Back when the New England Patriots were the Boston Patriots, Paul and Judy Alconada watched them from seats on the 35-yard-line at Boston University Field.
When the Patriots moved to Fenway Park, then Schaefer Stadium, and finally to Gillette Stadium, the Alconadas moved with them, never straying from their spot seven rows above the Pats’ bench.
In the 50 years the Weymouth couple have been going to games, they’ve only missed three, and those were because of weddings.
“We tell people they can’t get married during Patriots season anymore,” Paul said.
Three games in 50 seasons. And they have tried to make up for those misses by traveling to away games, including the 1985 and 1992 Super Bowls, Paul said.
“I started going to games when I met Paul, in 1962, and we got married the next year,” Judy said. “It’s been a great ride, even when they weren’t playing well.”
As the Globe reported last week, Charles Underhill, 73, of West Bridgewater, has only missed one game in 47 seasons.
But try telling Paul that there’s a Pats fan more loyal than Judy out there.
“She gets up in the morning and puts ESPN on,” he said. “When she gets home from work, she puts ESPN on. It’s football from morning to night.”
When the clock ticks down to the final minutes on any given Sunday at Gillette, Judy can usually be found standing in front of a TV inside the stadium because she’s too nervous to watch the game from her seat, Paul said. Unless the Pats are up by at least four touchdowns, she can’t sit still.
For the Alconadas, a Sunday at Gillette is like a family reunion. They know everybody who sits in the seats around them, and they know their neighbors’ children and grandchildren, too.
Games have become more than just a tradition to the two diehard fans whose season tickets date back farther than their marriage. They are a lifestyle.
An Alconada tailgate is a homemade feast at their second home. Instead of hot dogs and hamburgers, they make corned beef and cabbage, country ham, or stuffed shells.
It also turns out that Judy’s Patriots earrings aren’t just another piece of memorabilia — they’re powerful charms. Once chosen, they have to be worn during every game of the season.
”I lost a pair of my earrings at one game,” Judy said. “Then five minutes later, a friend who’s had the seats next to us for years left the game and bought me another pair.”
For all her football knowledge, Judy doesn’t want to talk about Sunday’s game against the Ravens. She’s worried the Baltimore team will play hard for their longtime leader Ray Lewis, who is retiring after this season, so she won’t let anybody utter the words “Super Bowl” around her, lest they jinx the Patriots.
Besides, with only two games left, thinking about the Super Bowl inevitably leads to thoughts of the dreaded off-season.
“When there’s no football, it’s quiet and there’s nothing to do,” she said.Todd Feathers can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ToddFeathers.