The New England Patriots narrowly missed the chance to return to the Super Bowl game this year when they lost to eventual champions, the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC championship game. It was a big letdown of sorts for the Patriots who were heavily favored to win it all this season. Fans from all over the world were surprised to see the team’s playoff collapse in what was considered to be New England’s ticket back to the big dance. Over the last decade, the NFL has reached out to countries all over Europe, expanding the reach of the game in hopes of promoting the sport as a global game. One particular country that has started to join the NFL bandwagon is France. France is a country where sport is an essential part of life. The French people are known to take their sports seriously and are passionate in competing in various disciplines. It is home to major sporting events like the {French Open} in tennis and cycling’s prestigious {Tour de France}. Although football still remains as the number one sporting attraction in the country, the NFL has started to gain a following with teams like the New England Patriots being among the favorites by fans.

The New England Patriots have started to have a following in France and fans have started to embrace the team by buying and collecting different types of memorabilia. From t shirts, to jackets, commemorative mugs and action figures, people have joined in the Patriots band wagon. They even have New England Patriots playing cards and a poker chips guard available to collect in the market. Now, poker is another game that is also gaining quite a following in France. Although France is not always mentioned as one of the hotspots of poker tournaments, they have had a long tradition in playing card games. In just a short amount of time, the country has produced a number of top poker players in the world. Topping the list of famous players is Bertand “Elky” Grosspellier. He is one of only four players in the history of the game who have completed the Triple Crown of poker - A win on the EPT, WPT, and at the WSOP. Considered as one of the top online players of all time, he has a total winnings amounting to $8.5 million. Online poker sites like partypoker.fr, is known to have hosted poker tournaments worldwide. Thanks to the availability and ease of online gaming sites like partypoker.fr/tournaments.html, playing poker has never been so convenient. Partypoker simply offers the best online poker experience, and they provide the biggest rooms with tremendous player action, anytime of the day. Collectibles like playing cards, t shirts and jackets are clear indication that the Patriots are one of the most followed NFL teams in France.

The New England Patriots may have missed their chance to play in this year’s Super Bowl, but it certainly won’t stop them from trying to capture their 4th world championship. They will have plenty of time to think about what went wrong on the just concluded season, and an off season vacation to a country like France may do some of the players well. The Pats have a huge following in France, and spending time in the company of fans who adore them will definitely boost the spirits of the team. Other athletes have done this type of “recharging” in the past, taking themselves away from the game for the mean time, energizing themselves for the next season that is to come.

Mike Downs 2/22/2013 12:30:00 AM Edit

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