by Katherine Opiela ’20
It’s January. For me, the first thing that comes to mind when I think about January is the NFL playoffs. That is because I root for the New England Patriots.
The Patriots have reached the playoffs for eight consecutive years since 2009. Dating back to 2000 when Bill Belichick was hired as the team’s head coach, quarterback Tom Brady has led his team to win four Super Bowls, six AFC Championships and 13 AFC East titles. What’s not to like about that record?
Growing up in a house where every Sunday from September through January had a football game blaring through the house, I had no choice but to become a football fan myself. Despite being a fan in general, living just 15 minutes away from Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots, has certainly contributed to my love for the team.
Every home game I hear the jets fly over my house just seconds before flying over Gillette prior to kickoff. The excitement of rooting for a team that is consistently good each season is something I look forward to in the dog days of summer.
The word “fan” is derived from “fanatic.” And the behavior of Pats fans as the playoffs roll around certainly becomes fanatical.
Admittedly, as far as the Patriots go, I’m a rather superstitious person. Before the first playoff game, I hang a Brady jersey over the fireplace. On each game day, I wear my Gronk jersey, Pats hat, Patriots sweatshirt and some Patriots slipper socks. Once the winning starts, nothing gets washed.
For the past few years, prior to every playoff game I prepare a buffalo chicken dip for the game for my friends and family to enjoy. And for the past four years I’ve watched the games in my basement sitting in the same chair. I invite the same high school crew over and they, too, prepare the same dishes. No menu changes are allowed. We believe we are helping the team, or in the Pats’ terms, “doing our jobs.”
We are not alone in these crazy rituals. According to the “Pats Propaganda” website, more than one-third (35 percent) of Patriots fans sit in the same spot every game and wear the same article of clothing. Also, Patriots fans rank second in the league (22 percent) for engaging in superstitious activities with their friends.
My Patriots gear was the first thing I packed to head back to campus. Although I can still wear my lucky clothes, I can’t help but wonder how not making my famous dip and sitting in my lucky chair may affect the outcome of the game. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see how the Patriots do this Sunday against the Steelers as I watch the game sitting on a dingy common room couch surrounded by people who may not all be die-hard Patriots fans like myself.