The Phoenix Landing in Cambridge was full of confidence throughout the first half. Tom Brady would prevail, said the believers. Seattle was overrated, they said. No, they didn’t want to talk about deflated footballs.
Chris Meoli, a 32-year-old teacher from Cambridge decked out in a Rodney Harrison jersey, recalled the last time the Patriots were in the Super Bowl. He was teaching in China. The game started at 4 a.m. Class started at 7.
“I decided to put the game on in the classroom, as sort of a cultural exchange thing,” he said. “But then we lost and I cancelled class for the rest of the day. I didn’t want them to see what I was capable of.”
As the national anthem was being sung, he was confident the night would end with a Pats victory.
“Brady can’t lose another Super Bowl,” he said. “More importantly I can’t handle them losing another Super Bowl.”
Molly Mowery, a 30-year-old teacher from Malden, was equally as confident.
“Tom Brady’s going to play awesome because he plays best when he’s pissed off,” she said.
Dan Gosselin, a 33-year-old from Brewster, who just moved back from Texas and is currently unemployed, recalled past Patriots Super Bowls between sips of a Cape Codder. There were the riots at UMass. He was in New Orleans for the 18-1 game, and in Texas with his in-laws for the second loss to the Giants.
“That was bad. I was drunk and upset and yelling and swearing and the grandmother was there, she’s in her 90s,” he said.
His wife concurred with his assessment.
“That was a really difficult loss,” said Tara Gosselin, a 33-year-old who works in logistics.
Tonight, Gosselin implored New England’s defense to stop the run; he thought their secondary could contain Seattle’s receivers. Stopping Marshawn Lynch was imperative.
Brady’s first half interception was met with gasps, followed by silence, followed by expletives.
“Who is he throwing to?” asked a exasperated Mowery. “There was no one there.”
For the Patriots’ first touchdown, the crowd erupted in cheers. Arms aloft, they yelled incoherently. There was no talk of strategy or Xs and Os.
Similar scenes played out up the road at Parlor Sports in Somerville.
“I feel like they’re starting to click,” said Jordan Staiger, a 30-year-old deejay from Belmont during a prolonged Patriots drive in the first half.
Matt Soni, a 30-year-old musician from Somerville, said he was “nervous but confident.”
“We have a really great team, but Seattle just seems more confident,” he said in between bites of a burger loaded up with onions.
Mayer Grashin, a 33-year-old lawyer who grew up in Alaska and Seattle, had shaved the No. 12 into the back of his head in honor of the Seahawks’ “12th man.” Grashin, along with his wife, were the only Seahawks in the packed bar. That fact did not quiet him. When Seattle scored, the bar was silent, except for Grashin.
“I feel pretty good. We always start slow,” he said just before halftime. “I think we all know Seattle’s the better team.”
After Pats tight end Rob Gronkowski hauled in a first half touchdown pass, Brendan McGuirk, a 30-year-old web editor from Somerville, yelled, “There seemed to be so much more air in that football before Rob touched it!”
Nearby, a message was scrawled on a chalkboard, “Our balls are fully inspected & ready for play.”
Cait Burbidge, a 31-year-old homelessness advocate from Somerville, said Boston was seeking redemption for the past two Super Bowl losses.
“The community definitely seems to be drawing on past Patriots losses,” she said at halftime. “If you notice it’s all ‘Finish the Job’ not ‘Let’s go Pats’. We’re all seeking closure.”