By Clay Beyersdorfer
FOXBOROUGH, MASS. - Quarterback Bailey Zappe lost his first game as the newest quarterback for the New England Patriots on Sunday, falling to the Green Bay Packers in overtime before going on to bomb his magic act audition for Foxborough’s annual community talent show.
The loss is the latest crushing blow to a fledgling Patriots team that also saw backup quarterback Brian Hoyer leave with a head injury - this just a week after starter Mac Jones suffered a severe ankle sprain in last week’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
“I’m just distraught I wasn’t able to get the job done,” Hoyer said after his auditions Sunday night. “Nothing will ever compare to this feeling; I don’t think I will ever have a worse day in my life.”
Zappe is relatively new to both the NFL and mystic arts, only becoming familiar with each of them last year for the first time.
“When you’re mainly a practice player, you have to find ways to stay engaged on the sidelines while keeping your teammates motivated,” he said. “It started last year with my first trick, the disappearing Gatorade cup, and people seemed to like it. That’s when I thought ‘I could maybe do something with this.’ Let’s just say it’s not been an easy road to becoming an NFL starter AND world class magician.”
With the loss, the Patriots move to 1-3, injecting a dose of panic into Patriots fans who have long grown accustomed to playoff runs and Super Bowl banners.
Despite the panic, the only thing on Zappe’s mind this week will have to be preparing for his next audition.
“I can’t stop now, I have to stay focused and keep my eye on the ball,” Hoyer said. “And by that, I mean my deflating football trick. An older magician I met in New England a few years ago taught it to me, haven’t seen him much lately though. Somebody told me there was a rumor he had moved to Tampa Bay, but I never followed up on that.”
Despite Zappe’s inability to nail his auditions, several other Patriots were selected for the annual event, joining Bill Bellichek, whose mime routine “killed,” and running back Damien Harris, who gave his own rendition of “Sweet Home Alabama.”
Zappe also shared that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell gave a “convincing” performance as a carnival clown.
“Not sure anybody had a better Sunday than that guy,” he added.
The Patriots will welcome the Detroit Lions next week, where Zappe hopes to right the ship and make Patriots fans “believe in the impossible.”