The crushing loss in last night’s Super Bowl left Patriots fans sulking out of sports bars across the region, in despair after the long-awaited game they hoped would rectify their loss to the New York Giants in the big game four years ago.
When the Giants took the lead in the last minute, fans from the Fenway to Foxborough pulled their hair, gasped, and shouted in a collective howl of rooter’s anguish, capping a see-saw of emotions that tugged at them throughout the close game. Shrieks of joy turned to cries of disbelief when Tom Brady’s last-gasp pass fell to the ground.
“I feel awful,’’ said Mike Grenier, 29, of South Boston, as he stared blankly at the television at the Boston Sports Grille near TD Garden. “It’s the toughest loss I’ve ever experienced.’’
Rob Day, 29, a Patriots season ticket holder from Yonkers, N.Y., put his hands on his head as he slowly pulled his sweatshirt over his head.
“What stinks the most is that we have to go home to this,’’ he said.
‘I thought we could pull it out, but we lost.’Matthew Arnold of Brookline
The mood on Lansdowne Street and in Kenmore Square was a stark contrast to the celebrations that followed the Patriots’ three Super Bowl victories over the past decade. There was an eerie quiet compared with the raucous celebrations.
The hundreds of Boston police officers in the area carrying batons and other riot gear did not appear to have much trouble to contend with. Not long after the game, they took down barricades, boarded MBTA buses, and cleared the area.
By 11 p.m., police reported no arrests as a result of the game.
At CBS Scene in Foxborough, the large crowd stood for the final minutes of the game, some biting their nails, others muttering to themselves that the Patriots could still pull it off.
But a collective hush fell over the bar as Brady’s bomb fell incomplete and the Giants defeated the Patriots, 21-17. Some kept staring at the screen in disbelief. Others bowed their heads on their tables.
“They played well, but that’s just terrible,’’ said Tony Desposito, 21, of Northborough.
Kurt Reinhard, 25, of Wollaston, seemed to be in shock. “I don’t even want to think about it,’’ he said.
At the Common Ground bar in Allston, some held their hands over their mouths and others over their eyes. When they realized it was over, many shook their heads, paid their bills, and emptied out.
“I thought we could pull it out, but we lost,’’ said Matthew Arnold, 36, of Brookline.
At the Cask ‘n Flagon, near Kenmore Square, the fans looked crushed, sad, betrayed, and disappointed.
“I came out to the Cask ‘n Flagon tonight all the way from New York to watch the Pats win, and I have no words. I’m heartbroken,’’ said Peter Davis, 44, who was born in Boston but lives in New York. “I’ve always been a Pats fan and I always will be but there are no words to express how I am feeling.’’
Jennifer Charness, 21, who grew up in Boston, was in pain.
“I love my New England teams, and this hurts,’’ she said. “Nothing would have been better than seeing this.’’
Although Patriots fans were not having a good night, the few Giants fans at Cask ’n Flagon couldn’t help but rub it in a little. Decked out in all her Giants gear, Paige Eberding couldn’t contain her joy.
“It’s so exciting,’’ said Eberding, 21, who grew up in New Jersey but goes to school in Boston. “Everybody may hate me right now, but I don’t care. We are champions!’’
Dave Harris, 26, a Giants fan from Fairfield, Conn., who lives in Allston, left a happy man. “I saw a good game,’’ he said.
It was a long night for fans throughout the area.
“I’ve been nervous for like three days,’’ said Janie Cron, 42, who drove from Maynard with two others to watch the game.
Before the game ended, Cron said she was more nervous than the players and would be “devastated’’ if the Patriots lost.
After a dismaying start, there was a collective sigh of relief across the region when the Patriots nudged ahead of the Giants just before halftime.
The mood improved significantly from the first quarter, when the Giants took an early lead on Patriots mistakes and nervous energy led a lot of fans to bark at TVs.
The anticipation began building early in the afternoon, when fans gathered throughout the region with hopes of Super Bowl triumph - and revenge.
In the Fenway, the bars were packed well before the game, with fans in full Patriots regalia - faces painted, Tom Brady jerseys, and lots of red, white, blue.
Julie Bastian flaunted her enthusiasm by showing off a tattoo of the Patriots’ logo on her lower back.
“I grew up watching the Pats,’’ said Bastian, 28, of Marlborough, as she drank beers at Cask ‘n Flagon. “I know the Pats are going to take it.’’
Lydia Krooss, a transplant from San Francisco, had thoroughly absorbed Patriots fever.
“I’m so excited,’’ said Krooss, 22, who was wearing a Brady jersey. “My grandpa is from Western Massachusetts and my mom brought me up on the Pats. We don’t go to church on Sunday, we watch football.’’
Richard Gallerani, 52, of Plymouth, said being a Patriots fan is in his blood. He wore a team helmet and led the bar in toasts to Myra Kraft and a Patriots victory.
His uncle was an original season ticket holder, and he can remember spending Sundays as a kid watching home games.
“I wanted to watch this game in the back yard of where I watch every other game,’’ he said. “I’m a Pats-a-holic.’’
But when the game finally ended, the fans left with their heads down.
“I have one word to describe how I feel: dejected,’’ said Michael Laura, 24, of Boston.
Among the devastated fans in Kenmore Square were Jessica Minton, 21, a student at Emmanuel College and Milly Aliaga, 21, a Boston University student.
They wore matching t-shirts that said “Keep Calm and Brady On,’’ as well as matching Flying Elvis Patriot logo hats.
Aliaga said the loss hurts, but there remained much to be hopeful about.
“Boston is the best city to be for sports,’’ she said.
Brian MacQuarrie and Travis Andersen of the Globe staff and Globe correspondents Amanda Cerone, Johanna Kaiser, and Patrick D. Rosso contributed to this report. David Abel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @davabel.