AUBURN — After the drubbing the Patriots received Sunday night at the hands of the New York Jets, most New England football fans probably wanted to spend Monday in hiding, wishing the playoffs had never happened.

With Martin Luther King Jr. Day falling on Monday, many got their wishes. Roger Dostie of East Auburn Lumber Road was not so lucky: He returned home from work Monday afternoon to find the snowbanks surrounding his home dyed bright green, and the deer-shaped lawn ornaments on his porch adorned with Jets gear.

The culprit? Dostie’s sister and next-door neighbor, Diane Steward, a longtime Jets fan along with her husband, Gil.

“They’ve been Jet-washed!” Steward said. “When we saw the headlines this morning, Gil asked if they sell just green food-coloring by itself. I said ‘Yes,’ and he said, ‘Let’s do it.’”

So Steward bought two bottles of green food coloring at Walmart. She spent the rest of the morning using a spray bottle to turn the snow in Dostie’s front yard roughly the same color as the envy he feels now that his sister’s trash-talking team will be playing in the AFC championship against the Pittsburgh Steelers next weekend.

Then she continued on to the snowbank in the middle of the street, and spritzed a few other neighbors’ yards for good measure. She also placed a miniature Jets helmet and football in the snow out front of her brother’s house and decked out two deer next to his front door in Jets jerseys and caps. A Patriots flag hung limply in defeat from Dostie’s porch.

“You’re gonna get in trouble when Roger gets here,” a neighbor called out as she passed by.

“Oh, I think I will,” Steward responded cheerily.

The redecoration is the latest incident in a good-natured, back-and-forth sports rivalry, Steward said.

When the Pats embarrassed the Jets in a December 45-3 blowout, Dostie left the newspaper article on Steward’s car windshield the next morning, just to make sure she and Gil hadn’t missed it. The lawn-ornament deer get dressed up for holidays and occasionally turn up around the neighborhood as a sort of practical joke. From a distance they look almost real, Steward said. Earlier this year, they turned up in her garden.

When the Patriots’ luck finally ran out, “I figured something was on its way,” Dostie said. “Last night, I said ‘Turn the lights off’ before the game was even over.”

Dostie and his son Justin, who lives with him, are “true Patriots fans,” Steward said. She became a Jets fan after she met her husband, Gil, who she married 36 years ago. “Since I’ve known him, he’s been a Jets fan. Never strayed,” Steward said.

Gil grew up in Auburn, but started rooting for the Jets in 1969, the year the team won its first — and last — Super Bowl. A down-to-earth Mainer, he said he loves the big talk that Jets coach Rex Ryan and his players dish out before big games.

“It’s all hype,” he said. “It goes back to ’69, when Joe Namath said ‘We’re going to win,’ and they did.”

Dostie had the grace to admit that his team didn’t deserve to win on Sunday. “The Patriots really didn’t look good at all. They didn’t have their stuff,” he said.

But that doesn’t mean he’ll join his sister in cheering for the Jets next week. “They won’t go far,” he said. “They’ll choke.”


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