INDIANAPOLIS (CBS) – The Broad Ripple Tavern in Indianapolis is usually where Colts fans can go to watch their home town team.
On Saturday afternoon, New England Patriots fans conquered the place in full force.
98.5 The Sports Hub’s Gresh and Zolak broadcast live from the Tavern from 4-7pm on Saturday, filling the place to capacity. And then some.
One worker, who had the task of bringing empty beer boxes out to the dumpster every five minutes or so, said they expected their sales to be more than Butler’s first trip to the NCAA Finals against Duke two years ago.
And any time Gresh and Zo asked the crowd to get loud, they obliged with pleasure. Whether it be Zolak chanting “glow sticks, glow sticks” or “Party Gronkin” blaring over the speakers, fans raised the decibel level to near unhealthy levels.
“It was a rally party; we had to get them riled up,” Zolak said after the event, which had a line around the corner two hours after it started.
Getting riled up may be an understatement.
Patriots fans sure know how to pack a place, even if it is 950 miles away from home. Instead of the names Manning and Clark on the back of jerseys, it was Brady and Welker. There was even a Ben Coates jersey in the crowd. Someone even wore an “I Hate Peyton Manning” shirt.
Most of the 300+ fans were confident that they’ll be very happy come late Sunday night.
“I feel good that they’re going to do it,” said Mark from Franklin, a 20-year season ticket holder who will be sitting at the 50-yard line with his group of 12. “It would be a long trip home if they don’t.”
This will be Mark’s second Super Bowl, and first since the Patriots 1986 loss to the Chicago Bears. He predicts a low scoring game, 24-21, with nose tackle Vince Wilfork taking home MVP honors.
But after what happened in Arizona in 2007 against these very Giants, some Patriot fans are taking a cautious approach to Sunday’s game.
“I’m nervous,” said Bari, a female fan from Sudbury all decked out in Patriots gear. “I went four years ago and was confident, so I’m going in nervous this time.”
“I’m 50-50,” said Peter from Taunton. “My heart says yes, but my brain…”
His brother, Craig from Foxboro, was much more sure of the Patriots bringing home their fourth Lombardi Trophy.
“I’m ready for the parade on Tuesday,” he said, hoping his drive from Indy to Chicago, then flight home to Boston will result in some more duck boats roaming the city.
Some Patriots fans came from much further away, proving that there is still some Patriots Pride across the country. And they wouldn’t miss a party like this.
“This is the place to be,” said Adam, who is originally from Stoneham but now lives in Florida. He predicts that with Rob Gronkowski not 100-percent, fellow tight end Aaron Hernandez will be the big player against the Giants.
His brother Jeff, who now lives in Pittsburgh, thinks the Pats have the advantage because they have already seen what the Giants had to offer this season.
“They won’t make the same mistakes they did in the regular season,” he said, referencing New England’s loss to New York in Week 9.
Although they don’t have tickets, the two will be cheering the Patriots on somewhere in Indianapolis.
Then take Jeff. Originally from Billerica, he now calls Kentucky home. A huge Sports Hub fan, he was sporting his “Compete Level 10” shirt from The DA Show. Although there is some nervousness surrounding Sunday, he is hoping for a little repeat in history.
“I’m nervous, but I want to look at it like 2001; when they lost to the Rams in the regular season, didn’t lose another game, and then beat them in the Super Bowl. [This season], their last loss came against the Giants.”
Some fans came from even further, like Sandi who lives in Tuscon, Arizona. She is a die-hard Patriots fan, who especially likes Rob Gronkowski, who spent his college days there.
She is heading to her fourth Super Bowl, and made some rally shirts for this year’s big game.
“I’m a huge Gronk fan,” she said, sporting homemade “Yo Soy Fiesta” shirts that have taken on a life of it’s own after an ESPN interview he did a few weeks back. “He has so much love and joy in everything he does.”
“He’s big and athletic, how can you not like him?” asked her friend Jamie, who has been a Patriots season ticket holder since 1994 but is heading to his first Super Bowl on Sunday.
Sandi was there for the Patriots defeat in 2007, but is much more positive about this Patriots-Giants matchup.
“I’m much calmer about this game; they’re a better rounded team. Plus there was so much pressure in [Super Bowl] 42,” she said.
One thing is certain, Patriot fans travel in packs. Dan from Auburn, who opted for a Bobby Orr Winter Classic jersey instead of the blue and silver attire, is heading to his second Super Bowl with his two friends, Kevin from New Hampshire and Mark from Hooksett.
Holding season tickets for the last 18 years, all three think Sunday’s game will be a close one.
“Brady is going to lead them on a last-second drive,” said Dan, predicting a close, four-point victory. “I was there in Arizona. This is payback.”
If the crowd at Broad Ripple has any indication on how fired up Patriot fans will be in Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday, it will be a lot like a home game, just in one of their biggest rivals home.
But as it was displayed on Saturday, it doesn’t matter whose house they are in for New England fans.
Tune in to Super Bowl XLVI between the Patriots and Giants on 98.5 The Sports Hub, the only place to hear the local call of the game. Pregame coverage begins Sunday, February 5 at noon.