FOXBORO (CBS) — Thousands of New England Patriots fans came to Gillette Stadium Monday morning to send off the AFC Champions to Super Bowl LI in style.
The rally started around 9 a.m. outside The Hall at Patriot Place, but many fans showed up hours earlier to cheer on the team in person one last time before they headed to Houston to face the Atlanta Falcons.
Dozens braved the frigid temperatures before sunrise to get prime viewing spots. WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe asked one fan, Kate from Danvers, what got her out of bed on a Monday morning to come stand out in the cold for hours.
“A passionate love for the New England Patriots!” she said.
Many came with home-made signs, reading things like “One more,” “Belichick for president,” and “In Tom we trust.”
“I’m telling you, with my age, everything counts,” one woman told WBZ-TV’s Paul Burton. “But this is the best!”
Thirteen-year-old Kayla skipped school to attend the rally.
“Everybody, from far, from near, everybody from all around, no matter what race, no matter what gender, we all come together for the Patriots because that’s our team! Let’s go Pats!” she said.
Speakers included team owner Robert Kraft, head coach Bill Belichick, and team captain Matthew Slater, and, of course, Tom Brady.
Brady told fans to rest up, hydrate and put all distractions away in the week leading up to the big game.
Kraft called Brady a player that changed the game.
“You are the greatest fans in the world,” Kraft told the crowd. “And now you have the privilege of rooting for the greatest players that anyone could ever have on any team, and rooting for the GOAT, Tom Brady!”
The rally ended with the team boarding buses to Logan Airport for their flight to Houston. They’re expected to arrive there around 3 p.m. local time.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports