Some Patriots fans walk into an out-of-town bar and ...
Some Patriots fans walked into an out-of-town sports bar ... then turned around and walked out.
Good thing, too.
''I wanted to knock them out,'' laughed Diana Shuman, a Steelers fan standing outside a northside Chicago bar called Durkin's. ''But they left.''
On the TV sets inside, the Patriots were cruising toward a 28-21 win. The bar was packed with Pittsburgh expats and mood still buoyant, although one TV set had already been switched to the Pirates baseball game.
Shuman, though, wasn't letting go of the beef she had with Patriots fans.
''They're arrogant,'' she added a moment later. ''And I'd better censor the rest.''
Anyone who's ever had friends from New England visit knows the feeling. Finding a local sports bar where they won't get booed out of the joint can be tough. One Chicagoan who uses the handle ''Double L'' asked the Yelp community for help: ''I did a search for the obvious but couldn't find any bars called `Cheaters,''' he wrote, ''so I'm sort of at a loss.''
That ''cheaters'' tag is only one reason why NFL rivals everywhere have learned to hate the defending Super Bowl champs, citing glamour-boy quarterback Tom Brady's ''Deflategate'' victory over commissioner Roger Goodell in federal court last week as only the latest example.
''The Pats are cheaters and obviously have been for years,'' Philadelphia fan Dan Mannato said at the Hollywood Cafe Sports Bar in Woodbury Heights, New Jersey.
On the other side of the country, at a Seattle bar in the shadow of the Space Needle, some of the sore feelings from the Seahawks' Super Bowl loss to the Patriots were still palpable
''I think they got their `W' in the Super Bowl using dirty tactics, and we might see them again in this next Super Bowl using dirty tactics,'' said Seahawks fan Alec Taylor. ''Their balls were deflated. Their egos were inflated.''
But not their won-lost record. In the middle of New England's decade-plus dominance, displaced Boston native Stephen Hill had trouble finding bars in Chicago that showed the Patriots' games. So he opened a small bar called Brendan's Pub in 2006. The place was soon so jammed with like-minded New England expats that ahead of last year's Super Bowl game, he renovated the basement to look like a speakeasy and filled it up on game days, too.
Hill said he's made peace with all the Bears fans in the neighborhood, even when the two teams play. Asked whether there was any chance they might meet again in the Super Bowl, he just chuckled.
''Little or none,'' he said.
Like a typical Pats fan, he didn't stop there.
''But if we get `em again, it's going to be a little different than 1986.''