Meet New England's End Zone Militia - NECN

Meet New England's End Zone Militia

The militia was first formed in 1996

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    NEWSLETTERS

    (Published Friday, Jan. 16, 2015)

    These men and women are dedicated to their craft for the enjoyment of the fans. Win or lose and in all types of weather, they faithfully stand guard. Every home Sunday, they find their way to the end zone.

    They wear boots like cleats, the tricorns are their helmets, and the waistcoats their jerseys.

    They have a view of all the action from inside Gillette Stadium, but it can't be called the best seat in the house.

    "We're basically on our feet for 5, 6 hours at least," Capt. Geoff Campbell said.

    They are the Patriots who freeze in deep arctic cold and sweat in blazing summer sun. The worst is the driving rain.

    "And you try to keep it as dry as possible, because that condensation makes it heavy and wet and it just does not fire," Private David Cunningham said.

    All this, while their namesakes do battle on the field. They are the New England End Zone Militia.

    By day, Captain Geoff Campbell works at Target and is from a family of revolutionary war re-enactors.

    "I've always loved history, particularly this time period," he said.

    The flakes falling in this rural setting give the day a feeling of January 1775, two members of a militia who know its purpose 12 score later in 2015.

    "The players love it too, the fans came up and compliment is, they say this is the best part of the game. They come to watch us fire. Although when Randy Moss was here he jumped a few times when he heard the musket," Cunningham said.

    "Matt Light looked at us, he smiled and he went, I love that smell. Wet wool and gunpowder," Campbell said.

    "I'm a lowly private and I enjoy it," Cunningham said.

    David Cunningham is a retired postal worker and for 25 years, a civil and revolutionary war re-enactor in Rhode Island.

    "A little history is that the first Rhode Island regiment is the first and only black regiment in the Revolutionary War," he said.

    You see these guys in the end zone all the time. Maybe it's something you think you could do. Not so fast. Not everybody can be part of the End Zone Militia.

    "They have to know you, you have to be good character, you have to be safe," Cunningham said.

    "(You have to be a) re-enactor for a minimum of 5 years," Campbell said.

    These two men and the 18 others who line-up, 10 in each end zone, used to fire their flint lock black gun powder muskets in both end zones when the Patriots scored a touchdown.

    But perhaps most memorable, a hazy thing happened one night to Adam Vinatieri.

    "Vinatieri came out, lines up, kicks the ball and misses. And we find out afterwards, he told the coaching staff he missed because of the smoke from the muskets hanging in the air and causing his eyes to sting. He couldn't see the goalposts. How true it is, I don't know," Campbell said.

    Of course, Vinatieri now kicks for the Colts.

    The End Zone Militia all started with Revolution soccer at Gillette in 1996.

    And these guys just started getting paid a nominal fee by the team, which covers gas money to Gillette and the cost of gunpowder, about $60 a season. 

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