‘Drive for 5’ cross-country bus mission: spread Patriots good news

(Rosie Woods, WPRI-TV)

FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — As the New England Patriots try to push for a fifth Super Bowl win, a unique cast of characters are making their way down to NRG Field in Houston, now through the weekend — to rally Pats fans, appeal to Pats detractors, and meet people, according to team officials.

A custom-designed coach bus, dubbed the “Drive for 5” bus, set out from Gillette Stadium Wednesday morning, carrying a Patriots “content team” and sports radio announcers Rob (“Hardy”) Poole from the Zolak and Bertrand Show and “Big Jim” Murray from the Felger and Mazz Show on WBZ-FM, 98.5 The Sports Hub.

“The plan is to make as many stops as we can,” said Poole.

The bus journey will span 16 states en route to Texas, visiting with alumni, VIPs, fans, fan clubs — and complete strangers.

“We’ve got this perception that this team is hated — people hate us ’cause they ain’t us! — but there’s a lot of Patriots fans out there!” said Poole.

Scheduled stops include NFL headquarters in New York City, Rutgers University, fan clubs based in Raleigh, N.C. and Atlanta — “believe it or not, the reaction in Atlanta might be a little mixed,” said Poole — since the Patriots are facing the Atlanta Falcons in this year’s big game.

“From there we are going to head across the South. The Patriots have lots of connections through Alabama, Louisiana; we’re gonna stop in New Orleans… and eventually make it to Houston,” said Poole.

That “eventually” is expected to be Sunday, January 29; one week before Super Bowl LI.

The bus riders will be sharing what they see and do on social media at the hashtag #Drivefor5Bus — including on Twitter and Instagram.