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NFL hosts 2017 Kickoff Concert in Boston

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Photo by Josh Reynolds/AP Images for NFL

The Patriots don't take the field until Thursday night in Foxborough, but the celebrations started long before the game, beginning with a concert in Boston hosted by the NFL. 

The 2017 NFL Kickoff Concert took place in Christopher Columbus Park in downtown Boston, where Patriots fans gathered to celebrate the start of football and for a chance to win prizes, including tickets to Thursday night's game and to Super Bowl LII. 

Boston's own Guster headlined the show, and former Patriots Rodney Harrison, Willie McGinest and Dan Koppen made appearances to talk about their careers, the team's Super Bowl LI comeback and playing for Coach Bill Belichick.

Before Guster took the stage, a video recap of the Super Bowl played, and Willie said being mentally tough is what allowed the Patriots to execute the comeback. 

"When you hear Bill Belichick always talk about how he wants mentally tough guys that's what mentally tough is, when you can go in after being down and make adjustments and forget about it," he said. "It's a brand new game. We all had doubts, but the players in that locker room, from talking to those guys and the coaches, they always figured that they had an opportunity. It was more about what they weren't doing than what Atlanta was doing."   

While there may have been doubt from those outside of the locker room, Thursday is a night to celebrate what happens when a team works together to overcome the odds. Dan said that nights like this are hard to put into words. 

"There's a lot of unknowns going into [a home opener]. It's about how you play and how you prepare, but what's special about this one is the banner. You get to see the Super Bowl banner go down, which is really cool, but the best part about opening day, or really any game, is running out and hearing these fans scream," Dan said. "I mean it. There's unknowns about the game but the one given is that you're going to run out at Gillette Stadium and you're going to hear everybody cheering for you, which fires you up." 

Rodney echoed this when he took a moment to show appreciation to Patriots fans. 

"This is something that we as players we don't really get the opportunity just to thank the fans. For you guys to come and support us in all this terrible weather, which we felt we had an advantage, I just wanted to take this opportunity to just say thank you," Rodney said. "And also thank you for your patience because as players, as men, as husbands, we make mistakes, and you guys have always stood by us and supported us and we really appreciate that."

This celebration of Patriots Nation was only the beginning. With the Super Bowl LI banner dropping Thursday night, there will certainly be more moments like this.  

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