Immaculate reception

By MIKE MILIARD  |  May 13, 2009

So one wonders what he might've made of the 1.3-million-square-foot, $350 million Patriot Place sprawling "man mall." Would he consider stopping in for a bacon cheese dog at Five Guys Burgers & Fries (where his poster hung on the window)? Or shopping for a new robe at Old Navy, or scented candles at Crabtree & Evelyn? Weirdly, as I pondered what the so-called divine king would make of this, Joan Osborne's agnostic alterna-smash "One of Us" piped up over the outdoor sound system.

I didn't see His Holiness strolling the grounds with Kraft, his host, after the talk. But I did see monks swathed in crimson and ochre, passing solemnly past the Patriots hall of fame, beneath huge screens flickering with images of Tom Brady and Randy Moss, and a tonsured devotee in robe and sandals stopping at a shelf in the loud and frenetic gift shop, picking up a Pat Patriot football helmet, examining it thoughtfully, and putting it gently back on the shelf.

Meanwhile, prayer flags were tied to the railing of the Gillette Stadium entry stairs as the happy crowd filed out. One was scrawled with black marker: a crudely drawn football between the words FREE TIBET and GO PATS.

Mike Miliard, who learned after Super Bowl XLII that the path to enlightenment is fraught with peril, can be reached at mmiliard@phx.com.

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