OTH NFL Fans Special Edition: Pete the Penguin


This week on a special edition of OTH NFL Fans, we meet up with our own Steve Reisner.

Steve, who is the host of the Slightly Biased podcast, shares with us one of the greatest NFL stories a fan can share.

First, we provide a quick intro on Steve:

Born and raised in Boston, Steve’s been a Patriots fan since he was born, his first game was at Shaefer Stadium, not Gillette.

“I’m no bandwagon fan, I’m one of the few fans who thought Bledsoe should have kept the job!”

He became a podcaster for OTH, as he didn’t have time to be a writer.

For that reason, he provided me with the opportunity to share with all of you the story of Pete the Penguin.

Who is Pete the Penguin?

The story begins in the early 2000s in West Roxbury, Massachusetts.

Newbury Comics was closing down, and Steve’s father decided to go to the closeout sale.

There he made what turned out to be a legendary purchase, a two-foot-tall plastic penguin.

Let it be known, that the reason for that purchase has never been made clear.

Back to our story,

Steve’s father was a Patriots season ticket holder and he decided to start bringing with him to tailgate at games.

There, he decided to give it a name: Pete the Penguin!

In 2001, Steve’s father attended the Snow Bowl game (AFC Divisional game between Patriots and Raiders).

He decided to bring Pete with him to the game because he would be a perfect fit with the weather.

There, they made him a seat out of snow and immediately became a fan favorite.

That day, there was magic in the air, and Steve’s father noticed that Pete could be good luck.

Therefore, he decided to start bringing Pete to every single home game, and the legend was born.

The Legend of Pete the Penguin

After Steve’s father started bringing him to home games, the Patriots did not lose a single one.

Not until 2008, when Matt Cassell had to step in at QB.

That is every game from the home winning streak from 2003-2004, counting both Superbowl games.

But it was really the Superbowl in 2003 at Houston, where the legend of Pete the Penguin began.

 I’ll let Steve tell this part with his own words:

“My father and his two friends, Scotty The Maineiac (a guy from Maine) and Geno had an idea.

They decided to purchase Pete his own seat on the plane and bring him with them to Houston.”

Pete was sitting next to Geno when the stewardess asked Geno if he needed anything.”

He said, “No I’m fine, but my friend Pete here is very offended you didn’t ask him and he’d really love some peanuts”. 

The stewardess went and told the pilot about them.

A couple of minutes later, they were allowed into the cockpit of the plane!

This was two years after 9/11, with airplane security at an all-time high, so the pilot could meet Pete!

Once in Houston, they were walking through the street in their Patriots jerseys, picture this:

My father, a massive bald man covered in tattoos carrying a plastic Penguin in a Vinatieri Jersey.

Suddenly, the Jay Leno Jaywalking crew decided to stop and interview them.

By the way, they asked my father a bunch of naming the president questions, and he got them all hilariously wrong.

That episode aired on September 24th, 2003.

For that reason, they invited Pete, and my father, to the Jay Leno show.

Pete the Penguin on Jay Leno and the DNC

“A few months later, Leno Studios called my house and asked to have them back on, for the Battle of The Jay Walk All-Stars.

They flew my parents and Pete to L.A And got them a room for the weekend. 

It was a sort of game show thing Jay did on his show, a two-night event, so it marked Pete’s third appearance on National Television.”

That episode aired on May 03, 2004.

Months after that, Pete and Steve’s father appeared on the DNC with Noah McCullough.

“Leno is from Mass, so he called my house personally, asked for my father,

(he’s a Local Union Democrat)

To host it for him, live from Boston, with Pete. 

My father had to enter the Screen Actors Guild to do so, ended up interviewing Al Sharpton on live TV, with a Penguin!”

V.I.P. Pass for Pete

A few years later, around 2006, the Patriots were still undefeated with Pete in attendance.

Steve’s entire family went to a Sunday Night game at Gillette against Manning and the Colts.

“I was carrying Pete with me, and suddenly the security guard stopped me.”

“He determined Pete to be a dangerous weapon, and did not allow him to come in!”

Needless to say, the Patriots lost that game.

The next morning, Steve’s mom sent out a strongly worded e-mail to the Patriots from the office.

A few days later, they received a call from the offices of Robert Kraft, requesting a meeting with Pete.

“They had Pete stay overnight at the stadium. After that, they called us back and said he was good to go.”

Pete received a lifetime pass to Gillette signed by Kraft and his head of security.


Pete the Penguin was retired from games the year Matt Cassel started at quarterback.

A loss against the Steelers was Pete’s first loss, so his incredible winning streak was gone.

He semi-retired for a few years after that.

However, in 2014, he made a brief appearance in a game against the Seahawks.

“We brought him for our second half to push us through to the end, and we did the same against Atlanta.”

After those two wins Pete The Penguin officially retired.

He now rests in a glass case in Steve’s garage, with his pass on a plaque underneath it.

The light above Pete’s head never goes off, ever! 

“It can’t be turned off, some might say it’s an eternal flame.”

I hope you enjoyed that legendary story, you can thank Steve Reisner on Twitter.

You can also buy a shirt from his show at the Overtime Heroics merchandise store, click here!

Thanks again for stopping by.

Please leave your comments/feedback below.

For past OTH NFL FANS click here

You can follow me on Twitter at @Dre2124. Follow Overtime Heroics at @OTHeroics1 and Instagram @othsports.  Join our forums for more great NFL and any sports discussion.


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