The psyche of local football fans took a hit when the New England Patriots were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, but it’s nothing like the hit sports pubs are taking.
The businesses rely on Patriot playoff games to bring in large crowds of diners and drinkers, and also to spike takeout orders for chicken wings and pizza for those watching the games at home.
Pub owners and managers said playoff games for other teams will bring in some business, but nothing like the crowds they get for the hometown team.
“It’s definitely something you unfortunately see in the service business,” Charlie Tgibedes, owner of Box Seats in North Attleboro, said.
He said his bar was packed for the Jan. 4 Wild Card game between the Patriots and Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium, which the Pats lost, bumping them from the playoffs. The NFL playoff games continue on, but local fans just don’t get as revved up for them when the Patriots aren’t involved.
“People aren’t going to go out as much. It’s going to be hit or miss,” Tgibedes said.
At Home Plate in Norton, general manager Bob Farnham has a plan in place to guarantee a big crowd on Super Bowl Sunday, even without the Patriots.
He said he is selling tickets for $45 that gives customers a meal, unlimited pizza and chicken tenders, and giveaways.
So he will have a crowd for the Super Bowl, but this will be the first championship game without the Patriots since he came to Home Plate, so he doesn’t know what kind of mood his customers will be in.
“I don’t know if we’ll have the same kind of excitement,” he said.
Patriot fans usually jam Home Plate and one customer, Auntie Mo, brings a blow horn she sounds after every New England first down, Farnham said.
The regulars were “boo-hooing” when their team lost Saturday, he added.
Over at Buffalo Wild Wings in Mansfield, Nicholas Levine said the School Street restaurant is usually full for a Patriots game.
Although local fans are loyal to the Patriots, he said football, unlike other sports, draws people who will watch any team in the playoffs.
Medeski Dow at Arooga’s in South Attleboro said business will be down without the Patriots in the playoffs. The restaurant is usually full for New England games, he said.
This season is the first since 2009 that the Patriots were eliminated in the Wild Card round. The team has gone to the Super Bowl in four of the previous five years.
Local fans have grown accustomed to the Patriots making it deep into the playoffs, at least into the Conference Finals.
Overall, the Patriots have won six Super Bowls, tied for the most in NFL history with the Pittsburgh Steelers.