With an exactly one week separating us from Super Bowl XLVI, the New England Patriots set foot in Gillette Stadium one final time before an estimated 25,000 fans for a final send-off rally before boarding a plane to Indianapolis, Indiana where they will face the New York Giants on Super Sunday
The rally began at approximately 10 a.m. in Gillette Stadium, with fans dawning Patriots gear and cheering as loud as they have throughout the playoffs.
The only player that was absent from the send-off rally was tight end Rob Gronkowski, who continues to nurse a reported high ankle sprain. Gronk has been frequently spotted in a walking boot, but it is believed that he will play in the Super Bowl next Sunday night. He was reportedly seen with the same walking boot when he got off the plane in Indianapolis Sunday afternoon.
For the exception of Gronk, entire Patriots team and coaching staff was in attendance including team owner Robert Kraft. Kraft, whose been through a very emotional year after losing his wife Myra to cancer, has been very appreciative of the fan support him as well as his team. As Kraft knows, there is one hurdle left to clear before capping off a season dedicated to Myra right.
"I want to thank you all for coming here today and giving us the warmest welcome in the history of this team," said team owner Robert Kraft, addressing the crowd from a stage set up along the Patriots' sideline. "(It's) our send-off to Indy, where we intend to do business." (via ESPN Boston)
As for head coach Bill Belichick, this Super Bowl will be his fifth in New England. For him, it's all business and it's been that the whole season and was reflective in his comments on Sunday.
"It's a great honor to be representing the AFC and New England in the Super Bowl," Belichick said. "We're really excited about the trip. (We) appreciate the support. I'm sure we'll see some of you out in Indy. Go Pats." (via ESPN Boston)
As for the leader of the Patriots, Tom Brady, he is looking to redeem himself in a performance where he admitted he "sucked". Brady was brief in his comments on Sunday, and was very appreciative to a fanbase he call "the best fans in America".
"We're going down there for one reason," Brady said. "We're going to give it our best and hopefully we'll have a lot more people at our party next weekend." (via ESPN Boston)