Zeoli, who attended last year’s Super Bowl in Indianapolis, experienced such disbelief at the Patriots’ loss that he barely spoke to anyone from the moment Tom Brady’s desperation last-second pass fell to the ground until he flew home from Chicago the next day.
Like many of us, Zeoli recognizes that it is unrealistic to expect such sustained success from professional teams. He recalled how all seven championships over the past decade involved close calls and lucky breaks. The Bruins, Celtics, and Red Sox all had to survive grueling seven-game playoff series on the way to each of their championships. The Patriots never won a Super Bowl by more than three points.
A few bad bounces and Boston might have known the agony of Buffalo, the city with the third-longest streak without a championship, whose Bills suffered four straight Super Bowl losses from 1991 to 1994.
Daniel Britton, 31, founder of a group of Buffalo fans in the Boston area, rankles at what they perceive as New Englanders’ sense of entitlement after our teams, as he puts it, “hit the lottery.”
“No longer forced to peddle in the streets, you move directly into the largest house on the block,” he said. “We remember when you were dirty, poor and hungry just like us. We feed off your every failure . . . taking comfort and joy out of your anger, sadness and bitterness.”
But it is hard for a Patriots fan to be too bitter, said Gerry McCarthy, 52, of Sandwich, whose group of diehard friends and family have turned tailgating into a spiritual art form. Sure, McCarthy’s plans to attend this Super Bowl were dashed by Baltimore’s Jan. 20 defeat of the Patriots.
Then again, he said, “We’re still in the mix.”
Two days after the loss, he said, “Vegas came out with the odds. The Patriots are the favorites to win the Super Bowl next year.”