I’ve never been to a Pro football game before. Watching them on TV I never got a feel for the real scale of things. I knew these guys were big and fast, but didn’t have a gut feel of how big or how fast. I knew the stadium could hold around 68,000 people, but didn’t really understand in a visceral sense how many people that is. Now I know the stadium is huge, yet even from the sky-high seats the Patriots are large enough to be seen clearly. But even more dramatic, I now understand how fast these guys are! Holy Smokes! They fly across that field.
I lucked out Friday night when I was surfing Ace Ticket and noticed front row seats had just been posted at a “reasonable” price (what is reasonable when you are talking about football tickets?) and I managed to snag them before anyone else gobbled them up.
Having never been to a game I didn’t know what to expect so I browsed around looking for advice. Everyone seemed to say you should leave two to three hours earlier than you think you need to leave due to the traffic. The parking lots open four hours before the game for tailgating and the place I was getting my tickets opens their tent four hours before the game as well, so I figured getting there too early wouldn’t be a problem. I decided to add to the usual travel time one hour for getting into the stadium, finding our seats, and getting any snacks or drinks or whatever, one hour for getting the tickets since I had no idea how long the line might be there, and one and a half hours for traffic. I didn’t expect any of that to take that long but figured we’d play it safe and spend any extra time tailgating.
Since it was raining in the morning and we weren’t playing a rival team attendance was pretty low. With that and the fact that we left so early, traffic turned out not to be a problem at all. In the end we spent a little over two hours hanging in the parking lot. But we had brought food, drinks, books, movies, and games for that time. It sprinkled on and off during that time so we hung out in the car and stayed dry. The rain stopped before we left the parking lot and the weather was beautiful for the rest of the day.
Getting into the stadium was a breeze. We approached security about an hour before kickoff and it took no time to get through and into the stadium. The three of us hiked up the ramps to the top so we could see what it would look like from the regular seats. It’s quite high up there, but it was still easy to see the individual players practicing on the field despite the distance. I think those seats would be entirely acceptable. Once we made it back down to our seats in the front row we were blown away by how close to the field we were. It was like we were sitting on the sideline with the players.
For much of the game there were kickers (punt or field goal) practicing in front of us, cheerleaders performing to the left or walking straight in front of us, the mascot coming by and fist bumping us, the offense or defence on the sidelines just to the right of us, and the camera truck passing back and forth. We even ended up on the big TV screens for a minute or so near the end of the third quarter. It felt like we were part of the game.
The Pats aren’t doing that well at the moment since they have so many new players in the starting lineup, so I picked the Tampa Bay game because I thought the Pats had a good chance of winning against them anyway and I wanted my kids to see a winning game. Sure enough, we won 23-3. It was a great game for the kids to see. We had an excellent day. My kids haven’t stopped talking about it and I’m sure it is something they are going to remember for years to come. I still remember when my uncle took me to see a Bruins game when I was a kid.