Home game thoughts from abroad
I travelled from the UK to make my first visit to Gillette on Sunday night (I did once see a Pats game at the old stadium) and for what they are worth, these are my take aways.
1 - The stadium is magnificent. When we went to pick up the tix on Wednesday afternoon, I was underwhelmed looking at it from the outside. It looked like just another souless concrete and still bowl. But on Sunday it was alive, and the atmosphere was terrific. Like a microcosm of the entire US in some ways: loud, bold, brash, colourful and full of life.
2 - The crowd noise was good on Eagles' third downs. I heard all the debate on WEEI and here about lack of crowd noise, and by and large it was fairly quiet a lot of the time. But when it mattered I thought the crowd really got into it and raised the roof which was terrific.
3 - Some fans need a major attitude adjustment. From the reaction throughout most of the game you'd have thought the Pats were a 5-5 team struggling to make the play-offs. As soon as it was apparent there was no blow-out on the cards, people were quickly getting on players who didn't make the plays and advocating drafting new linemen, CBs, LBs, etc etc. There seems to be a major sense of entitlement among supporters which is unrealistic and unhealthy. God help the Pats when things really do start going badly.
4 - We have an over-used cliche in sports here, which says, "Good teams find a way to win when not at their best". I took the struggle to see off the Eagles as a positive. Teams need to be in games like that to succeed, and the Pats came through and won a big one.
5 - There should be a QB controversy in Philly.
6 - I didn't have a problem with the coaching staff putting the running game on the backburner. It was clear in the first half that the spread offense was working well, and all the drives resulted in points. The one caveat I would add to that though is that it didn't look to be working so well in shortened fields and that the lack of receivers in space in the end zone could be partly attributable to the fact that the Eagles knew they didn't have to defend the run. Holding a couple of guys on the line with Maroney or Faulk in their might have opened a little space.
I had an absolute ball and was just thrilled to be there. I'll definitely be back some time soon, but I hope that by February I will be able to remember my visit as being a part of football history. Go Pats.
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