For the first time in four years and probably only the second time in eight years, I made the trek out to Foxboro for a Patriots game. Even with past experiences cluttering my thoughts, I went in with an open mind. I was quickly reminded why I would much and I mean MUCH rather watch Patriots games on TV with Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf. Maybe it lessens my fanhood and dedication to a hometown team, but there are—at least according to me—some reasonable excuses to not attend Patriots games.
For all of you that are from the Boston area you very well know this, but for those who may be unfamiliar: Foxboro, Massachusetts is not close to the city. Yes, Gillette Stadium is only about an hour away, but the drive is along America’s busiest section of highway not located in Los Angeles and you better believe the traffic is always miserable (extra miserable on a Friday at 5 PM).
As I just mentioned, the traffic going down is miserable, but nothing compared to the parking lot that forms along Route 1 after the game ends. On Friday night it took us two and a half hours to drive—and I use that term loosely—two miles. I expired my iPod music to the point where “Rich as Fuck” came on. Trust me it provided a topic for an interesting conversation with my father. Heck, we were in the car so long that Bedtime Magic on 106.7 was over by the time we got home. Never in my life have I been a part of that.
Unlike the smaller scale Fenway Park or TD Garden, Gillette is massive. The elevator attendant in the suite section boasted that the stadium could hold “74,000 of our closest friends”. That’s great for Bob Kraft, but something about sitting in the last row just doesn’t do it for me.
Three hours and five layers of clothing in the first week of January for a Patriot-Dolphins game that means nothing and is merely a pre-season game? I did it once and never need to do it again. It’s fun to play in bad weather (except that one time during JV football where we played a mud bowl in Saugus and there were about six fake concussions because kids just did not want to be involved), but sitting around in the cold during games just doesn’t do it for me. The Patriot-Raider game of January 2002 is the only exception. Needless to say this reason was negated on Friday.
Even the first part of the process is difficult. Patriots games, out of the four major sports teams in Boston, are by far the most difficult to find affordable tickets to. Tickets in secondary markets are minimum triple digits and will reach the 300’s when Peyton Manning is in town. The best way to go is having season tickets or having some good connections.
Not only is it outrageously priced, but for some reason it is worse than your typical bad stadium food. Thankfully, the game we went to we were in a luxury box and were lucky enough to have filets wrapped in bacon, ribs, and decadent mac and cheese.
But just as any New England sports fan does, I fought through the distress and saw a football game that matters for absolutely nothing. Yes, the highlight of the night is a toss-up between the God-awful Tebow interception (pun intended) in the 4th quarter and the Tebow-led prayer at the conclusion of the game.