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BOSTON (CBS) – The first practice is out-of-the-way for the New England Patriots, and so are most of the little things that go with playing in the Super Bowl.
Most important, off the football field that is, is taking care of all the ticket requests.
“I’ve gotten everything done, so that’s all out-of-the-way and I can just focus on the Giants,” defensive back Sterling Moore said from the Pats locker room on Thursday.
“I’m bringing mom and dad and a few close friends of mine,” said punter Zoltan Mesko.
“I just let my wife handle it,” veteran defensive end Shaun Ellis said with a chuckle. “That was the easy way to do it. It definitely got wrapped up, so that’s out of the way.”
But that isn’t the only veteran advice the Patriots are giving to the younger players. And when it comes to Super Bowl experience, no one is better to ask than Tom Brady.
“What a lot of the veterans have tried to do is set an example by doing the right thing,” said Brady, who is heading to his fifth Super Bowl. “It’s not so much, ‘Hey this is the way it’s going to be,’ it’s ‘Look, we’re going to work hard, it’s a football game for us, it might be the Super Bowl for everybody else but for us we’re going there to try to win a football so put all the distractions aside and don’t let anything get in the way of our preparation.’ That’s ultimately what is most important. This game, everyone will remember for their rest of their life. Hopefully it’s a good memory.”
“You just have to focus and understand what the priority is; the priority is this game and the result of it,” said receiver Wes Welker. “Everything has to go into that, and put everything else away until the game is over.”
Patriot Practice: Gronk DNP, 12 Limited
While most of the players have finished their ticket duties, a few are still looking to give some away. Offensive lineman Matt Light and tight end Rob Gronkowski are both raffling off tickets through NetRaffle.org. Light is doing so to benefit his foundation, The Matt Light Foundation, with Gronkowski donating the proceeds to a former Patriot’s charity, The Heath Evans Foundation.
Matt Light On Tickets, Raffle
Gronkowski’s entry deadline is Wednesday, with Light’s ending on Thursday. Light said he wants to raise $250,000 in five days.
But if fans can’t make it to the big game, they can at least send the Patriots off to Indy. The Patriots will host a Super Bowl Send-off on Sunday, with the Gillette gates opening at 10am.
While the Pats admit the fans can be tough sometimes, they want them to know their support means everything.
“I wouldn’t trade them; I wouldn’t trade them for nothing,” nose tackle Vince Wilfork said Thursday. “To come here, to have a home playoff game with the Denver Broncos, it probably was the loudest I’ve heard the stadium. And then to come back last week against the Ravens once again, it’s a great feeling. As much as we do want to get on the field, trust me, when we’re on the sideline or we’re on the field and we hear those fans, that gets us going. That makes us want to play because we don’t want to let them down. Not just letting ourselves and the coaches and your family down, we don’t want to let our fans down too. I want them to understand that, that we hear them and love them to death. Hopefully they can send us off with some good luck and hopefully we can bring back something special.”
Tune in to Super Bowl XLVI on 98.5 The Sports Hub on February 5, the only place you can hear the local call of the game!