Sunday, I made my annual pilgrimage to mecca for New England football fans: Gillette Stadium in lovely Foxborough, MA. Unlike our links guru, Marima, most of us live more than a stone's throw from this place of football worship. In my case, about an hour and 30 minutes. That's a little closer than Comedic.Sans, but far enough to make it a micro roadtrip.
We arrived in Parking Lot 11 at 10:20. The grill was lit and beverages flowing by 10:25. Samuel Adams Octoberfest came out last month and I have to say I am addicted. Grilled shrimp, wings, and steak tips completed the menu and were happily consumed. One of the funniest moments was two State Troopers checking out "our row" for any malcontents. They stopped behind a couple in their 60's, replete with checkered table cloth, cheese, and wine and asked, "Where's the polo match?" Ours was not the row to worry about. I believe we could've dubbed it, "Midlife Crisis Row" and no one would've made a stink. Why, when I was a young lad...
Around noon, we began the 30 minute walk into the temple. Heading in at the Dana Farber Field House side, we realized our seats were closer to the front entrance, by the lighthouse. Instead of traversing the stadium from the inside, a quick jaunt on the outside and we headed to our section - 340. Let's just say it's rather high up; thank goodness there was a beer vendor close by because I was both thirsty and dizzy. If you've ever walked those ramps for any length of time, you'd know what I meant.
I won't go over the game in great depth as your fine writers have taken care of that. I'm more interested in reporting on the fan experience. Interestingly enough, when the Bills' offense was on the field, it was louder than I recall it ever being. A sign that us New England fans are making more noise - a good thing. At least twice, Fitzpatrick had to call a timeout due to noise.
Midway through the third quarter, the sun was totally blocked by cloud cover, my only hope for warmth. I decided to shiver rather than give Mr. Kraft $55 for a sweatshirt. Many others, including my stadium mate, did not agree and whipped out the plastic. I'm sure the Pro Shop sales on sweatshirts were fantastic for the last half.
The general feeling amongst the fans present was, "How the hell did Buffalo drop 30 points on us?" Simple: really bad defense. There were a number of bright spots, but nothing cohesive. Every achievement seemed "individual", not that of the entire D. I hate the term "Building Year", but that's what I was thinking about this rag tag, young defense. I found myself shouting, "Where's Romeo?" Maybe even HE couldn't make this work. I'm afraid a better team, like the Jets or Indy, has and will eat our lunch.
All for now. Sleep tight Patriots.