By Carol McCracken  (Post # 1,690)

The excitement is building and the tension mounting among New England Patriots fans across the country as the Brady vs. Manning show gets close to show time at 3:00 pm this afternoon!  Go Pats!

Sports merchants at the Maine Mall in South Portland are in an unenviable position.  If the Patriots win today, there will be a market for AFC champions souvenirs – but not as much as when (and if) they win the Super Bowl. Seth, store manager at Olympia Sports, said he will get the souvenirs and clothing in for sale tomorrow morning.   “A lot of Pats players are injured, so their stuff doesn’t sell as fast as someone like Blount’s,” he said. “Those injured include players like Gronkowski, Wilfork and Mayo.”

At Sports Authority, the manager said he’ll be open tomorrow morning at 7 am with hats and t-shirts should the Patriots beat the Broncos this afternoon. “Brady is always the one – people always want his stuff,” said the manager whose name mhn.com forgot to write down.  “Besides, I want to be at home watching the game.  Not here in the store,” he said grinning.

Over at Dick’s Sports Authority, the store manager said he has boxes of AFC Champions souvenirs, but he hasn’t opened the boxes and seen what’s in them yet. Normally the store stays open until 7:00 pm on Sunday evenings.  “But if customers show up, we’ll stay open,” James said.   He plans to watch the game on the store television sets.  Call: 207 – 828-4950