Blind Man May Be Biggest Pats Fan - NECN
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Blind Man May Be Biggest Pats Fan

Randy "Zip" Pierce has gone to at least 10 games a year for 27 years

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Randy "Zip" Pierce of Nashua, New Hampshire, who has gone to at least 10 games a year for 27 years, went blind 15 years ago. He was named Fan of the Year in 2001. (Published Monday, Jan. 19, 2015)

    A Nashua New Hampshire, man might be the Patriots' biggest fan and he's got a trophy to prove it. But Randy Pierce has a different perspective on the game and on life than most of us.

    The 2001 Fan of the Year has been to his fair share of Patriots games.

    "Twenty-seven years, at least 10 a year, that's 270, plus playoffs and preseason," he said.

    But he hasn't actually seen a game in 15 years.

    "Sept. 14, 2000 is when I went blind, totally blind," Pierce said.

    Because of a rare neurological disease, life as he knew it had changed.

    What never changed though, was his passion for the Patriots.

    The season ticket holder still made the trip to Foxboro every game, with his face painted and his Tedy Bruschi banner, but there was a special guest at his side.

    "If you look in the front row you see my beautiful golden retriever, Ostend," Pierce said pointing at the famous 2003 photo of Bruschi throwing snow in the air.

    Ostend was Pierce's first guide dog and then there was Quinn.

    With Quinn, Pierce became the first blind person to hike the state's 48 four-thousand foot peaks...twice.

    Now, Pierce has help from Autumn.

    Because of the rain, Autumn stayed home for the AFC Championship. But sure enough, Pierce was there, experiencing the game in a way more people should.

    "I feel the crowd energy," Pierce explained. "You're still hearing the game, I hear hits, I heard LaFell's catch when the ball hit his hands last week in that dramatic come from behind."

    Over the years, his favorite player, became a friend. Tedy Bruschi, inspired by Pierce's passion and perseverance, made it tradition to visit his biggest fan in the stands after every game.

    One year, he brought the Lamar Hunt Trophy directly to Pierce.

    "People are like, 'Tedy is coming, he's carrying the trophy,' I'm like, 'what,'" Pierce remembered. "He reached up and said, "hold it, hold it,' and I am reaching down from the stands. Just to think of the kindness and friendship in him, that's a piece of history."

    When he became a Pats fan in 1976, Pierce never could've imagined this kind of success, and when he lost his vision, he says he never imagined seeing life this clearly.

    "You want to be something special for you and everyone around you, challenge yourself...do your job," said Pierce.

    Just like that Patriots did theirs.

    When we asked Pierce what is next for him, he simply said, "We're on to Seattle."

    He told us that after the Super Bowl, he will concentrate on his next challenge. Pierce plans to run the 2015 Boston Marathon in honor d his beloved guide dog, Quinn.

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