Four years, three Super Bowls

Class of 2018 reflects on the joy and pain of the Patriots’ Super Bowl domination during their time at UMass


Jill Webb

Elizabeth O’Brien and Christian Oliveira (Jill Webb/Amherst Wire).

Jill Webb, Writer

The University of Massachusetts Amherst Class of 2018 has had the experience of watching the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl three times during their college career.

After winning the Super Bowl in the class’ freshmen and junior years, the Patriots are returning once again to face the Philadelphia Eagles.

Senior Michelle Rozycki can only describe the feeling as “surreal.”

 “My team has made it to the Super Bowl three out of the four years of my undergrad experience, it seems like I should play the lottery.”

— Michelle Rozycki

Rozycki, a food science major, shares the New England spirit even though she is from Clinton, New Jersey where the majority of people are Giants fans.

As a freshman in high school, Rozycki didn’t know football very well. Her friend, who had family from Massachusetts, was a Patriots fan, and inspired her to be one too.

At first, her desire to be a fan came from thinking Tom Brady was cute, but as she got older and the Patriots got better, she got more and more into the games.

When Rozycki came to UMass Amherst in 2014, it was like a breath of fresh air for the out-of-state Patriots fan.

“I could finally have some pride in my team,” Rozycki said. “Everyone was so excited to see them win and beat all these other teams and make it to the Super Bowl.”

That Super Bowl was her first as a student, and the university put down some strict rules regarding what residential buildings students could enter for the day surrounding the Super Bowl.

Rozycki’s dorm was located in Kennedy Tower, but she camped out in Moore hall despite the regulations in order to be with the rest of her friends for the game. Leaving the building put her at risk for not being allowed back into the building before kick-off, so Rozycki’s friend snuck food out of the dining hall to bring back for her.

“As soon as we won, we sprinted out of Moore to in front of Berk where they had the big, I guess you could call it a riot, but it was just a big celebration,” Rozycki said. “That was really exciting, especially because I was a freshman.”

The same night wasn’t as exhilarating for all freshmen — especially not Christian Oliveira.

Like Rozycki, Oliveira was also a fugitive from Kennedy Tower hanging out in a different hall. This time it was Cance Hall. And unlike Rozycki, he was less than thrilled.

“They just won on a miracle interception at the end and everyone just ran outside and I just chilled,” the now-senior Oliveira said.

While the crowds gathered outside, he sat in his friend’s room alone and scrolled through his phone.

Oliveira, a sport management senior from New Hope Pennsylvania, is a Bills fan who is “sympathetic” to the Eagles.

His hatred for the Patriots stemmed before his time at UMass Amherst, due to the team dominating the Bills’ division. He also “hated them in general because they’re not that likable.”

Things have changed over the past four years since he first started arguing with his friends about the Patriots.

“At this point, it’s not even worth it,” Oliveira said.

According to Oliveira, it’s pretty annoying to be constantly surrounded by Patriots fans. “They’re recognized as being annoying pretty nationally. They just kind of like exist in a bubble with a self-awareness of zero,” said Oliveira.

For his junior year, Oliveira watched on as the tables turned in last years Super Bowl. “It seemed like the Falcons just crumbled and the Pats did every single thing that had to happen for like 18 minutes straight and ended up winning.”

Across town, Rozycki also watched the game with a bunch of Patriots fans. At first, everyone was excited, but the room was dead silent as the Falcons started to dominate.

“No one was paying attention to the half-time show and I was really ready to walk back to my apartment before fourth quarter,” Rozycki said.

When they did win, it was tough for Oliveira, who was excited to see them get beat.

As his girlfriend, Patriots fan Elizabeth O’Brien, went to celebrate at the Amherst bars downtown, Oliveira locked his bedroom door and went to bed.

The next morning he was mad as he drove her home, and remained mad the whole day, according to O’Brien.

Christian Oliveira and Elizabeth O’Brien (Jill Webb/Amherst Wire).

When asked about how the seniors are going to react this year during Super Bowl LII if the Patriots win, Oliveira turned to his friends and said: “I feel like each one gets sh*ttier, right?”

“Hm, more security probably,” O’Brien responded.

“When you win your sixth championship I don’t think people are doing that crazy of sh*t anymore,” Oliveira said. “If the Eagles win the Super Bowl the city of Philadelphia is literally going to burn to the ground. If the Pats win the Super Bowl the city of Boston isn’t at risk of burning to the ground.”

“Do you think the only way to celebrate sports victories is with destructive tendencies?” his friend, Charles Fine, joked.

Nonetheless, Oliveira still thinks the Patriots will probably win the Super Bowl again this year. Of course, Rozycki thinks so too.

“I’m from the area, I know the Eagles suck,” Rozycki said. “This is really lucky for them because they usually never even make it to the playoffs. They can’t continue their luck.”

But, if the Eagles were to win, how would Oliveira react?

“I honestly don’t know what I would do in that moment,” Oliveira said.

He imagined all his UMass Amherst friends would be sitting around “shell-shocked” and he would be calling his friend who is a huge Eagles fan, and probably getting a call from his dad.

“I wonder if there’s like an Eagles mini-riot scheduled somewhere, because I would go. Even if there’s a hundred people, it would be pretty lit,” he said.

Email Jill at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @JillM_Webb. 

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