Here’s a photo taken on the opening night at Gillette Stadium back in 2002 and now nearly a decade later, it’s still one of the best venues in the NFL. (Photo taken by Ian Logue)

It’s been 10-years since fans sat on metal bleachers, and Gillette Stadium is still clearly the biggest upgrade of the Robert Kraft as owner of the New England Patriots.

There were four stadiums which opened in 2002, with the Patriots, Seahawks, Lions, and Texans all enjoying new venues that year.  Sports Business Daily has a good look back at the facility here in New England, pointing out that a decade later no real physical upgrades have been necessary and that it’s still a terrific stadium for fans.

2010 did see one major upgrade, which was the addition of brand new video screens located in both endzones.  Otherwise, not much has really changed.

The article also mentions the fact that the recent technology enhancements extend to wireless upgrades, with three distributed antenna systems having been added to improve coverage for AT&T, Sprint and Verizon customers. This year, Gillette Stadium is also reportedly one of five NFL facilities testing stadiumwide Wi-Fi access.

With the Patriots set to open their 2012 exhibition season tonight at home, this article got me thinking back to the first ever preseason game played in that venue, which was against the Philadelphia Eagles back on August 17th, 2012.

I was there for the first home preseason game thanks to my friend Dwayne, who is one of our original members of our site and messageboard and it was quite an experience.  Granted it wasn’t Tom Brady’s best game (he finished 11-of-19 for 116 yards and two interceptions), but fortunately it was “just an exhibition game” and they escaped with a 16-15 win.

However, that night it was all about the fact that Foxboro Stadium was just a memory and in its place was a beautiful new football venue.

You can read my take from that evening in this piece from 2002.