No less a Patriots authority than ESPN's Bill Simmons has already lamented the lack of home-field advantage at Gillette Stadium. New England quarterback Tom Brady has also spoken out against fan apathy in Foxboro, but he suggested a novel way of engendering a rowdy atmosphere in the stands for the Pats' highly anticipated matchup against the San Diego Chargers.
During a midweek interview, a jovial Brady seemed to be suggesting that Patriots fans get nice and drunk before heading into the stadium for the late afternoon start.
"Start drinking early. Get nice and rowdy. It's a 4:15 game, they'll have a lot of time to get lubed up, come on out here and cheer for their home team."
Anyone who has been to an NFL tailgate knows that most football fans don't need any prodding to bring along a few adult sodas. In that regard, it would be pollyannaish to believe that Brady gave anyone ideas that they didn't already have.
Nevertheless, the Patriots' PR staff went into damage control mode. A statement from Brady, by way of a PR spokesperson, later "clarified" the remarks, stating that he'd merely been talking about fans drinking water to stay hydrated for the duration of the contest. Sure.
Which is worse: Brady's offhand but irresponsible suggestion that fans only cheer if drunk or the Patriots' statement that infers that fans are idiots?
With fan violence a growing problem at NFL stadiums, the Patriots clearly don't want the face of their franchise implicated if there is an incident in the stands or in the parking lot when the Chargers visit Foxboro. But wouldn't they have been better off just issuing a quick apology along with a reminder to act responsibly rather than keeping up the charade that alcohol isn't a major part of NFL gameday?
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