It’s September 8, the New England Patriots home opener, and tailgating is in full swing outside Gillette Stadium. Two decades into the Tom Brady era, it seems like everyone is raising tipsy toasts to their favorite quarterback, though clearly not with his electrolyte-infused water.
Love for Brady — and the scent of sausage — hangs thick in the air.
Most smitten of all might be Jenny Kennedy, whose New Hampshire license plate reads “ILVTB12.” She’s here celebrating her 10th anniversary with her husband, Joby.
Fifteen years ago, on their very first date, Jenny confessed her love — though not for her future husband. “I told him, ‘If Tom Brady comes to me, I have to go,’ ” Jenny says. “I love him. He has beautiful teeth, and that great smile. I love the butt chin — that’s my favorite thing — and he’s very charismatic. We would make beautiful children.”
But what about Gisele?
“She would probably be a great stepmom,” Jenny says. “And I could take care of her kids, too.”
And that’s about how it went over a couple of hours spent crashing tailgate parties to ask an important research question: Would you leave your husband or boyfriend for Brady?
“Abso-freakin-lutely,” says Angela Tsiumis, of Danvers, spending a fraction of Brady’s quick release time to deliberate. She turns to her husband. “I love you Jeff, but, yes, I would. I just love TB; I love everything about him.”
Jamie Fitzgerald of Braintree hesitates at first — “Ohhhh, I might,” she says — but not for long. “I think so. Yes!”
“I probably would, too,” says her boyfriend, Blake Boudreau.
Not everyone said yes. “Wow, no, I wouldn’t, because he’s wonderful,” says Wendy Little, looking at boyfriend John Selen, a high school teacher in Charlton. “I think he’s just as good as Tom Brady — just not as rich.”
Nikko Tremblay took a pass, too, thinking Brady would be a bit high maintenance. “He’s too much of a pretty boy for me,” says the finance analyst from Merrimack, New Hampshire. “Don’t get me wrong, I love Tom Brady. But I think he takes longer to get ready than me.”
Those were outliers, though. According to the results of the day’s unscientific Globe poll — conducted with a margin of error of plus or minus two Jell-O shots — two-thirds of women interviewed would sack their significant other to marry the six-time Super Bowl champ.
And, really, with stats like his, who could blame them?
MORE POLL RESULTS:
“I’m in a happy relationship right now, so I wouldn’t leave my amazing boyfriend for him,” says Ally Geosits, a 20-year-old who’s been on the planet as long as Brady’s been a Patriot. “Tom’s married. I can’t break up a marriage.”
Her boyfriend, Jacob Roberts, doesn’t see a problem, though. “I’ll marry him, divorce him, get half his income and go back to her.”
“Yes, because I love Brady,” says Sandy Perez, who traveled to Foxborough from San Diego. “He’s the best, the number one. Yeah, he’s good looking and he’s the GOAT.”
“No,” says Faith Osgood of Vinalhaven, Maine. “I could never be as good a person for Tom Brady [as] I could for him,” she says, gesturing toward her husband, Justin.
“Yeah, I think she’s lying,” Justin says. “I’d dump me in a heartbeat for Tom Brady.”
Yes, says Holly Fitzgibbons of Los Angeles — “it’s his character and his ability; it’s very admirable.” And the children she shares with Mark, her husband of 24 years? “The kids will understand,” she says, “because then they can visit.”
“Ask me the same question,” Mark says with a laugh. “Yeah. I’ve got a man crush on him. It would be, ‘Have a good life, baby.’ ”
“Yes, in a heartbeat,” says Debbie Birkmaier of North Reading, quickly rattling off her reasons: “He’s the GOAT. He’s the man, he’s adorable, he’s the package.”
Her boyfriend, Dan Brosseau, senses an opening for a roster move.
“I’d trade her in a second for Halle Berry,” he says, “if you could make that happen.”
“Oh, no!” says Nancy Martinez , taking a selfie with her husband, Daniel. “No, we have a strong relationship,” she insists.
“Tell the truth,” Daniel says.
Nancy giggles. “Yes. He’s amazing. And he’s hot.”
“Yessss,” says Debbie Popov of Chicago, her eyes lighting up the way Brady’s do when he spots Julian Edelman open across the middle. “You know what, he’s just a standup guy. He’s a class act. I’m a mom and I think he’s a great dad. I think he’s an all-around great guy.”
Her husband, Dan, agrees. “I’m not perfect,” he admits. “He is.”
“Yes, yes!” says Jen Brennan of Hanover, at the game celebrating her seventh anniversary, minus her husband — “I left him home with the kids.” She would, however, demand some ground rules. “He’d have to divorce Gisele,” she says. And loosen up on that famous diet. “I like potato chips.”
But Brennan’s friend Kristin Hollander of Weymouth has no such restrictions. “I love football and he wins Super Bowls — he brings us rings and diamonds,” she says. “I mean, what girl doesn’t like rings and diamonds?”
Stan Grossfeld is an associate editor at the Globe. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.