HOUSTON — This is no illusion. The New England Patriots had an unofficial magician who performed tricks at the team’s request this season.
John Logan, who has been doing magic for a decade, was in Texas Friday twirling cards between his fingers, and making them appear behind people’s hats, as he explained how he became the person who entertained the hulking players inside the locker room at Gillette Stadium to keep their spirits high.
“We just do it as a motivational factor,” said Logan, who is from Hanover. “You know, ‘If John can kind of perform the impossible, then why can’t we win this game? Or why can’t we achieve something on our bucket list?’”
Patriots spokesman Stacey James told the Globe in an e-mail that Logan works for the team’s content group, to develop material for Patriots.com. In that capacity, he said, Logan has had a variety of responsibilities, which earlier this year spilled over into mystifying players with his sleight of hand.
“As a magician, one of the things we have had him do for content this year is perform some magic tricks with a player” on camera, said James. “Late in the season, one of the players he performed for asked him to show a teammate a trick. That drew a crowd of a couple of players and even some media. That was repeated once a week for a couple of weeks late in the year.”
More than a dozen videos on the team’s website, called “Magic Moments,” show Logan impressing players with his craft.
Magician and consultant Stathi Zaf has been helping Logan design the routines and variety of tricks featured in the videos, which he said can take hundreds of hours to put together.
“I’m like the Belichick, I’m like designing all these things, and he's like the Brady,” said Zaf.
In one of the videos posted online this season, Logan left Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett asking, “How’d you do that?”, following a card trick.
Logan has even caught the attention of Tom Brady.
A day before the AFC Championship game, Brady tipped his hat to the locker room magician for his talents.
“I saw him in there a couple weeks ago and he did some amazing things,” said Brady, according to WEEI. “I think everyone is blown away by a little magic. It was pretty cool.”
Logan told the Globe it was equally as cool to get recognized by the quarterback during a press conference.
“He’s such a great guy,” he said.
Logan said backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett seems to be his biggest fan. Whenever Logan’s in the locker room, he said, Brissett will approach him, eager for a brief performance.
“He’ll be like, ‘Alright, John, you’re my man, you’ve got to show me a trick,’” said Logan, who has written two books. “So every day I’ll have a new trick for Jacoby. He’s super nice though. He’s a great person.”
Logan hasn’t been performing for the team leading up to the Super Bowl, he said, but is happy to do so if he’s called for duty.
He said one of the best parts about doing tricks for the players has been getting to learn more about the athletes on a personal level.
“That’s the great thing about magic. All of these tough football players, who are unbelievable athletes, when you perform magic it really brings them back to their childhood,” he said. “The reactions are just priceless.”Steve Annear can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.