EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

January 19, 2014

'Amazing' season

Local Pats fans marvel at how team overcame adversities

(Continued)

Former Pats season ticket holder Michael Miller called the Pats “an overachieving team.”

“I thought they would make it to the playoffs, but didn’t think they would be competing for the Super Bowl,” said Miller, 45, of Lawrence, who is manager of the Lawrence Municipal Airport. He cited the injuries that softened the Pats’ tough defense and the loss of Brady’s offensive weapons.

“There were times I turned off the television and went to bed, only to wake up and find out that they won. The last Denver game was a shining example. They were way behind, and I said ‘that’s it, it’s not worth staying up for’,” he said.

Fan: Could be best team in franchise history

But watching how the Pats have performed over the final month has restored Miller’s faith in the team’s potential, particularly with a stout running game that takes the pressure off Brady.

“They can win,” Miller said of the Pats’ chances against Denver.

“It’s going to be a nail-biter, but I think they will come out on top. I’m excited. it’s good to be the underdog again. I think the Patriots play at a different level when they are the underdog. They have perseverance. They just won’t give up. They’re going to fight hard to prove what they have and what they can do,” he said.

Peter Abel, 59, of Methuen, said this year’s Pats have the potential to become “the best” in franchise history if they beat Denver today and go on to win the Super Bowl.

“I think they should keep the same young guys next year and get rid of the old fogies,” Abel said.

“You can call these no names ‘the Brady bunch.’ They’re where they are because they have awesome depth. They’re a good team for a reason. They aren’t guys they picked off the street. They’re professionals. These kids have just been waiting for a chance to play and they’ve been awesome. The coaches, players and management all did an excellent job this year,” he said.

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