Silver Bullet: The Story of the New England Patriots’ No.1 Fanby Sam Gordon August 23, 2018 0 comments
New England Patriots fans may have seen him on their screens at home or in pictures online, but who is the man behind the paint?
Keith Birchall grew up in Providence, Rhode Island before moving to Southern Massachusetts when his grandparents introduced him to the world of Boston sports.
“I was born and raised a fan of everything Boston,” Birchall said. “In fact, my grandparents lived three blocks from [McCoy Stadium] and have been to more games there than any other sport.”
But at six years of age, everything changed for Birchall when he attended his first Patriots game at Shaefer Stadium and met the quarterback for the team at the time Steve Grogan.
“[My] first Patriots Game was at six years old,” Birchall said. ” I met [Steve Grogan] and got his Autograph on a Trading Card.”
But it wasn’t until 2002 when he would create the costume known to many regulars at Gilette Stadium. The costume worn multiple times in a season is shown on the jumbotron or on screens at home.
The name ‘silver bullet’, however, was christened to Birchall during a Miami Dolphin’s game where the announcers were the first to call him by that.
“I only went by No.1 Fan until I was in Miami for a game eight years ago,” Birchall said. “The announcers said as the T.V. cameras found me ‘Look it’s the ‘silver bullet’ from Foxboro!'”
The name was driven home when the announcers at Gillette Stadium calling him by his alter ego.
“Then the next week back at Gillette the announcers said ‘Hey it’s the Silverbullet, I Wonder what Gauge he is’,” Birchall said.
Birchall saw the Patriots through the tough years which included the 46-10 loss in Super Bowl XX against the Chicago Bears, but he also saw the team as it became the titan of sports it is today. While attending his first Super Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida, he was covered by LIFE magazine as he gained infamy for his look.
“I attended my first Superbowl in the 2004 Season,” Birchall said. “The first major magazine article about me was in Life Magazine.”
Birchall has seen a lot of players come and go through the years with the Patriots, but he still maintains a place in his heart for one of the league’s all-time great offensive lineman as a player and as a human being, having met him many times.
“I have many favorite players but if I have to choose an all-time favorite it would be John Hannah for so many reasons,” Birchall said. “He’s a fantastic person & human being. He was one of the best if not the best offensive lineman ever to play in the NFL period.”
When asked about what makes the Patriots such a special organization, Birchall said it’s all about the fans and that everybody’s a Patriot.
“In my honest opinion the Patriots are a team and family organization,” Birchall said. “They give back so much to the fans, community and many charity organizations.”
But what’s to come this year? Birchall said that with all the new faces on this Patriots roster, he is very excited for what is to come as the Patriots begin their quest for their sixth championship.
“[There are] lots of fresh and exciting additions,” Birchall said. “From Danny Shelton to Eric Decker are what makes me anxious and excited for this season to start.”