There are New England Patriots fans and there are real New England Patriots fans, says Week 1 winner of the "I Beat Burt" Contest, 57-year-old Cory Marcinuk of Methuen.
He likes to put himself in the latter.
"When the games were blacked out due to attendance issues in the pre-Kraft era," said Marcinuk, "I'd make the trek to the Winner's Circle in Salisbury, which had a satellite dish. I never missed a game."
Since things have changed, so have his viewing habits.
"If the Patriots's game is on at 1 (p.m.) I typically view it at the Hokkaido Restaurant in North Andover." said Marcinuk. "I get the Number 17 combo plate, which works for me. If the game is at 4 (p.m.) or later, I usually watch it with my 90-year old father at home. Take out or delivery are the two halftime dinner options. Sunday or Monday night games that the Patriots play usually calls for bedtime at halftime, otherwise it's 'Manic Monday' morning for me."
Marcinuk had 10 games correct and nailed the first tiebreaker, the Patriots point total, exactly right to win in Week 1.
Marcinuk likes this particular contest because it has nothing to do with point spreads or over-under for total points," he said. "This contest in fundamental. You just pick winners, which is the way it should be."
Marcinuk is single and works as an adjudicator (or arbriter). He played a lot of recreation basketball after attending Central Catholic, including a few championship seasons in Lawrence, Methuen and at Cedardale.
As for his live of the Patriots and pro football, Marincuk says there is not another sport like it.
"There is so much more to sport than just winning," he said. "Professional football is about characters, story-lines, and competition. The current Patriots have a unique cast. Their head coach, Bill Belichick, refuses to answer questions at press conferences. Their quarterback, Tom Brady is an anti-hero in 44 states and a superhero in six New England states. And their tight end, Rob Gronkowski, spent the off-season contemplating retirement, until his agent renegotiated his contract. The Patriots storylines are giving the WWE a run for their money."
Burt KOd ... again
I am coming off one of my most successful seasons over the 21 years of the contest. I can't really say that for 2018 thus far.
Of the 14 games (a computer glitch ended up eliminating one game on-line and the newspaper entry blank), I got only six correct (6-7-1).
Nine of the 14 games were won by the home team. I guess I picked the wrong week to go with the road teams.
All of this week's T-shirt winners not only picked more winners but also had the Patriots point total (20), exactly right. As a rule, all entries that have more winners and the first tiebreaker exactly correct are guaranteed T-shirts.
Week 2 winners
Edward Hugo of Brownfield, Me.
Sandi Seglin of Methuen
Giovanni Rodriguez of Methuen
Chip DiPietro of North Reading
Doug Subocz of Ocoee, Tenn.
Dick Ruediger of Methuen
Charlie Matatall of East Hampstead, N.H.
DJ Sturtevant of Bradford
James Freeman of Salem, N.H.
Frank Gueli of Methuen
Shawn Moore of Salem, Mass.
Dave Gramling of Chelmsford
Lee LaPorte of Methuen