The team arrived in Houston around 3 PM on Day 2. The plane included not only the players and coaches but also all support staff and Patriots administrative personnel. This shipment of human beings will comprise everyone who will take care of the 1,200 or so guests who will get here on Thursday. It's a major movement of people who have paid good money to see their Patriots and they'll need to be taken care of. There's no downplaying how big a job it is and how important it is to get it right.
It helps having done it a few times.
Patriots players and coaches spoke during Super Bowl LI Opening Night at Minute Maid Park on Monday, Jan. 30, 2017 in Houston.
Of course the main event of the day was Opening Night, the NFL's new name for Media Day which is now at night. Confused? For decades, Media Day was held on Tuesday afternoon. Last year the NFL decided to make it a prime time TV event and moved it to Monday night, marking the first official media access to the two teams.
This year's proceedings went to the next level. With the Lombardi Trophy center stage, the captains and head coaches were introduced making the whole affair resemble some sort of heavyweight weigh-in. But instead of two guys glaring at each other, it was the two ever-cordial quarterbacks being interviewed by ESPN's Sal Paolantonio.
"Tom, you've been here before. What advice would you give Matt?"
Brady's answer was an aww shucks, "Matt doesn't need my advice..."
Opportunity lost! If I was him I would have said, "Well, first I'd say stay out as late as you can the night before the game. Have a few cocktails. Pull a Eugene Robinson. You know, that sort of thing."
Now that would be entertainment.
"Interviews with the two quarterbacks at the same time! Unprecedented in NFL history!" exclaimed Sal Pal when the arid conversation ended.
After that X Ambassadors performed a couple songs which as best as I can tell were from TV commercials.
Did I mention around 10,000 fans bought tickets at $30 a pop to sit in the stands with little radios and listen to the interviews?
The final act of the night was the Patriots session from 10-11 PM ET. Did you watch?
Give the league an A for effort but there is still some work to do to truly make this something the casual fan will watch.
Actually I lied, X Ambassadors came out after the Patriots but by then we were well on our way back to the team hotel and a good night's sleep before a big Day 3.