By Cary Shuman
It is the tale of a local attorney and his two sons who traveled to Houston for Super Bowl LI and bonded during their memorable excursion. The father held a vastly different belief from the sons in the course of an amazing game that is now being heralded as the greatest moment in Boston sports history.
Gerry D’Ambrosio, former Revere School committee member and partner in a Boston law firm, and his sons, Anthony D’Ambrosio, a student at Yale, and Andrew, a sophomore at Milton Academy, were inside NRG Stadium for the New England Patriots’ thrilling 34-28 victory over the Atlanta Falcons Sunday night.
Anthony and Andrew never swayed an inch from their trust that Tom Brady and the Patriots would find a way to come back from a large early-game deficit that grew to 25 points (28-3) in the third quarter.
“Throughout the entire game, I believed that the team would find a way to win,” said Anthony. “Brady and Belichick have consistently found ways to mount dramatic comebacks over the course of the past 16 years and I, like many other New Englanders, trusted them to do so again. In the end, Brady was clutch as usual and Belichick implemented the necessary adjustments.”
Added Andrew, “I believed in Tom Brady 110 percent. He’s the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time) after all.”
Meanwhile, Gerry, who sat in 40-yard-line seats with his sons, said he had a difficult time focusing on Lady Gaga’s spectacular halftime show even though he is a big fan of the entertainer.
“Even though I enjoy Lady Gaga, I was just borderline despondent with the first half,” said Gerry. “It was just hard to focus on it. To say the least I was worried.”
Gerry said his sons maintained their optimism throughout the game (“Anthony was actually annoying upbeat”), yet he, a longtime Pats’ fan who remembers when the team wasn’aery good, had a pessimistic attitude.
“I remember being a boy watching the Rod Rust days of the New England Patriots,” said Gerry, 48, who also recalled pasting up Boston Herald newspaper clippings when he worked at City Hall Pharmacy in Revere. “And then there was the Super Bowl versus the Giants when we had a perfect season go up in flames.”
His association with the Patriots goes beyond being a fan. A graduate of Suffolk Law School, D’Ambrosio was a federal law clerk on the Billy Sullivan versus the National Football League anti-trust lawsuit in 1994. He met AFL founder Lamar Hunt during the course of the trial. He later represented the NFL in a lawsuit.
Gerry said he began to believe when the Patriots closed the gap to 28-20, making it a one-score game.
“I think there was a great saying that described the situation,” said Gerry. “It went from the impossible, to the possible, to the inevitable. When we won the coin toss, it [a Patriots’ victory] was inevitable at that point.”
Gerry said he and his sons were part of the Patriots’ contingent of fans that booed NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during the Vince Lombardi Trophy presentation ceremony.
“We booed him until we lost our voices,” said Gerry. “It was the loudest collective boo that I’ve ever been a part of heard in my life. And Goodell deserves it.”
The total experience itself was one the D’Ambrosios will remember forever. The trio stayed at the Best Western Hotel in Houston and took in a full slate of Super Bowl pre-game activities.
“Houston was a fantastic host city,” related Anthony. “The downtown environment was lively and welcoming and the festivities provided plenty of things to do. We were able to watch live sports and talk show filmings and see popular bands such as ZZ Top play within the center of the city. The warm weather was also amazing, as we don’t get too many 70 degree February days in Boston. The game was exhilarating.”
“My hat’s off to Houston and its planning committee. They did a great job,” said Gerry.
“The whole experience was one I’ll never forget,” said Andrew, a multi-sport scholar-athlete.