When walking down any street in Baltimore donning his Tom Brady jersey, Jason Lessard keeps his headphones plugged into his ears. He blocks out the disapproving looks and negative comments from non-Patriots fans that greet him.
Cheering on the New England team proves to be a little tough in a city that reps the purple, black and gold. Yet Jason and the rest of the Baltimore New England Patriots Fans go to great lengths to make sure the city knows their allegiance lies nowhere else.
"We all chose to live here," Jason told Lifestyle. "We like the city. We just don't like the teams."
Jason, a native of a Connecticut town an hour away from Gillette Stadium, grew up watching, reading and breathing the Patriots. He moved away from home when he joined the military, and his love of the team grew. Surrounded by fans of other teams, Jason found himself talking about Patriots more.
"First thing I ever bought with my money when I was a little kid was an Andre Tippet starting line-up figure," Jason said.
Once he settled in Baltimore 2011, he found himself at Ravens' bars watching the Patriots. Then he found the D.C. fan club and began making trips to the nation's capital to catch the game. Though Jason liked meeting with other Patriots fans in D.C., the trek was too far.
It wasn't until week two of the 2014 season that Jason met up with Kevin Kacin and some other Patriots fans in the Baltimore neighborhood of Canton to watch the Vikings game.
"Right before the season started, [Kevin] basically just said 'Are there any Patriots fans that lived in Baltimore that would be interested in watching games together?'" Jason said.
Two years later, the group has grown to over 400 members on their Facebook group. With roughly 60-80 people regularly attending their watch parties at their game day spot, Canton Dockside, the fan club did everything they could to boost their membership. Though the group used flyers, word of mouth and social media, they found that the business cards they made had the most impact.
"We just realized if you just hand them the business card that has all the information on it. It's quick, it's easy and it worked," Jason said.
As the club's membership continues to grow, the members of Baltimore New England Patriots Fans celebrate how proud they are of their success. When the group meets at Canton Dockside, which is located on Boston Street, on game day, they are always greeted with Patriots themed menus. The group works with the restaurant to come up with a menu that features "Gronk's Mussels," the "Brady Burger," the "D-Mac Rack of Ribs" and the "Veggie Tyme Burger."
When Patriots play in major games the group gets pumped up and go all out. After the 2014 playoff win against the Ravens, Jason jumped on top of the Ray Lewis stadium and snapped a photo of himself holding up a Patriots flag that caught the attention of local radio station and the hosts of Patriots Football Weekly podcast.
Once the team made the Super Bowl, the group held a mini-parade on Boston Street from Jason's house to the restaurant.
"We all left and did another parade and we went to the New York Giants bar that was in town and we walked in, like 30 of us. And everyone was just like 'Oh, you guy,'" Jason said.
With the Patriots up to play the Ravens in week 12 of the season, the fan club looks to repeat their parade down Boston Street, as well as an outdoor cookout.
Through their business cards, meetings at Canton Dockside and parades, the Baltimore Patriots Fan Club has found something that many others have discovered when they become a part of Patriots Nation.
"My best friends that I have in the city are Patriots fans," Jason said. "It's almost like a really big family, just a bunch of people taking care of each other."
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