, Salem, MA


January 29, 2012

Fans hold rally to send Pats off to Super Bowl



"You guys are the reason why we're in the spot we're in, because we had home-field advantage throughout the end, and we were able to take advantage and now we're in the Super Bowl," said receiver Wes Welker. "That's what it's all about.

"I promise you all, all of these guys, with the way we're going to play this next Sunday, we're going to give it everything we've got out there and you're going to be proud to support the New England Patriots."

Linebacker Jerod Mayo touched on the difficult year endured by team owner Robert Kraft, whose wife, Myra, passed away July 20 after a battle with cancer. The team dedicated this season to her, wearing oval patches with the initials "MHK" on their uniforms right above their hearts.

Kraft, the final speaker, took the stage to chants of "MHK."

"At the beginning of the season, (Kraft's son and team president) Jonathan and I met with the team and told them that they would wear an MHK patch over their hearts," Kraft said. "And they really dedicated this season to her and all the volunteers in America who make this country great."

Liam Corbett, a fan clad in a blue Rob Gronkowski jersey, recalled attending his first Patriots Super Bowl send-off rally with his father in 2004, when New England beat the Carolina Panthers for the second of its three championships.

Now, with his father unable to attend due to an injury, he made the 50-mile trek from New Bedford with his wife, sister and two children, marveling at how the celebration morphed from roughly a couple hundred fans eight years ago to more than 20,000 on Sunday.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

  • Fenway Beverly's Barror helps bring AS Roma to Fenway Park Growing up in a Boston suburb, Beverly's Sean Barror no doubt pictured himself playing a major role in a sporting event held at Fenway Park. He just didn't picture it this way. Instead of swatting fastballs over the Green Monster, Barror has been wor

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • RobDiFranco Navs' DiFranco earns Futures League all-star nod When Rob DiFranco joined the North Shore Navigators late last season, he quickly found a home in the bullpen and was happy to have a place to challenge himself as a pitcher. Fast forward about a year, and DiFranco has become one of the best relief ar

    July 23, 2014 3 Photos

  • mcbride2 CATCHING FIRE: Danvers' backstop McBride taking talents to Merrimack in 2015 There was little to consider when Caitlin McBride began the college application process. From a young age, the Danvers backstop had her sights set on attending Merrimack College. The further along she got in her high school athletic career, the more

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Former St. John's Prep trio in the hunt at New England Amateur The 85th New England Amateur Championship began yesterday at Winchester Country Club and several players with local ties are near the top of the leaderboard. Former St. John's Prep stars Nick Pandelena, Steven DiLisio and Nick McLaughlin each finishe

    July 23, 2014

  • Local sports schedule TODAY'S SPORTS SUMMER BASEBALL Lou Thompkins All-Stars -- Waltham Blue at Beverly Panthers (7:30). Futures Collegiate Baseball League -- North Shore Navigators at Pittsfield (7) North Shore Baseball League -- Bistany at Swampscott (7:30); Kingston at

    July 23, 2014