Dispatches From the Patriots-Chiefs NFL Playoff Game

20160116_133634I went to a NFL playoff game by myself and have lived to tell the tale. Here are some items of note from my experience at Gillette Stadium yesterday for the Patriots-Chiefs playoff game:

    • While attending something like this by yourself isn’t for everyone, it turned out fine and I got my revenge for Kansas City ruining my life for a few weeks in the fall of 2014. Not only did I attend the Patriots debacle in Arrowhead live, but my Baltimore Orioles were swept out of the ALCS in what can only be described as a series of unfortunate events. I was so despondent about that and it carried over into my Bruins fandom which was fine since they were awful to watch last year and I could still sell my ticket.
    • At all tailgates, I am obsessed with bathroom strategy and making sure I never have to go too badly. I arrived at 1:20 PM and went immediately to the bathroom, because I am by myself and leaving all my stuff out even in a public spot like this isn’t too wise.

      20160116_144616
      Tailgate New England style
    • The bathrooms are literally right up against a parking space, so one poor person had to park their car and open their driver side door into the back of a port-o-potty. Ugh. If I had to park there, I wouldn’t stop thinking about that for weeks, I might have to get a new car.
    • While in line, there are these guys with many many lobsters nearby and they are doing business with them. One guy is wearing a sweatshirt with a skeleton flipping a double bird while wearing Super Bowl rings. Amusing that it’s worn in public. That guy must have been their clown prince since he told the guy cooking that his hot dogs suck even as he’s polishing off one anyway. He also offered a free lobster to anyone who kicked a Chiefs fan in the balls. I think he was kidding.
    • In accordance with a deal struck with a friend in Kansas City, I displayed the Royals World Series hat during this tailgate, but people were too intoxicated to notice.
    • Speaking of drunk, the two women screaming into a phone using FaceTime or some similar app was hilarious. They’re yelling to some kid and letting him know that someday he too can get drunk in a concrete jungle known as an NFL stadium parking lot.
    • Around that time, some people from Hot 96.9 came by and talked to a fellow in the tent across from me. When that wrapped, they looked me over….and decided to move on. Their format per their website is “today’s hottest music and all the best throwbacks.” First of all, I was wearing a Brady THROWBACK jersey. Secondly, I was listening to the Gap Band on the way into the lot which is as cool and throwback as it gets. Of course their format is more hip hop and less of that funk.
    • 20160116_142443-1
      This exists

      Someone was wearing a Tom Brady Pro Bowl jersey which is funny because he opts out of it every year, or can’t play because he’s in the Super Bowl since they moved the Pro Bowl to the week before the Super Bowl. He was with a younger guy in a Chandler Jones jersey, coming off his bizarre week.

    • Others nearby were playing the worst game of Cornhole in the history of Western civilization. Their target was like a freaking trampoline, so the beanbag would bounce off it every time, that is when they even hit the thing.
    • The biggest difference between now and 2004 in a stadium lot is this: You can find out the inactives for the game via your phone so you feel a little bit more connected with what is happening. No real surprises which was good because I wanted Maclin to be able to go for the Chiefs.
    • I set a record for quickest entry into an NFL stadium at 12 seconds. No line at one of the gates about an hour before kickoff. This is a welcome change from my 2013 experience in Buffalo when I was 100% sober and stuck in the line as people were yelling “faggot” at me. Oh upstate New York, never change. At least it was 75 degrees that day, yesterday despite the threat of rain all week it did not precipitate in any way from the moment I arrived in Foxboro.
    • The guy who cut me in line at the Draft Kings Lounge bar so he could order four mixed drinks can burn in hell.

      20160116_161700
      Behind the lights
    • I would be sitting in the last row, a strategic move to allow me to stand up the whole game and also ensures that I can only be surrpunded by idiots on three sides max. In the last 5-7 rows at Gillette, the seats are behind the lights which gives the cool effect of like being at the movies with everything else lit up. This would come into play later.
    • The referee screwed up the coin flip at the start of the game. What a shock. Chiefs call tails, it is tails so the moron turns to the Patriots and asks their decision as the players are all “uhhhh” before it gets straightened out.
    • Oddly, the three seats to my left remaining empty all game. There were people briefly, but they were in the wrong section after accusing me of being in the wrong section. I can’t get that sort of thing wrong because I would be a hypocrite at Bruins games for that.
    • Meanwhile, the row in front of me had about 12 people crammed into 10 seat spots as everyone stood, at least for the first few minutes as I have enough room to do the friggin’ Safety Dance in my row.
    • I thought Kansas City had a good game plan in terms of controlling the ball. They were converting 60% on third down and wore down the Patriots defense but didn’t play uptempo when they had to, which is probably an Andy Reid trademark.
    • Puzzled by Danny Amendola just laying out some Chiefs punt coverage guy. What the hell? Of course he did it knowing the only penalty would be a personal foul that would be half the distance, so a maximum of 10 yards in the event of a touchback.
    • I was really hoping the Brady 11 yard run would hold up as a touchdown since I got video of it. Football video work was my first work study job at Boston University, filming the practices and home games for the coaches’ all-22 so I had to keep all players in frame. The Terriers went 1-10 that year and the program was cancelled on Homecoming weekend. That’s BU for ya.
    • There were some Chiefs fans there, but they were good people like everyone from Kansas City. I only was able to engage one, with a quick “good luck” to a woman in a CHRISTIAN OKOYE jersey. Wow. So this was not like the AFC Championship in January 2012 when I was telling skeptical Ravens fans that their baseball team was actually good.

    • The whole game turned on that fumble by KC on their first drive of the second half. Down only 14-6 they fumbled in NE territory and the Patriots came down and scored to make it 21-6. Even though KC scored on their next drive, they took over six minutes. I like Alex Smith and thought he was very good in this game, showing off his elusiveness and all but they lack a big play ability and couldn’t pick up the pace.
    • Kudos to the guys on my right, who smuggled a joint in and smoked it, fittingly as Chandler Jones forced a fumble. From the smell I knew it was likely real and they confirmed it for me. They could get away with it because as mentioned we were behind the lights so no one in security could really see what was going on up there.
    • Hilarious that Duron Harmon gets an interception and immediately we’re all rooting for it to be overturned because it was 4th down and the Patriots would gain 30 yards of field position.
    • The Patriots offensive line really controlled the line of scrimmage and Brady was mostly untouched. Early on there was a play where he had to move up in the pocket, but he wasn’t flushed often to his left or right. It hurt KC that they didn’t seem to have Houston and Hali out there at the same time, at least in the first few drives.
    • Kansas City preserved their timeouts in the 2nd half as if Andy Reid could turn them in at Smokehouse for a free entree, valid Mon-Thurs after 7 pm. It did give them a chance late, but they needed to pick up the pace on that final TD drive. Gee, where have I seen that from an Andy Reid team against the Patriots before?
    • The deflected pass caught by Edelman with a minute to go in the game was the pants-shitting moment of the century there for the live crowd.
    • Gotta love how me and the three guys in front of me (who were fantastic and dear friends for those 3 hours) struggled with the “run out the clock” math after that play. Chalk it up to a bunch of people being completely exhausted.

20160116_201520

  • Somehow I didn’t get one of the giveaway towels on the way in, so I just grabbed one on the way out. I love these things: they give them at Bruins playoff games and I use them to apply Rain-X to my windshield.
  • Nice reminder of why I tailgate after games: Decided to eschew the plan to make wings since it would take too long and would attempt to get home earlier. The lot attendant diverted me from my plan to go south to I-495 and made me go north. It took about 2 hours to get home: 1 hour to get out of the lot, and 1 hour to actually drive home on the roads. The car is warmer than outside at that hour when it had dropped to around freezing.
  • At the end of the day, it was a fun experience. But it is truly amusing that I brought a book as if I was going to be able to read at a freaking tailgate before a football playoff game.

Leave a Reply