The Patriots-Colts tilt last week had Super Bowl-type hype but about two dozen Pats Island faithfuls enjoyed the game in relative secrecy.
“Hey, don’t tell. Let’s keep this a secret,” joked Lenny Verville of Oak Bluffs to this reporter at Outerland on Sunday afternoon. Mr. Verville and his friend Linda Hammond were enveloped by the surround sounds of the game, watching a crisp, life-size game picture on an eight-by-fourteen-foot screen set up on the Outlerland stage.
Like the Pats, the Outerland fans warmed up slowly, but by the middle of the first period were howling with glee or disappointment at various turns in the game. Fans were able to help game officials see the error of their ways as eight-foot-high replays clearly showed that Pats receiver Randy Moss’s feet were in bounds, and that the Colts’ defensive transgressions had been obviously overlooked by the zebras. Clearly, the Pats and Colts were having a much better game than the referees.
“I love the hype and the excitement around this game,” said bartender Ron Gray before kickoff. A transplanted Washington, D.C., native who grewing up with the Washington Redskins, Mr. Gray is familiar with NFL mania. He was rooting for the Pats. “I sort of like the Colts but I’m tired of the Manning brothers. That whole NFL family thing,” he said, referring to brothers Payton and Eli Manning, quarterbacks of the Colts and New York Giants respectively. The Manning boys are sons of longtime and mostly long suffering New Orleans Saints quarterback Archie Manning.
Mr. Gray was busily shuttling bar service to patrons seated on the dance floor in front of the game and removing emptied plates of an imaginative buffet prepared by sous chef Dan Conklin and prep chef Chase Callahan.
“We focus on football food,” Mr. Conklin said, pointing to a spread of curried chicken roll ups, sausage and peppers, ribs, buffalo wings and sliders, the name for mini burgers popularized decades ago by the White Castle burger chain. The finger food was garnished by potato and pasta salad. Dessert included chocolate mousse. “Who doesn’t love chocolate mousse?” Ms. Hammond asked rhetorically. “For fifteen bucks, this is a great deal,” chimed in a buffet grazer.
The Outerland game day idea began last spring with the Kentucky Derby, was reborn during the Red Sox playoffs and now is in place for the Patriots and Sunday night football. “It’s growing slowly,” Mr. Conklin said, adding that owner Barry Rosenthal is considering adding beanbags and additional couches to the three-seater couch front and center, surrounded by tables and chairs.
Fans in attendance were most excited by the unveiling this Sunday of an even larger screen in high definition.
Pats mania was most evidenced by Denise and Rick Lambos of Edgartown, who wore their Tom Brady and Richard Seymour game shirts. “We go to a few games a year in Foxboro,” Mr. Lambos said, “but we’ve been coming here for two weeks now. Good food, good neighbors. I’ll encourage my friends to come.” He added:
“This is the Vineyard’s biggest living room.”