Fans, local businesses gear up for AFC championship game

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (WPRI) — Excitement is building in Foxborough, as the Patriots prepare to host the Jaguars in the AFC Championship game on Sunday.

If the Patriots win the AFC Championship game and head to Superbowl LII, it will also be a big win for one Pawtucket business.

Mirror Image Inc. began printing official Patriots gear for the 1996 NFL season. Since then, they have printed the teams official shirts for every win, manufacturing hundreds of thousands of shirts that are then distributed across the region.

“You can definitely feel the buzz in the air,” Manager of Mirror Image Aimee Derouen said. “There’s a lot of excitement, and I guess that adrenaline pumping knowing first of all your team won, and second of all, you’re producing shirts for them that you’re gonna see people wearing. It’s really neat.”

The license holder determines how many shirts they print, but we’re told one press at Mirror Image can do about 750 an hour.

“There’s no printing until they win, so we’re all listening to the game as we’re prepping, and of course you hear the roar of excitement. Once they win, which they have been, it’s spring into action. It’s nonstop movement until the last shirt is printed,” Derouen said.

Fans were inside the Patriots Pro Shop Friday gearing up for the game. Many fans said they were concerned about Tom Brady’s hand, especially since he is listed as questionable for Sunday after being a limited participant in practice Friday.

“This is not for show, this guy does not miss any time,” former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak said. “Obviously there is something there. The patriots are the number one seed, I don’t think they need to play games. I think this is, ‘Let’s make sure he’s right by Friday, if we can get him out there and function, give it another few days and buy some time and let’s see what happens Sunday at game time.'”

Zolak said the Jaguars have a chance against the Patriots, especially after how they played against the Steelers.

“If Bortles can play the way he did in Pittsburgh, yeah they have a chance,” Zolak said.