Pat Patriot or Flying Elvis? Fans have a decision to make

Andrew Lightman

As the New England Patriots prepare for Super Bowl XLII, fans are stocking up on anything and everything with a team logo on it. But they’ve got a decision - and a statement - to make when they pick out their hats and jerseys: Are they old-school Pat Patriot types or more modern Flying Elvis devotees?

The team didn’t start winning Super Bowls until after the Flying Elvis logo debuted in 1993. But the old logo, Pat Patriot, still has a loyal following.

‘‘I like the old one because it just looks more tough, like the Patriot knows he is going to win,’’ said Allyson Martin of Milton.

The Pat Patriot logo was first adopted by the franchise on April 19, 1960. It originally appeared in a Boston Globe cartoon in 1959, said Brent Hensel, museum curator for the Hall at Patriots Place.

‘‘The story goes that (then owner) Billy Sullivan saw it and liked it so much they decided to use it,’’ Hensel said.

Pat Patriot replaced the team’s first logo - a blue tricorn hat - on team helmets. It remained the official logo until March 31, 1993, when the Patriots adopted the Flying Elvis and changed their home uniforms from red to blue.

But Pat Patriot persisted.

Clay Totini of Quincy likes him, ‘‘because it looks more like a football logo, since it's a guy hiking a football.’’

In recent years, the team has boosted the number of Pat Patriot items for sale in its ProShop. The line now includes throwback hats, scarves, T-shirts, key chains and sweatshirts.

Yet few Pat Patriot items are sold at retail stores outside of Foxboro, which instead stock up on the newest licensed merchandise featuring Flying Elvis.

People do request items with the throwback logo ‘‘once in a blue moon,’’ said Scott Chamberlain, manager of the Sports Authority in Braintree. But right now, when people are stocking up on items before the game, the demand for the Flying Elvis is soaring.

‘‘It’s huge,’’ Chamberlain said.

Quincy resident John Leonard has been a Patriots fan since the days when they were known as the Boston Patriots. His long-term support, though, doesn’t make him nostalgic for Pat.

When asked to choose, Leonard said he’s now a Flying Elvis fan.

‘‘The new one - it’s much nicer looking, and fresher than the old logo,’’ he said.

Michaela Stanelun contributed to this report.

Andrew Lightman may be reached at

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