What to Know
- About 35,000 Patriots fans attended the rally Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
- Players past and present, including quarterback Tom Brady and team captains pumped up the crowd that came to support them.
- The team heads to Atlanta to prepare for Super Bowl LIII. A win would be Brady's sixth ring.
An estimated 35,000 Patriots fans descended on Gillette Stadium Sunday to send off their New England team to Atlanta for Super Bowl LIII.
Patriots players from past and present pumped up the crowd that braved the cold at Gillette Stadium. But above all, it was quarterback Tom Brady who most fans came to see - and the 41-year-old QB didn't disappoint.
"I can't thank you enough. We're excited. I hope you guys are excited. And... let's let them hear it all the way to Atlanta," Brady said. "We're still here! We're still here! We're still here! We're still here! We're still here!"
As the crowds cheered at the end of Brady's almost 3 minute talk, he tossed his mic and the team made their way to the buses, which were heading to the airport in Providence and then a flight to Atlanta to prepare for the Super Bowl
The rally drew fans from across New England, who were treated to live music and entertainment, including Blue Man Group, a cheerleader dance performance and giveaways for fans, which included Super Bowl tickets.
Patriots Radio Network and 98.5 The Sports Hub play-by-play broadcaster Bob Socci and color analyst Scott Zolak spoke to the crowd with analysis of the Super Bowl LIII matchup. Patriots team captains also spoke. Patriots owner Robert Kraft and his son, Patriots President Jonathan Kraft, addressed the crowd, followed by Coach Bill Bellichick.
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"Thanks so much for coming out today. This is an awesome crowd. Just tremenedous," Bellichick said. "This is the biggest send off we've ever had."
Excited fans donned in Pats jerseys, hats, and more brought signs and an overbundance of excitement. The rally started at 10 a.m.
This is the third consecutive year that the Patriots have made a Super Bowl run and today marks the 17th anniversary that the Patriots dynasty began.
Former Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo worked the crowd: "It's another one! This is what it's all about - outside of this New England area they all hate the Patriots - they don't want to see us win."
Mayo then got the crowd chanting: "Beat L.A. Beat L.A. Beat L.A. Beat L.A. Beat L.A."
Fans were treated to an enormous cake from Montilio's Bakery. The cake, which was shaped like a football, feeds 5,000 to 6,000 people and was made from 80 sheet cakes. Whether fans got cake or not, just standing on the turf was thrill enough for some.
"We're happy to be here," said one fan from Rhode Island. "This is an amazing experience to be on the turf itself where the best NFL players play."
For Brady, another shot at a Super Bowl ring is also a thrill. With five rings, Brady has already established himself as the most-decorated quarterback in Super Bowl history. He now has a chance to distinguish himself among all players. A Super Bowl win over the Rams would give Brady a sixth ring, breaking a tie with Hall of Fame defensive end Charles Haley for the record.
"This is the place to be... This feels like a homegame," Brady told the crowd. "I know you guys are going to come out and enjoy next Sunday. You know we always play so well at home. We have to take this right here and take this to Atlanta with us."
Most of the fans today were confident that the Patriots would have another Super Bowl "W." If Tom Brady beats the Rams, it will be a full circle since he got his first Super Bowl win against the Rams nearly 17 years ago. Las Vegas bookies also favor the Pats, who have a 2.5-point advantage over the Rams, according to the latest odds.
"We gotta bring it. You guys gotta to bring it. And hopefully we can bring a trophy back home," Brady added.
By far, most fans at the stadium said they came there to see Tom Brady.
"It's been a great run," said one fan from Lakeville, Mass. "You never know when it's going to end so we want to take advantage of it when we can."
A Super Bowl win on Feb. 3 would further cement the region's reputation as a a City of Champions. It was just three months ago that the Red Sox took home a World Series trophy.
But all eyes are focused on Brady and the Pats.
The buses left Gillette Stadium just after noontime for T.F. Green Airport in Providence so the team can practice for the Super Bowl, which will be held at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Associated Press Wire Reports contributed to this story