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Super Bowl Sunday Traditions Abound for Wild

Among millions watching the big game will be Wild once it arrives in Winnipeg

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers /

Minnesota Wild forward Charlie Coyle is spoiled when it comes to his favorite football team.

The native of East Weymouth, Massachusetts has grown up in an era where the New England Patriots have built a football dynasty, one that has spanned more than half his life.

And although he is north of the border and will spend a good chunk of the day on an airplane travelling from Vancouver to Winnipeg, rest assured Coyle and his Wild teammates will be in front of a television when the game kicks off around 5:30 p.m. CT.

"Just another year with the Pats in the Super Bowl," Coyle said with a laugh.

Coyle and his family are all big Patriots fans. New England is playing in its seventh championship game since 2001 and eighth in Coyle's lifetime. If New England wins, quarterback Tom Brady will make history by becoming the first starting quarterback to win five Super Bowls. 

"We've been spoiled. Every year, they're a contender," Coyle said. "When did Brady start, 2000? I was seven or eight years old. Just started watching and all the way through, the Pats every year are always fighting for a title. It's pretty cool. And everyone is behind them back home. There's a buzz every year about it and all my buddies and family are diehards."

Although Coyle won't be able to join his family and friends for the big game this year, that won't stop them from having a good time without him.

Every time the Patriots have reached the Super Bowl, the whole family can usually be found at a house in the neighborhood, complete with the game on a big screen and a nice spread in the kitchen.

"When I was younger, we would go to my parents' friends' house and they had kids my age," Coyle said. "We'd go over there and have Super Bowl parties and [stay] up late for the whole game. When we were younger, that was pretty cool. We were fortunate to have them playing the whole year."

While Coyle has been following a consistent contender for most of his life, many others have taken part in some of the same Super Bowl Sunday traditions.

Along with golf, football is perhaps the preferred sport among Wild players. Fantasy football is popular with a large segment of the guys in the room, with weekly lineup talk and close games a popular point of pride during the fall months. 

Zach Parise, who along with video coach Jonas Plumb won his second championship in three years a few weeks back, has long been an admirer of Brady and will be pulling for the Patriots quarterback on Sunday.

"I like seeing a dynasty," Parise said, perhaps launching an early opening salvo of his own fantasy title defense to come in 2017. "I like seeing a team that constantly wins and everyone is trying to knock down."

Erik Haula, another of the team's skilled fantasy football players, names Brady as one of his favorite athletes and as someone who has inspired him in his own career.

Like Haula, a seventh-round pick of the Wild in the 2009 NHL Draft, Brady wasn't picked high by the team that took him (sixth round, 199th overall by New England in 2000).  

"Late draft pick, working his way up in college, then getting a chance in the pros," Haula said. "The rest is in the history books."

Jordan Schroeder, whose family was among a handful in the neighborhood that hosted annual Super Bowl parties, said he's hoping the Falcons pull it off.

"I love Tom Brady; I think he's the best quarterback of all time," Schroeder said. "But I wouldn't mind seeing [Falcons quarterback] Matt Ryan win one."

Defenseman Ryan Suter, an avid Green Bay Packers fan, declined to pick a winner. He also grew up attending parties to watch the Super Bowl and enjoys the opportunity now to watch with his teammates, wherever they may be.

"We always seem to find a way to get together at home or on the road," Suter said.

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