LEWISTON — Normally when you walk in to a sports bar the night of the Super Bowl, especially a popular local joint like Gridiron Restaurant & Sports Pub, you’d find a full house. 

But since the Patriots aren’t playing in this year’s big game, it’s no surprise that less people are out and about for the festivities. 

Though there weren’t as many people out watching the game this year — the ones who did come out were very excited about it. 

The bar at Gridiron was packed with patrons cheering and booing as the game went on. 

The 2016 Super Bowl 50 saw the Carolina Panthers facing against the Denver Broncos. Most Mainers at the bar were rooting for the Broncos. When they got a touchdown, the guests cheered and ordered shots. When the Panthers scored or came close, there were audible boos and groaning — and people ordered even more shots. 

There seem to be two different types of people who go to a sports bar to watch the Super Bowl:

• the ones who really love football and are excited about the game and the whole spectacle; and

• those who just love an excuse to drink in great quantities on a Sunday night.

(Of course, there are some people who fall solidly into both categories.)

Other than the patrons who got cut off from ordering more drinks at around 7 p.m., everyone at the Gridiron seemed to be having a really good time.

Friends Dino Umbro and Stacey Martin of Lewiston, who are regular guests at Gridiron, were among the people enjoying the game. 

“It’s tradition — it’s the Super Bowl, you know?” Umbro said. “I’m a big football fan, and this is always a great gathering of friends and family.”

Umbro, a self-declared football super fan, said he was rooting for the Panthers, and Martin said she was rooting for the Broncos. But neither one seemed to be entirely sure why. 

There weren’t just local sports fans at the bar, however. Kevin Snipes of Philadelphia and Tom Tilbrook of Pittsburgh were in town on a job for Poland Spring. They came to the Gridiron because they really wanted to see the game.

“I’m a football fan,” Snipes explained. “I’m rooting for the Panthers.”

Tilbrook said he didn’t care too much either way.

“It’s turning out to be a defensive battle and a pretty low-scoring game,” Snipes added.

The Denver Broncos took the win, beating out the Carolina Panthers 24 to 10.


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