I make it a point to take in at least one game a year, making the trek to Mecca, aka: Foxborough, MA. I don’t think I could ever be a season ticket holder, not only due to the expense but the sheer amount of work it takes to get to a game. My hat is truly tipped to those who have the dedication.
This game was work. To give you an indication, we left Wakefield, MA at 4:00pm and arrived a little after 7:00pm; I could’ve flown to Palm Beach. ;-) Our expectation was 2 hours, putting us in Gillette Stadium proper around 6:00pm. That would’ve been plenty of time to find a place to eat among the plethora of eating establishments in the area. We’d originally targeted the CBS Scene for Cheeseburgers, Fries and an adult beverage, but more on that later. We first tried 128/95 South and quickly opened the escape hatch to 2A after sitting in traffic and seeing only RED on the GPS. Concord, Littleton, Bolton… we had a scenic tour of 117 while heading to 495 South.
As we watched the minutes tick away, thoughts of a sit down "dinner" morphed into "Whatever." 495 South traffic was sporadic, with spots of RED on the GPS clearing to green every so often. The closer we got to Exit 14A US-1 S, the more RED we saw. Getting to US-1 is a chore, but even more frustrating is when you sit on this road, knowing full well you’re within 5 miles of the stadium. It took about an hour to traverse the 5 miles to Lot 11 and our parking spot.
The 30 minute walk into the stadium put us at roughly 7:30pm, 1 hour before game time. We walked into CBS Scene, looked at the mob and walked out to the mall area where there were a number of eateries. Our first attempt, Five Guys Burgers, was a bust when we witnessed the line out the door. We then talked to the hostess at Tavolino Pizza Gourmet - no tables until game time. Sigh… We would "rough it" at one of the concession stands in the stadium.
Fries, a fried chicken sandwich and a Sam Oktoberfest for me, while my buddy went with a cheeseburger, more accurately labeled a hockey puck - serves us right for poor planning. It was at this moment – beer in hand, hanging with my friend – that all of the work, all of the effort to get to The Razor, washed away and I started to get caught up in the whole thing. We sat down in Section 143 for a few moments, watching warm ups and soaking it all in. Wow. Just… wow. Living only an hour north of the stadium, I’ve visited the area many times, but I still marvel at the sheer magnitude. If you’re a Patriots fan, there’s nothing better than sharing this experience with 60,000 of your closest friends.
We ascended to our little home away from home for the next 3 hours, Section 340. This ascent required a heart pumping journey on the "ramps of doom" - inclined, zig zagging walkways that led us pilgrims to our final destination. Section 340, aka: nosebleeds, is for the stout of heart and empty of pocket. No matter; I’m still "there". And the wind was thankfully "not windy".
I will save game analysis for the fine scribes of this site; they do a far better job than I could. I will say that the crowd was more animated than I’ve seen in many years. When the defense was on the field, the stadium was rocking with noise, Danny Woodhead serving as the Jumbotron Coach. Every great tackle or interception brought thunderous cheers. My personal favorite moment was Julian Edelman’s punt return but more so, his demeanor after the TD. He was right back on the field, doing his job. No time for stupid touchdown dances. There’s work to be done.
The trip home was uneventful if not confusing; I’m sure Massachusetts’ finest have a plan based on years of experience, but the labyrinthine, circuitous path these Troopers force the fleeing masses to take is maddening at times. I guess that’s what we get when the stadium is plopped down in the middle of nowhere (sorry Marima ;-)). My head hit the pillow around 1:30am; good thing these old bones have this week off.