Patriots vs. Saints

Monday, November 06th 2023

Just like many other international students, I have a list of different activities that I would like to experience during my two-year stay in the United States. Among other things, there is one basketball, ice hockey, baseball, and football game on my list. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to attend one of those games four weeks ago and was able to check it off my to-do list. I attended my first live NFL game. Sadly, I haven’t been able to remember the rules since high school and therefore I needed some basic explanation.

Since the game started at 1 p.m., we already made our way to Gillette Stadium shortly before 11 a.m. Due to the somewhat heavier traffic, it also took us a full hour to arrive at our destination. Despite the free parking, which is included in the ticket, there are several other options as well. In addition to dedicated parking for seasonal pass holders, there are other paid parking options that are a little closer to the highway and promise a faster trip back home. However, I found the “Be Paid to Park” concept most interesting. Here, you get a $50 Visa voucher if you’re willing to wait 75 minutes after the game is over and leave the parking lot afterward.

During our drive to the parking lot, I could see that the football fans did not disappoint me. They already had several barbecues in front of the stadium and prepared themselves for the upcoming game. It was exactly as you would have expected it to be! In addition, they threw the football toward each other or played cornhole.

After we had managed to work our way up to the entrance of the stadium, I bought a cap from the fan store as a small souvenir so that I wouldn’t stand out too much. Equipped with my new accessory, we then made our way up the stands to our seats. Although we were sitting more or less at the top, our seats were at the same level as the center line. This had the advantage that we could see everything surprisingly well. By now, the cap was already paying off, because the sun was shining and also partly dazzling us. But I don’t want to complain about that, because every other weather would have made the visit unpleasant since the stadium is unroofed. So rain would have been very bad.

As soon as we took our seats, the cheerleaders arrived and the program began. Next to the cheerleaders, the last players warmed themselves up, the national hymn was performed by a young girl, and the charity work of the club was celebrated.

For me, the game was very interesting, as I had not seen one before. But generally, it was rather boring, for everyone else. In the end, the Patriots lost with 0:34 against the New Orleans Saints. Because of that, I didn’t get to see the crowd freaking out when the home team scored a touchdown. Nevertheless, it was a very nice and exciting experience that I wouldn’t want to miss.

When the game was over, we made our way back to the car and were invited to join several barbecues. For many fans, the game visit is the highlight of the year and is celebrated accordingly. The festive activities go far beyond the actual game. But even here it was noticeable that the Patriots lost. Many fans left during the 4th quarter or even before that and were not in a celebration mood either. 

On the other hand, this had the advantage that the traffic jam on the way back eased a little bit, but only a bit. When we finally got in the car, we had no other choice but to join the rest of the cars and head back to Boston.

It was a very exciting experience and only would have been surpassed by a victory and the corresponding atmosphere. Maybe this will happen next year or next season.

Gillette Stadium 40 minutes south of Boston

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