Where were the New York Giants fans? A vast majority of those who went out in the Waterville area to watch Super Bowl XLVI were New England Patriots fans. Pats fans packed local bars and restaurants, hoping to see their team win the Super Bowl for the first time since the 2004 season.

“When I was a kid, probably 10 or 12 years old, they were on TV every Sunday at 1. They always lost,” Ryan Desmond of Vassalboro said while waiting for the game to start. Desmond went to the Pointe Afta in Winslow for every Patriots game this season. He planned to watch the game with friends, as usual.

“(The Giants) can’t beat the Patriots three times in a row,” Desmond said.

It was a half hour before kickoff, and there was no painful foreshadowing in his voice.

Pointe Afta owner Stand LaPointe said his restaurant started to fill at about 2:30 Sunday afternoon, four hours before kickoff.

“It’s more Patriots (fans) right now, probably three to one,” LaPointe said a half-hour before kickoff.

There was at least one Giants fan at the Pointe Afta, but he was in disguise.

“I’ve been a Giants fan since I was a puppy,” Frank Kent of Winslow said, despite the windbreaker he wore, which was adorned with the Patriots’ logo. “I have to fake them out. My kids bought me this. I’m doing them a favor.”

Kent was at the Pointe Afta four years ago, when the Giants knocked off the undefeated Patriots 17-14 in the Super Bowl. He was one of a few Giants fans at the restaurant that night, and said he “barely got out.” In his New England garb, he hoped to attract less attention.

At the Silver Street Tavern in Waterville, it was all Patriots fans. The restaurant sold 82 tickets at $35 each for its Super Bowl party. Each guest received two drink tickets, a buffet meal and the chance to win a number of prizes, including a 42-inch television and skis.

They also got to watch the game on 204-inch screen, built by co-owner and general manager Drew To and his staff the night before.

“We were here until 5:30 this morning,” To said. “There’s not a bad seat in the house.”

Wade Morrill of Solon sipped Diet Pepsi while his wife Elizabeth tended bar at the Silver Street Tavern. He exchanged text messages with his brother, Shane.

“My brother lives in upstate New York,” Morrill, the varsity basketball coach at Valley High School, said. “He’s watching it with about 50 Giants fans. He’s wearing a 1997-era Willie McGinest jersey.”

A couple blocks away, at Mainely Brews, there were no Giants fans, either.

“I haven’t had one Giants fan,” Kelly O’Halloran, who waited tables at Mainely Brews, said.

Back at Silver Street Tavern, Morrill and To discussed the Giants quick 9-0 first quarter lead.

“You’re going to dig a hole you can’t get out of,” Morrill said. “This is the Super Bowl. You can’t do that.”

“That’s what you want,” To said. “Give them a 9-0 lead, then bam! That’s the Patriots M.O. this year.”

When the Patriots kicked a field goal in the second quarter to cut New York’s lead to 9-3, the Silver Street Tavern crowd offered polite applause. It wasn’t crazy, and it wasn’t enthusiastic. It was just relieved.

Things picked up when Tom Brady threw a touchdown pass to Danny Woodhead with 8 seconds left in the first half to give the Patriots a 10-9 lead. Early in the fourth quarter, with the Patriots clinging to a 17-15 lead, Morrill stood up.

“It’s amazing how the next 13 1/2 minutes of football will change your whole year,” he said.

The crowd cheered when Brady made a block to help spring Wes Welker on a reverse run. It cheered when Aaron Hernandez made a key catch on third down to keep a New England drive alive. It groaned when Welker dropped a pass on that same drive.

It groaned again a few minutes later, when Giants quarterback Eli Manning made a perfect sideline pass to Mario Manningham, bringing the Giants to midfield on what would be their game-winning drive.

“That’s the catch Welker didn’t make,” Morrill said, watching a replay of Manningham’s grab.

The last big cheer from the Silver Street Tavern crowd came when Brady connected with Deion Branch on a fourth-and-16 pass to keep New England’s fading hopes alive with 32 seconds left in the game.

On the final play, the crowd watched Brady’s long pass go to the end zone, watched Hernandez rise from a sea of white Giants jerseys to try and make the catch, watched Rob Gronkowski dive for the ball.

When the ball hit the ground and their was no time on the clock, the voices of NBC announcers Al Michaels and Chris Collinsworth filled the room. Before, they were just background noise, tough to make out. Now, with everybody silent, Al and Chris filled the restaurant.

Right then, we all knew where all the Giants fans were. They were home, celebrating.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

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