Only on 10: Patriots mascot reveals identity

When the Patriots run onto the field Super Bowl Sunday, they'll be led not by star quarterback Tom Brady, but by a 48-year old-building contractor.

Nearly everyone in New England has seen Pat Patriot, the team’s mascot.

But his true identity has remained anonymous -- until now.

New Bedford's Adam Visbaras is the man behind the mask.

“As you now know, you are the first one in the seven or eight years that I’ve been doing this to get this interview,” Visbaras told NBC10 News Friday.

Visbaras got the job by being at the right place at the right time.

In fact, he was front and center for perhaps the most famous game in Patriots history.

In 2002, he was working the playoffs as a replay assistant. He handed the headset to referee Walt Coleman, who would then make one of the most controversial calls in football history.

“That was my first big break…and I’ve been part of it since then,” Visbaras said.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

He parlayed that job into an interview, and got the gig.

Now in his eighth full season, he's done it all, including zip-lining at the Super Bowl, slam dunking a basketball at a Celtics game, appearing in advertisements, and a whole bunch of weddings.

But believe it or not, the most memorable moments, have also been the hardest. He admitted that there have been tears beneath the suit when visiting sick children, some of whom were battling fatal illnesses.

“It’s very powerful sometimes and very rewarding,” Visbaras said.

When Visbaras leads the Patriots onto the field next weekend, he'll surely think of those children, along with every other face he brings a smile to. His job: literally a joke. But the opportunity of a lifetime.

“It’s just been great,” he said.

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