After a week of un-Florida weather, Sunday's is magnificent. With temps in the mid-60s, conditions couldn't be better for a football game. A little windy but it shouldn't be too much of a factor.
We headed over to Alltel Stadium around 11am. There was absolutely no traffic to speak of and we breezed through security and into the stadium. I have to mention the x-ray device that was being used. The images were actually in color and the color depended on what each item was made from. It was so detailed I could actually make out each item in my computer bag. It was pretty cool.
From the ride in and once fans began filling the seats at 2pm, it was clear that the Eagles fans were outnumbering Patriots fans at lreast four to one. I think even though the tickets are distributed to each team equally, once they made it to the street, Philly fans made more of an effort to grab them. Good thing they don't represent the attitude of the teams about to play because they are definitely the hungrier bunch.
Tedy Bruschi was one of the first Patriots to come out on the field prior to the official warm-ups. He brought his two little kids, Rex and Tedy, Jr. If there's one guy who is enjoying everything about this ride it's Bruschi. He is Mr. Football. He loves this game almost as much as he loves his family and that seems like a lot.
Both Richard Seymour and Terrell Owens are playing. I really think Philly's chances depend on how much a factor Owens can be. Without him, the Patriots defense can turn Philly one-dimensional.
On the other hand, if Seymour is up close to 90 percent or better, he can be a huge contributor in bottling up McNabb, a key to the Patriots winning.
I went to the WBCN booth to do a segment around 5:00. Just then, Tom Brady ran out on the field to a chorus of boos. Eventually, Patriots fans realized what was going on and tried to balance the boos with cheers but it was too late -- the Philly fans won the first show of partisanship.
My prediction on 'BCN, 34-17, Pats.
Around 5:30, preparation began on field for the pre-game show. It's amazing how portable they can make these elaborate stagings. Still, if I'm the guy who's been responsible for getting the field to look so good, I have to cringe every time they drag this stuff out.
By 5:45 the field is ready for the show and Charlie Daniels and the Black Eyed Peas perform followed by the Florida A&M marching Band. Alicia Keyes sang America the Beautiful and by 6:15 the field was cleared for football. A crew of workers in blue sweatsuits ran onto the field to pick up debris from the show and the crowd awaited the introduction of the Patriots, coming out first as the away team.
Both teams enter the field through the same tunnel. A big blow-up leather football helmet acts as the portal. Once again, Philly gets the bigger fan reaction. Neither team brings its players out one by one. That tradition was destroyed by the Patriots in 2001. That's just one of the many pomp and circumstances traditions this team is smashing.
One tradition no one will ever be able to destroy is our National Anthem. After a tribute to veternas of World War II, a chorus of men and women from all branches of our military sang. It was chilling.
Got to get ready for game time.