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Some Santa Fe football fans love to hate Patriots

February 4, 2019

The living room of Ron Trujillo’s Santa Fe home is just like anyone else’s. It has painted walls and a ceiling, complete with light fixtures and windows, furniture arranged here and there.

Thing is, you can’t see much of it this week. Depending on how it goes Sunday night in Atlanta, you might not see it for a while.

“It’s a Rams cave,” Trujillo says, snapping photos of his surroundings with his phone. “I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.”

The former Santa Fe city councilor is one of a handful of die-hard Los Angeles Rams fans around town. But there probably aren’t many as devoted as Trujillo.

His home is festooned with Rams gear — from the navy and gold they’ve worn for most of the past two decades to the more familiar royal blue and canary yellow they’ll wear in Super Bowl LIII against the enemy that is the New England Patriots.

Among Trujillo’s prized possessions is an old Starter jacket autographed by the most famous Ram of all, Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson. Toss in the occasional jersey, mini helmet and throwback hat, and it’s like walking into a team pro shop at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

“Been a Rams fan my entire life, and having the team back in L.A. and back in the Super Bowl, it’s a dream,” says Trujillo.

The Rams’ bandwagon has been overloaded with temporary fans-for-a-day. Aside from small pockets scattered around the country and in New England, of course, the consensus is that most Americans are rooting for the blue and gold – or more to the point, against the Patriots.

But Santa Fe’s New England fans — yes, there are some — just yawn when they hear that.

“Yeah, I don’t care about what the reasons are for people not liking the Pats,” says one of Santa Fe’s biggest Patriots fans, Peter Trevisani. “They’re all lumped into the same bucket as far as I’m concerned. They all hate the team because, let’s face it, we’re good. The same thing happens to us every year.”

The owner of the New Mexico United professional soccer team, Trevisani grew up in Beantown and attended Boston College. He has traveled to four Super Bowls to see his beloved Patriots, including the last-second win over Carolina in Super Bowl XXXVIII and both losses to the Giants (2008 and 2012).

He and his family were in Kansas City for the AFC Championship two weeks ago, joining a group of about 50 Patriots fans sitting behind the team bench and joining in an impromptu celebration with the players after the game. Trevisani’s wife and daughter will be in Atlanta for Sunday’s Super Bowl.

Google “most hated teams in America” and you’re sure to find the Pats right up there with the likes of the Dallas Cowboys, Duke men’s basketball, the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox and the University of Alabama football team. All share the common denominator of sustained success — some more recent than others.

The Patriots hate seems to have more to do with sheer exhaustion than any arrogance that comes with success. The Cowboys cemented their anti-fans with the “America’s Team” antics of the 1970s; the Red Sox and Yankees have won for years with an air of cockiness.

But the Patriots? They just keep winning. And winning. That’s what burns a lot of people.

“No one hates a loser, you know?” says Joe Ray Anaya, an educator who coaches football on Santa Fe High’s staff.

A devoted fan of the Miami Dolphins, the Patriots’ divisional rival, Anaya has watched his team get kicked around for two decades by Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, and a franchise associated with terms like “Deflategate” and “Spygate” while winning five Super Bowl rings.

If anyone wants to see New England get kicked in the teeth, it’s a Dolphins fan, right?

“You know — ” Anaya says, trailing off, “I kind of respect them for what they’ve done. It’s hard to do that for so long, so, yeah, as much as I can’t stand them, I do have to admit that it’s hard to really hate them. I mean, I still want them to lose, but it’s not one of those things like some people wanted the Cowboys to lose when they were good.”

How ’bout someone rooted in New Jersey, a veritable hotbed for Boston hate. The Pats? Fogettaboudit, right?

“I don’t know, man,” says Ron Drake, a transplant from New Jersey. “I see why people don’t like them, I really do. But for Brady and Belichick to do this as long as they have is mind blowing.

“Maybe if they had won it every year it would be easier to not like them? I don’t know. More than anything, I think people are just tired of the same thing. … I don’t know.”

A quick check of Santa Fe drinking establishments reveals that bars will attract a certain crowd one way or the other.

But it’s parties like the one at Ron Trujillo’s house that will carry the most emotion.

“We all want our teams to win the Super Bowl, right?” Trujillo says. “If you’re going to do it, it might as well be against the Patriots. We all grew up not liking the Steelers or Cowboys, but this is the team we’re all sort of rooting against now, and [Sunday], it’s the Rams’ turn.”

And if Brady wins again?

“Then I guess I’ll have my living room back,” Trujillo says.

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