On the only free day of a 14 day-bus tour, you take an opportunity of a lifetime. For some, that means doing something drastic, for others it's a simple visit to a place that means a great deal. On Monday, English Patriots fan Stephen Rowley took a much anticipated trip to Gillette.
Having never been to the East Coast, Stephen's family gifted him a 14-day bus tour that started in Toronto and made its way south to Washington D.C. With nothing planned after their first day in Boston, Stephen and his wife, Sally, decided to make their way to Foxborough to see his favorite NFL team's facilities.
What started as a day to check out Gillette Stadium, learn about team history at The Hall and do some browsing at the ProShop turned into a grander adventure for the Rowleys. While checking out the grounds at the stadium, Stephen and Sally were surprised to briefly meet Robert Kraft and talk Wimbledon and the London Series.
"It's a once in a lifetime opportunity," Stephen said.
Though Stephen and Sally live roughly 30 miles from London in a town called Luton, his Patriots fandom runs deep. He became a fan when the NFL began broadcasting in England in the 1980s. What started as a highlight reel spiraled into local channels vying for the rights to broadcast the games.
When the U.K. International Series began in 2007, Stephen jumped at the chance to watch live football in England, and he hasn't missed a game since.
"The international games are almost like a mini-Super Bowl," he said. "You see 32 different shirts all around the stadium."
Though New England won't be playing at Wembley Stadium in 2016, we know for certain that Stephen will be sporting his Sunday Patriots best.