Super Bowl send-off rallies are nothing new to Patriots fans and these fans show up ready to go every time. This year was no different, with thousands of fans skipping work and school to be at Gillette Stadium to send their Minnesota-bound team off with a bang. The “No Days Off” motto clearly only applies to the team.
Fans came decked out in gear from seasons past and Super Bowls past, but I spotted a few who had already gotten their hands on some SBLII merchandise. Many wore GOAT masks and held up signs of encouragement for the team. Faces were painted, jerseys were on and the fans were ready to go. Some signs were elaborate, some had photos, some had messages to the team, but one of them was a simple piece cardboard that said “Tom is God” written in Sharpie, very to the point. Even the dogs in attendance dressed for the occasion.
MVP chants echoed throughout 1 Patriots Place as Tom Brady took the stage, and the crowd erupted when Brady literally dropped the mic, with his classic “LET’S GOOOOO”. Bill Belichick also took the microphone but, as expected, was not as enthusiastic as TB12. Maybe someone forgot to tell him he’s going to his eighth Super Bowl as Head Coach… but in classic Bill fashion he was calm, cool and collected and said very, very little.
Some fans arrived as early as 3:30 am (3:30 am!!!!!) and the ceremony started around 9 am. There was a live band before the ceremony began and lots of photo opportunities for fans, but the biggest attraction may have been the giant “Not Done” cake complete with five Lombardi trophies.
The players took turns talking and hyping up fans, thanking them for coming and reminding them that their goal is not yet complete. The team bus then left Gillette with fans lined up to catch a final glimpse of the Super Bowl bound players. Some lucky fans will follow shortly behind and head to Minnesota to catch the big game live, while others will be rooting on the team from home. It is sure to be a great game, no matter where you will be watching it from.
Oh, and the last Patriots Super Bowl send-off I went to? That was held IN Gillette Stadium. It was 2011. Wes Welker wore red pants. Brady “only” had three rings.