The New England Patriots begin yet another campaign as defending Super Bowl champs on Thursday night when the NFL season kicks off in Foxborough. I don’t need to tell you about the teams' remarkable run in recent years: Eight straight division titles, five Super Bowls since 2000 – led by their age-defying quarterback and their wizard-strategist head coach in a Jedi-like hoodie.
If it seems that the Pats are possessed of some sort of magic, maybe it’s because they are.
"It's been fun," said John Logan, who is – believe it or not – the Patriots' team magician (If that's not a curiosity, I don’t know what is.) So how on earth does one become a magician for an NFL team?
Last year, Logan was a recent Bryant University grad, when he landed a multimedia job with the team in their digital department. The Patriots, renowned for their attention to detail and pursuit of every possible competitive advantage, perhaps spotted one on Logan’s resume.
"They said, wait, you’re a magician?" explained Logan. "I said, yeah, I’ve been doing magic for 10-12 years. And they were like, let’s take advantage of this."
Watch John Logan dazzle the WGBH Newsroom
Always into tinkering, creating and problem solving as a kid, Logan developed his first trick at the tender age of 12. He was bored – the only kid at his aunt’s birthday party – fiddling around with a coin and a coffee mug.
"And I was like wait, if you do it this way the coin can actually travel right through the solid coffee mug. You could hear it go through. Wait, this could actually develop into a magic trick."
Logan posted a video of his trick on YouTube, which caught the eye of a talent agency whose reps couldn’t work out how he had done it. And so, they reached out.
"I signed a contract with them when I was 12 years old...and it blew up from there," said Logan. "I was their youngest creative consultant."
Over the years, he invented countless new illusions, studied the classic tricks of his trade, and developed his unique voice as a magician.
"It's not bunny in a hat or streamers or anything like that," he said. "I think magic is taking ordinary things and doing extraordinary things with [them]. It’s connecting with people, using borrowed objects, doing things with phones and cards and rings and mind reading and predictions."
His duties as the Pats' team magician began with a series of video shorts for the team’s website, where he would perform tricks, one-on-one, for Patriots players. But his day-to-day also regularly brought him into the locker room, where word began to spread among the players of Logan’s not-so-hidden talent. Before he knew it he was being asked by players left-and-right to show off his magical stuff.
He’s astounded everyone from Safety Devin McCourty to Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. He and wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell developed a two-man act and took it on the road this summer. Heck, Tom Brady even name-checked him at a press conference.
But it’s not just fun and games. Logan is a magician on mission – with a message.
"I use magic not as a way to trick people, to fool them or embarrass them," said Logan. "It’s really the bridge to the overall message: “Impossible is just a word,”and trying to inspire and motivate people to achieve things."
You can see why his mantra, “Impossible is just a word,” would resonate inside an NFL locker room. He’s spread that message from the stage as a feature speaker, and on the page as the author of two books about how the principles of magic can be harnessed, to great effect, by anyone.
"That message, that mentality, can be applied in any situation in your life: Romantic relationship, it can be business, it can be education," said Logan. "If you just have that mindset, than anything can be achieved."
Even playing quarterback at a high level in the NFL at the age of 40?
"Think about it. Tom Brady is the epitome of 'impossible is just a word.'”
And if Logan hasn’t convinced you yet, consider the last time the Patriots took the field for a game that counted, down 28-3 midway through the third quarter on football’s biggest stage.
"The same year the Patriots hire a team magician whose phrase is “impossible is just a word,” they end up coming back from an impossible situation during Super Bowl LI," said a smiling Logan. "I’ll allow you to decide if I had anything to do with that."
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