Fans Have Playoff Fever Down Pat

Just as the die-hardest of die-hard sports fans in the state of Massachusetts were feeling down on themselves after the Red Sox lost, the New England Patriots came to save the sports year. Beginning on October 5 with an 8-point win over the Tennessee Titans, the Pats banged out 12 straight victories to end the NFL season and enter the playoffs at 14-2. And, if there is one thing sports fans in this state know how to do is forget of the let downs of the past and focus on the positives - travel down Dorchester Avenue and you will see just how fans have been coping.

"We are always packed during the games here," said Ben Johnson, manager of the Blarney Stone Bar at 1505 Dorchester Avenue. "We show all of the Patriots game on our 10-foot screen TV. When the Pats get in the Super Bowl we're going to have a big party."

Just up the avenue at the Tara Pub, 1921 Dorchester Avenue, manager Martey Ward, gives a free dinner buffet for his loyal Patriots-crazy customers.

"Four of our guys were at the game," Ward explained through his thick brogue, "one of them, Declan Cronin, is a good friend with wide receiver David Givens."

Not all Patriots fans ring in New England victories over pints and chicken wings though. Kerry Boyd, formerly of Dorchester and now living in Jamaica Plain, chooses to watch the game from the comfort of her own home - and in the comfort of some "lucky" merchandise.

"I watched Saturday's game at home with my boyfriend and roommate. I wouldn't call it a superstition, but I do always wear my Patriots T-shirt. And since Christmas I have been watching the games under my new Patriots throw blanket my boyfriend bought me. Oh, and we also eat crabs during the game. We have the last three games and they seem to be working."

However, not all Pats fans in the apartment can deal with the edge-of-the-seat excitement of a Tom Brady-led last minute drive.

"My roommate never stays in the living room at the end of a close game. She watches the game until it gets towards the end. Then she runs into her room and closes the door. I help her out with a little play-by-play through the door. Until the Pats win - then we rejoice!"

And as a few die-hards rejoice in their living rooms, others, like state Representative Martin Walsh, brave the biting New England cold in preference of actually being there.

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