By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
FOXBORO (CBS) — Patriots fans made their voices heard Thursday night.
Fans who were eager to boo to their heart’s content were finally greeted with the sight of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on the field at Gillette Stadium. Though, it probably wasn’t quite the moment they pictured.
Goodell stepped onto the field for about 12 minutes, roughly an hour before kickoff between the Patriots and Chiefs. As such, the stadium was not nearly at capacity; a reasonable estimate would say the stadium was between 35 and 40 percent filled.
But, WBZ-TV’s Steve Burton caught up with him briefly afterwards.
“These fans are passionate, they’re loyal, they love the game and I totally get their reaction, so it’s fun to be here and it’s the kickoff to the season.” Goodell said.
Burton asked him if he put the boos “out of his mind.”
“Yeah, that’s what fans want to do. They’re loyal to their team. I totally get that,” the commissioner told WBZ.
The boos were notable, if not deafening, and they were enough to draw the interest of the on-field broadcast crew.
The fans, obviously, have been antsy to see the commissioner at Gillette ever since the two-year-long DeflateGate saga began. Goodell did appear during the preseason this summer, though the appearance had not been publicized ahead of time. This one, however, had been known about for several months.
As a result, the website Barstool Sports handed out 70,000 towels depicting the commissioner wearing a clown nose prior to the game. Shirts showing that logo were seen behind Goodell:
And in an interesting twist, Goodell remained in the corner of the end zone where Tom Brady runs for his pregame pump-up with fans. The two were close to each other as Brady ran to the end zone, but as you might expect, there was no on-field interaction.
Prior to the preseason trip this August, Goodell hadn’t been at Gillette Stadium since the 2014 Patriots divisional round playoff game against the Ravens. Last year in the postseason, Goodell attended two consecutive games in Atlanta instead of going to Foxboro.