Gillette Stadium in Foxboro Massachusetts is the home to one of sport’s biggest dynasties, the New England Patriots, the defending Super Bowl Champion. Gillette Stadium opened in 2002 and the Patriots have sold every single game out since the first game. It is located on Route 1 about three miles away from I-95 in Foxboro, a small town about halfway between Boston and Providence, Rhode Island.
Gillette Stadium replaced the old Shaeffer Stadium which was located next door. The old stadium and the surrounding area was rather bland, not much to do other than the game itself, so the Pats had a great idea. Instead of using the old stadium as a parking lot, they turned it into Patriot Place.
Patriot Place is an open air mall complete with many shops, restaurants, bars and even a movie theatre and al bowling alley. Patriots fans now don’t worry about the impossible traffic both before and after the game. Instead they head over to Patriot Place and eat dinner or bowl a few and wait for the traffic to thin out. It has been such a success that most new stadiums have a similar venue next to the stadium.
Graphic via spothero
Gillette Stadium crowds are some of the best in the game. Of course they have had plenty to cheer about for the last 15 years, but the sellout streak actually dates back to the old stadium all the way back to 1994, long before Tom Brady and Bill Belichick arrived on the scene.
Gillette Stadium has some unique features such as some of the fans who dress in colonial era clothes complete with muskets. It also has chairs instead of benches like all new stadiums and of course the club seats where fans can either watch from the seats or head inside to the restaurant and watch on the big TVs while they eat and drink.
Food options at Gillette are among the best in sports. Fans can eat however and whatever they want while enjoying the game. The fare ranges from healthy to not-so-much but very delicious. Fans can get a wrap, or fresh fruit all the way to sausage and bratwurst and everything in between including a souvenir bucket of popcorn which you will not finish. There are your standard stadium choices such as burgers, hot dogs, pizzas, chicken tenders, etc. But fans can also enjoy pulled pork, beef brisket, ribs, cheese steak, strombolis, you name it, they likely have it.
The game atmosphere is about what one would expect for a team always in contention. At times the crowd seems a bit spoiled, but they erupt when the team inevitably wins the game with a big play.
Gillette Stadium has seen many of the big moments in the past two decades, hosting several AFC Playoff Games including many matchups between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning over the years. Not only has some of the Pats biggest wins come at Gillette Stadium but the Baltimore Ravens won an AFC Championship Game there on their way to a Super Bowl Championship as did the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Some critics might say Gillette Stadium has been the venue of some notorious deeds such as “SpyGate” in which the Patriots were caught videotaping practices of the rival New York Jets and “DeflateGate” in which the Patriots under inflated their footballs in the 2015 AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts. But one thing people cannot deny is that there is rarely a dull moment in Gillette Stadium, or outside of Gillette either.
Graphic via wikipedia