And so it begins again. Super Bowl XXXIX and the Kirsch Kronicles IV.
And it began early, around 6:15 at Gillette Stadium. The enormous task of getting to Jacksonville and the previous Super Bowl sites since 9-11 is painstaking. By this morning all the personal information on every person traveling -- from Tom Brady to the writers of Patriots Football Weekly -- has been collected. Hotel rooms have been allocated, plane manifests created, credential lists completed. Now it's time to move.
That movement was made just a bit more complicated due to the send-off rally at the stadium. My guess it was the idea of Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts because it was his podium on the stage. It was yet another thing for Patriots security to worry about but it was a good idea for the fans. It gave a little structure to what in the past has been an informal gathering of the most hard-core fans who live in the vicinity and want to wish the team off.
]()In addition to Governor Romney, Robert Kraft and Boston Mayor Tom Menino was on hand along with John Hannah, Steve Grogan, Garin Veris and Pete Brock. They and the Patriots Cheerleaders eventually gave way to the entire team on stage.
I'd say around 5000 people showed up. Because of the need for the travel party to go through security screening, we actually saw the whole thing while we sat on our buses behind the stage but from what I could tell, it seemed like mission accomplished.
Smooth sailing to Jacksonville via Logan Airport. The business-like attitude the team showed all season continued on this trip. You just don't see guys mugging for the camera and carrying on like some other teams on their way to the Super Bowl. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure every one of them are on the edge of their seats but the focus is on why they're going, not simply on the fact they're going. It might sound like a little thing but it counts.
No matter what Bill Belichick or his players say, with so many guys having been here before, it has to help. They know what to expect from the media, family ticket and hotel requests, how to enjoy their free time -- really what the entire week has in store. It's an edge if it's used the right way and do we have any doubt the Patriots will?
]()The team hotel is a beautiful resort called World Golf Village. It's just what the name says, a village of hotels and bungalows surrounded by some of the plushest fairways in the country.
Once there, the job was setting up our office space, our home for the next week where we'll be pumping out everything you'll see on Patriots.com and putting together the next issue of Patriots Football Weekly.
A pretty good contingent of Patriots fans were on the hotel grounds to welcome the team and, apparently, Patriots Video News host and producer Brian Lowe. No sooner did the dashing anchor and his trusty camera appear than fans began yelling "PVN, it's PVN!" Check out tonight's show and see for yourself. It's great that people from all over watch the show but with his newly-realized fame, Lowe is making all kinds of demands. Daily facial and mud bath at 2 o'clock? I think not.
All told, it was an amazingly smooth trip. The Patriots team of people who have been quietly planning the logistics of the move since the Patriots beat Indy, had all the bases covered. Again, an edge for the organization and team in specific.
Tomorrow things start in earnest. The Patriots and Eagles will have full press conferences and we'll kick things off on Patriots.com Radio with PFW in Progress at noon.
Here we go.