Boston Guide - Panorama Magazine : Go Green

Super Bowl fever grips the Hub once again

While not nearly as fanatical (or fatalistic) as Red Sox fans, supporters of the New England Patriots have certainly had much to cheer about lately. The Red Sox (born in 1901), and even the Bruins (1924) and Celtics (1946), may have longer histories on their sides, but the Pats are the only local pro team that’s actually won a championship—when their 2001 season ended with an unlikely Super Bowl triumph—since the 1986 Celtics. All that tends to make Boston football fanatics a little more hopeful and a tad less disappointed with failure than your average manic-depressive Sox follower after one of the Olde Towne Team’s epic collapses.

Which leads us to this past football season’s historic performance. A nearly unprecedented 14 game (and maybe 15, by the time you read this) winning streak is the longest in the NFL since the 1972 Miami Dolphins went undefeated. No wonder Pats fans are no longer an endangered species. Since the team’s inception in 1960 as the Boston Patriots, we’ve had our shares of highs and lows—mostly lows, including a threatened move to St. Louis in the early 1990s and one to, even worse, Hartford later that decade. Needless to say, expectations have not often been as sky-high as they are now.

But regardless of whether the local gridiron heroes have defeated the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII, Pats-lovers are less likely to sink into a depression similar to the funk Sox fans descended into following the devastating loss to the hated New York Yankees in last season’s playoffs. If the inevitable has come to pass, though, look out your window, for we will surely witness a repeat of the 2002 victory parade and City Hall Plaza rally. And who’d have thought we’d see that again so soon? A Red Sox fan? Nah, probably not.

—Scott Roberto

  • Despite the 25-degree weather, a crowd estimated at 1.25 million—twice the population of Boston—cheered the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots from Copley Square to Government Center on February 5, 2002.
  • 250,000 fans celebrated the Celtics’ 16th championship on City Hall Plaza in 1986.
  • Pope John Paul II drew 400,000 people to Mass on Boston Common in 1979.
  • The Boston Pops played their bicentennial July Fourth concert before 400,000 in 1976.
  • The Tall Ships and Sail Boston events, held in 1980, 1992 and 2000 attracted more than 2
    million spectators each to multi-day venues spread around the waterfront.

Source: The Boston Globe, February 6, 2002