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January 24, 2008

Fifth-grader has been a Patriots fan - 'always'

SALEM - Matthew Bergeron watches the team religiously, but he's never had the chance to see them win it all.

That may change for the 11-year-old New England Patriots fanatic in one and a half weeks.

"I can probably talk them into staying up," he said of his parents and the upcoming Super Bowl.

While Matthew, a fifth-grader at North Elementary School, hasn't been allowed to stay up late enough to watch the Patriots play in the Super Bowl in the past, he's among the team's biggest fans.

When the Patriots didn't make it to the Super Bowl last year, he said he didn't watch any of the game. Matthew said he's more excited about the game than the commercials that come with Super Bowl Sunday.

He said some of his favorite memories involve the Patriots - like the time his dad, John, took him to Boston for the team's parade after they won the Super Bowl in 2004.

"I remember I was 6 years old, going with my dad, and I remember it was really cold," he said.

Matthew said he also remembers seeing Tom Brady, his favorite player.

Wearing a tattered Brady jersey that he's obviously worn more than a few times, Matthew said he doesn't remember when he became a Patriots fan.

"It's been something I can remember from when I was 6 years old," he said. "I can't remember before that so I guess it's been always."

He said almost every Sunday - and always during the playoffs - his entire family, including his mom, Jodi, and even his 7-year-old sister, gather to watch the games.

"(My sister) doesn't understand everything yet, but even I don't know it all," he said. "Like the linebackers and stuff. ... But I still know how the touchdowns are scored."

And he still knows enough about the game to make some bold predictions and to know that having Brady's foot in a cast on his off day can't be a good thing.

"I don't like that; I am a little worried," Matthew said. "He's definitely going to play. It might affect him a little, but we'll still win."

He won't say how much the team will win by, but predicts "it's definitely going to be a close game."

Matthew said even after he sees the Patriots make history by becoming the first team to go 19-0, he'd still watch them faithfully next year.

"I'm still definitely going to be a fan next season," he said.

And after that?

"Always," he said. "Go Pats."

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