As the New England Patriots get ready on the field to play the Carolina Panthers in Sunday’s Super Bowl, the city of Boston is gearing up to support them over the weekend.
Gov. Mitt Romney made a bet on the game this week with North Carolina Gov. Michael Easley. The loser must wear the jersey of the winning team’s quarterback at the National Governor’s Association meeting this February in Washington, D.C. The friendly wager was made during an interview on ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike in the Morning Show,” according to a Romney press release.
The bet also includes what each governor considers to be “local specialties.” Romney wagered a traditional New England clambake with lobster, clam chowder and steamers. Easley matched Romney’s feast by putting up a pound of barbecue sauce, a pint of slaw and some hushpuppies.
“I look forward to Governor Easley’s induction as a card-carrying member of Patriots nation,” Romney said. “Maybe we can get Tom Brady to autograph the shirt for him.”
The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority is also getting in the spirit of the game. Signs that are usually filled with traffic reports and weather advisories will display encouraging messages for the Patriots all along the Turnpike.
“We did the same thing back when the Red Sox were in the playoffs, and there definitely will be something there, whether it be ‘congratulations,’ or not,” said MTA spokesman Doug Hanchett. “I suppose if they lose, it will say something like, ‘Thanks for a great season, good luck next year.’”
According to Hanchett, the main idea is to celebrate with the people and get into the spirit of the Super Bowl.
“When these rare opportunities arise when you can show your support and city pride, we take advantage of it,” he said.
About a half-dozen signs will display the messages along the highway, and they will appear all day Sunday.
“Win or lose we will be supporting them,” said Hanchett.
Across campus, Boston University students said they are excited to watch the Patriots in their second Super Bowl in three years.
College of Arts and Sciences freshman Andrew Murphy, a native of Nahant said he’s been a loyal Patriots fan all season and enjoyed watching their 14-game winning streak.
“They are the best they’ve ever been,” Murphy said, bragging that his “home team” has “more depth, [are] stronger, more reliable and on one hell of a winning streak.”
CAS sophomore Mark Mirlocca said he expects a swift Patriots victory.
“They shouldn’t have a problem beating the Panthers,” he said. “They have the best defense I’ve seen in a long time.”
Michael Paone, a College of Communication freshman and avid Pats fan, said the Pats have a good shot at taking the Super Bowl, like they did in 2001.
“Mathematically they’re the best in the league,” he said, “but Carolina looks like the Patriots did in 2001 when they shocked the nation.”
Superstition has seized Murphy, who said he plans to spend Sunday with the same friend in the same room where he watched most of the season.
“Ever since I’ve been watching in there they’ve been winning,” he said. “And I don’t want to ruin it.”
Patriots fans and college students stormed the streets near Kenmore Square and around the intersection of Harvard and Commonwealth avenues after the team’s Super Bowl win two years ago. But even though the city has already seen riots after sporting events in the last year – after the Red Sox beat the Oakland Athletics in Game 5 of the American League Division Series – College of General Studies sophomore Christina Kim said the weather will dissuade anyone from rioting if the Patriots win.
“I don’t think there’ll be riots because of cold weather, but I think there’ll be a little ruckus,” Kim said.