With quarterback Mac Jones (l.), the New England Patriots currently have little reason to celebrate. However, they are more popular than ever in Germany. Image: AP/Martin Meissner
Press conferences, trainings, marketing events, video conferences and interviews: Dennis Briege has had a lot to do in the last few days. After all, the Super Bowl record-holding New England Patriots don’t come to Germany every day. And Briege was a wanted man. The Berliner doesn’t even play football.
Dennis Briege has been a Patriots fan for 23 years. Even before the days of former quarterback Tom Brady, as he emphatically emphasized in an interview with Watson. This is important to mention because many German fans only became Patriots fans thanks to Brady’s successes. Now there are so many that they are the most popular NFL team in Germany.
This was clearly visible and heard in Frankfurt last weekend. Despite another poor performance, including a 6:10 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, fans celebrated their team.
Watson is now on WhatsApp
And for Dennis Brieger, this weekend still feels like a victory. He achieved a feat that only Tom Brady had achieved. Briege managed to make taciturn Patriots coach Bill Belichick laugh.
Video of last Friday’s press conference went viral and Brieger became the secret star of the weekend. But first things first.
Patriots coach Belichick looking strange
Being a New England Patriots fan is not easy right now. The franchise, accustomed to success, has been searching since Tom Brady’s departure four years ago, trying hard, but has yet to find a suitable replacement for the now 46-year-old.
Mac Jones, the true young hope, is failing because of this. The 25-year-old was selected by the Patriots in the draft two years ago. Those in charge were hoping for an era like Brady’s. But it is already clear that this will not happen.
Although teammates and coaches have expressed their confidence in him, Jones made a series of poor decisions in Sunday’s loss to the Colts and failed to score a touchdown for his team. It also scared the team’s offensive coach, Bill O’Brien.
After ten games, the Patriots have eight losses and two wins. They are one of the worst teams in the league. And the nerves of everyone involved are on edge.
So the 71-year-old Belichick had little interest in the postgame press conference. Visibly in a bad mood, he dealt with questions about his future (“I do my best every day”) and Mac Jones’ (“I believe in all our players”). After a brief monologue, he answered eleven questions in three minutes and disappeared again.
Patriots in Germany: Dennis Briege creates a viral hit
Things were different before the game. At the pregame press conference on Friday, the usually grumpy Belichick was still in good spirits. He answered journalists’ questions in detail and smiled a lot. American reporters rubbed their eyes in amazement – no wonder he was nicknamed “Grumpy Bill”. Dennis Briege also observed this unusually relaxed behavior.
Then Briege, who was there as a reporter for a German football magazine, quickly shared his assessment and said: “I think Germany is good for you.”
The 71-year-old smiled again and replied: “AND“It’s good to be here, the people are friendly, very hospitable.” He didn’t see much of Frankfurt – but: “There are pretzels,” he said cheerfully.
The video went viral on NFL social media channels, especially in the US. ESPN and CBS reported on the scene and Brieger made a real impression on his American colleagues. The British newspaper “The Sun” also entered the scene. “That was really amazing,” Dennis Briege enthusiastically commented a day later.
And he even made sure that CBS presenter Steve Burton, well-known in football circles, took him out of line for a fan event at the “Patriots Haus” fan party on Saturday night.
NFL in Germany: Patriots take great care of German fans
There the disparity between the current failure and the glorious past became particularly clear. For the first time in the club’s history, all six Super Bowl trophies were sent abroad. They wanted to give something back to their loyal fan base. Several discussions and autograph sessions with team legends took place on stage, and Patriots owner Robert Kraft also stopped by for a surprise visit.
None of the other three teams have put together a similar program for their fans over the past two weeks.
“It should be a big thank you for your enormous support,” said Sebastian Vollmer, a two-time Super Bowl winner with the Patriots.
Players like Vollmer, Markus Kuhn and Jakob Johnson, who played for the Boston team between 2019 and 2021, still have a significant influence on the team’s enormous popularity today.
And the Patriots are aware of that. Once a month there is a joint meeting with Christopher Knower, he looks after the interests of German Patriots fans. And always right in the middle: Dennis Briege.
As president of the “Go Pats Crew”, Briege represents more than 30 members from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. He also regularly invites current or former players or club reporters to his digital meetings.
They thought of something special for the Frankfurt game. Together, they organized a fan march of more than 300 people to the stadium. A tradition that is only known in football.
“No football team has done this before. People on the streets stopped and took photos. This also left an impression on the USA,” says Briege.
Next year the NFL will return to Munich with a game, and in 2025 it will be invited again in Frankfurt. So maybe with the Patriots in a better mood. “We have been successful for more than 20 years, now we have a dry period. But we will return,” he said. Dennis Briege makes a clear announcement.
The Patriots can count on support from Germany.
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