Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Let's go Pats!

This is great. Stinking Colts. Let's go Pats!

Patriots to honor young fan booed in Indianapolis
By HOWARD ULMAN, AP Sports Writer, January 15, 2008

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -- Patriots owner Robert Kraft sat behind his wide desk and marveled at how his team's jersey could be the target of so many boos -- even when it's worn by a 14-year-old girl.

This wasn't Randy Moss or Rodney Harrison hearing the catcalls. They're used to it. This was Anna Grant, a high school freshman who had worked hard to win the Punt, Pass & Kick competition in her age group as the team's representative.

When she was introduced along with the other winners before the fourth quarter of San Diego's playoff win last Sunday, she was the only one booed by the crowd in Indianapolis, home of New England's fiercest rival.

"Why should a champion be booed?" the boss of the three-time Super Bowl winners said Tuesday. "She won an intensive competition. She's supposed to be honored."

His team is getting the same reaction -- not because of the spying incident in the season opener but because fans like to see teams at the top get knocked off, he said. If the Chargers can't do it Sunday, New England will be headed to its fourth Super Bowl in seven seasons.

But first comes the coin flip before the AFC championship and Grant will be out on the field for that, invited by Kraft, who felt badly that she had been booed.
"What I decided is that we would honor her here before this game," Kraft said in an interview in his office filled with photos, footballs and other memorabilia. "We will recognize her as the winner on the field. Our fans will know."

Grant returned from school Tuesday and heard a phone message from Andre Tippett, the Patriots' executive director of community affairs and a former star linebacker.

She called back and was ecstatic when Tippett extended the invitation -- plus tickets for her, her parents and two brothers -- to take part.

"I was just in shock," she said.

Kraft knows the hoots were not directed at the high school freshman from Stratham, N.H., about 20 miles north of the Massachusetts border. It's just that the jersey provokes an instant response, usually a negative one.

Grant also understands, and even smiled when she heard the boos.

"Before I went down there, my friends said, `You know, you'll probably get booed,"' she said in a telephone interview. "I was kind of waiting for it.

"It really didn't bother me at all," she added. "People at the game came up to me afterward and said, `It's not you. It's your jersey."'

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