I cannot tell a lie--my best friend K and I joined the mass exodus from Gillette Stadium in the fourth quarter this evening. With the score 52-0 for the home team, a crowd that had been crying "We got a baseball game to catch!" since the first half was dropping the Pats like a bad habit.
I felt guilty about this, as the third-string Patriots played out garbage time before an oddly empty house, but I reasoned that if they played baseball in February, and the Red Sox were up 14-0 on the Devil Rays, we wouldn't skip the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl to watch them.
From the moment we stepped out of the car in Parking Lot P10 when we first arrived in Foxboro, a buzz of electricity was in the air that I've never experienced. Virtually everyone I encountered in the milling crowd winding its way through construction to Gillette Stadium had a big, goofy grin on their face like they'd woken this morning to discover they lost 30 pounds and gained a thousand bucks. Walking through one of the pedestrian tunnels on the way in to the game, the crowd around us broke into spontaneous whoops and hollers, and then a "Let's go Red Sox" chant, just to hear the echoes bouncing off the walls.
Several times during the game, that chant would erupt in our section. Every so often, as we headed back out into the parking lot, we'd hear a wordless yodel of triumph echo out over all the extinguished charcoal pits and idling pickup trucks.
So far as the magical seasons of both my favorite teams continue, there have been times I have allowed myself to get dragged into debates about the ethics of Bill Belichick or the nature of Red Sox fandom after recent paradigm shifts.
But today, tonight, none of that is even registering anymore. The way K put it was, "we're all hopped up on sports." And it's true. During the Patriots game, various voices would rise out of the crowd demanding a long bomb to Randy Moss, a touchdown to Vrabel, a sack as the Washington Redskins quarterback was flushed out of the pocket.
"More points!!" I heard a man cry out at one point. "We need more points!"
For all the debate about arrogance and lost identity, the plain truth of the matter is that right now, we're all just trying to soak in as much of this as possible, before someone shuts us off. We're like addicts. We can't get enough.
And it's awesome.
Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a baseball game to catch.