PHOENIX — Until this season, Sundays were lonely for Rob Colby.
Colby thought himself to be one of few Patriots fans living in Phoenix. When game day rolled around and he settled in front of his TV to watch the Patriots, his incessant screaming sent his wife and pets scurrying.
“Usually I just watch at home and my wife would leave because I’d deafen her,” said Colby, 59, who moved to Phoenix from Gardner, Mass., when he was 3.
Now Sundays aren’t so lonely for Colby. For Super Bowl XLIX, Colby was planning on watching the Patriots and Seahawks along with hundreds of other fans from the New England Patriots Fan Club of Arizona at Toso’s Bar and Grill in North Phoenix.
“It’s a lot of fun seeing everybody in their Patriots gear. It’s been a blast,” Colby said Saturday in the parking lot at Toso’s during a pep rally.
The fan club, founded in 1997 by a group including 51-year-old Nashua, N.H., native Scott Holt, gives Patriots fans an outlet to follow their team from more than 2,500 miles away. Holt, who lived in Phoenix for 20 years, now lives in California but still runs the club.
The club has over 500 members, who pay a fee of $25 to get club gifts and additional perks, but fans don’t need a membership to watch games on Sunday at Toso’s, which is owned by Bloomfield, Conn., native Dave Dilettoso.
“We have fans from all over the country,” Holt said Saturday. “Robert Kraft is one of our honorary members, and we have a very good relationship with the Patriots over the years. The club takes a road trip to [Gillette Stadium] once a year, and [Kraft] sets aside a group of tickets for the club.”
Rob Legge, who is in his first year as club president, grew up in Phoenix but fell in love with the Patriots when he was in the US Coast Guard and stationed at Point Allerton in Hull, Mass., during the 1980s.
“I got my Patriots blood there,” Legge said. “Did the whole East Coast for 10 years and I loved it. I’m a New England fan through and through.”
Throughout the year, the club uses its profits from events like the rally on Saturday, which featured raffles and bake sales, to donate to the Patriots Charitable Foundation.
Glen DeCecco, a 54-year-old fan from Cranston, R.I., flew from Boston to Los Angeles, then drove to Phoenix for the week. DeCecco was at the rally sporting a Patriots jersey and a tri-cornered hat, along with his boxing-gloves-clad puppet, Tap.
“He’s the enforcer,” DeCecco said. “We go out and beat up on the competition just like we do at every Pats game.
“The atmosphere [at the rally] is almost as if you were at Gillette. Everyone is pumped up and ready to go. You can’t tell, only because of the weather, you’re somewhere other than Foxborough right now.”
Hardcore Montana and Cam Hill, the president and vice president of the Memphis fan club, drove 24 hours to come to Toso’s for the weekend.
“They’re showing us a lot of love,” Hill said of the local club. “We drove all the way from Tennessee. We really came just to hang out with them.”
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