaired on the PA. A collection of captains, including quarterback Tom Brady addressed the crowd, thanking them for their support.
“I’m absolutely confident that the Pats are coming home with number four. I think they win by two touchdowns, maybe 17 points.”
He was not alone. A siege mentality – exacerbated by recent allegations of illicit ball doctoring – permeated the crowd.
“When you’re on top everyone wants to bring you down,” said Cory Fonteyne, 27, a UNH student from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. “They hate us ‘cause they ain’t us. That’s how it is.”
His brother, Sean, a 22-year-old who studying French and Italian in Central France, returned to watch the Super Bowl. He didn’t make it home for Christmas, but felt he had to be in New England for the big game. He thought the Pats would match up well with the Seahawks.
“The teams that have beaten the Seahawks, they’ve established the run game early, so I think it’s imperative we come out firing with LaGarrette Blount,” he said. “Then it’s some short slants after play action, maybe Gronk up the seam. But it starts with the run game.”
Raul Villareal, a 22-year-old Verizon worker from Providence, said he was nervous about the game, but still thought New England would eke out a victory.
“This is the best team we’ve had in ten years, especially on defense with Wilfork, Browner and Collins,” he said.
Anne Rouse, a 62-year-old MBTA driver from Weymouth, predicted a 28-3 Pats victory.
“Why? Because Tom Brady is the best,” she said, before alluding to Deflate-gate. “We don’t have anything to feel guilty about.”
Debra McKay, a 52-year-old postal worker from Exeter, New Hampshire, had similar thoughts. She refused to believe her beloved team would cheat.
“They’re the best,” she said. “They have Tom. That means they’re going to win.”