The 44-year-old actor spent years trying to mask his thick Boston accent on movie sets, but his passion for the New England Patriots runs deep, much to his wife's chagrin.
DAN PATRICK:How tough is it to not use your accent in movies?
MARK WAHLBERG: It takes a lot longer to get rid of the Boston accent than it does to figure out other accents. I remember it reminding people of nails on a chalkboard, so I used to work as hard as I could to lose the accent.
DP:Your accent in The Departed? That was real life, like a home game for you.
MW: That was me imitating my muuthaa. It was funny, because while filming, Matt Damon and I would look at each other and say our real Boston accents are going to seem bad because everyone else's are just in and out.
DP:Where did you watch the Patriots-Dolphins game on Thursday?
MW: In a movie theater with my wife, Rhea. Thursday night is our date night, so I was watching it on the phone during the movie. She kept trying to snatch the phone, so I finally said, "This movie is not good. Let's go." So we walked out, and I was able to get home for the second half. These guys simply cannot play on Thursdays. That is my one date night.
DP:[Tom] Brady getting better at this age is surprising.
MW: He's done a good job of taking care of himself. He continues to work on the fundamentals to get better, and he's not running the ball too much, risking injury. The defense also looks spectacular.
DP:How tense are you when you watch a game?
MW: Oh, my God! I can't eat. It's so bad now because my son Michael [nine] is playing football, and they just lost their first game in overtime. Same reaction. I kept thinking, this is only supposed to happen when the Patriots are on. My son was upset. I pace and get uncomfortable. I kicked my daughter out of my office last week when they were playing the Jets because that was a bit of a dogfight.
DP:What if one of your kids came home and said, "You know, Dad, I like the Jets."
MW: My youngest son's [seven-year-old Brendan's] first basketball team was called the Knicks. This was out here in L.A. So he is a die-hard New York Knicks fan, a Yankees fan, and he wears an A-ROD shirt, while Michael has a BIG PAPI shirt. But the one [football team] Brendan likes is the Patriots. He doesn't like the Jets or the Giants, which is fine with me.
DP:Any of the kids wearing Patriots gear for Halloween?
MW: No, but my daughter Ella  is a cheerleader at school, and my wife recently got her a Patriots cheerleading uniform. So my son sees it and says, "That's the only outfit that you've worn in your entire life that I've ever liked."
Newly hired Marlins manager Don Mattingly told me that the $300 million roster of his former team—the Dodgers—did not earn its keep this season. "You're paying guys for what they've done in the past," Mattingly said. "There are holes and areas where the club could be much better." ... Former Cowboys quarterback and current Fox analyst Troy Aikman hasn't given up on 2--5 Dallas: "Had [Tony Romo] not gotten injured, they would have a stranglehold on [this division]. I still think they'll be a factor at the end of the year." ... USC interim coach Clay Helton stuck up for Steve Sarkisian, despite his predecessor's firing on Oct. 12. "Coach Sarkisian is going to be back one day," Helton said. "He's good in football and good for kids' lives."
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (PATRICK)
ALLEN BEREZOVSKY/GETTY IMAGES (MATTINGLY)
ALLEN BEREZOVSKY/WIREIMAGE/GETTY IMAGES (AIKMAN)
RICHARD HARTOG/AP (HELTON)