I like football. I LOVE baseball, but I like football. Within the past few years, I’ve become a Packers fan (bye bye Mike McCarthy). However, I’ve always lived in New England, so Patriots fans were prevalent all around.
I’ve only been to one NFL game before, and it was as a member of the UCONN Marching Band. We played the halftime show for a Patriots game.
A couple weeks ago, a good friend (Modern Mason) texted if I was free on an upcoming Sunday. With the farm, family, work and holidays, free time has been a bit difficult to schedule. So, I mentioned I may not be. Then I got a great text in return…
“Don’t you want to know what you’re turning down, first?”
Sure. Go for it.
Turns out my buddy was named Employee of the Quarter for his company. That’s HUGE! He’s a dynamo.
With that honor comes a unique ‘reward’ picked out specifically for the winner. For this guy (a HUGE Patriots fan) they gifted him three tickets to the company’s VIP sky box at Gillette Stadium – home of the Patriots. He invited myself and Modern Steve to join him.
My wife was on board and happy to make it work on the home front, so I found myself at a commuter lot on I-95, this past Sunday, waiting for Mason and Steve to arrive. Off we went to Foxborough, MA on a rainy/foggy afternoon.
As we made our way into Foxborough, we drove by the excited throngs of fans, decked out in their best Patriots or Vikings gear, paying $20….$30…..$40 each for parking in retail store lots (MILES from the stadium). We drove past the large general ticket parking lots (looking like the set from M*A*S*H* with all the tailgating tents).
We drove to the surly looking, soaking wet, security guard and put our fancy VIP parking pass on the visor. “Right this way sir, follow around to lot 5 and you’re good to go – have a great game!”
Whoa. We can get used to this treatment.
We drove by Lot 6 which looked like it was a nice lot – near the stadium. But, it wasn’t lot 5. We drove some more around the stadium and found ourselves in front of lot 4. We missed 5 … why? It’s the smallest lot at the stadium… for a reason – it’s literally RIGHT IN FRONT of the stadium! Only the crème de la crème get to park there!
We were literally a few car lengths from the doors. This was amazing.
We entered through the door, showed our fancy-schmancy tickets – got an invisible ink hand stamp and were welcomed by a popcorn and hot cocoa counter for VIPs. Into a special elevator (WITH AN OPERATOR INSIDE TO PUSH THE BUTTONS! – it still happens!) and up to our Blue Level Floor. Up there they checked our hands for the invisible ink and off we went to our Suite.
Whoa. Check out this view!
The suite had a handful of high top tables with chairs, some leather seats and couches. Past all this are a few rows of comfortable stadium seats (with counters in front of everyone). We were nearly on the 50 yard line to watch. From up here you could see everything!
Along the far side of the room… the buffet! And this wasn’t hot dogs and cold nachos. Oh no, my friends – this was a beautifully catered affair. (And I KNOW — it’s what I do for a living!)
Let’s go down the line shall we? Caesar Salad (we giggled a little). New England Lobster Rolls. Yup – lobster. Beef chili with corn bread. Boneless chicken tenders (NOT nuggets – the real thing) with honey mustard, BBQ and sweet & sour sauces. Pulled pork and dinner rolls. HUGE Vermont-raised pork sausage with peppers & onions and fresh grinder rolls. My favorite thing may have been the Philly cheesesteak taquito. SO unusual but SO good. Carb overload.
After all that salt and savory goodness I was looking for something a bit sweet. Oh look over here, by the Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee… it’s a Dunkin’ Donuts HOT COCOA station. YES PLEASE!
The game (Patriots never let the Vikings really get in it at all) was amazing to watch from this level. You get to see so much. And really, how good are these seats? Robert Kraft – owner of the team – was 2 boxes down and about 50 seats away from us!
Thirsty? Yeah, I thought so.
Around halftime our Suite attendant mentions to us “the dessert cart is coming in”. WHAT?! These weren’t stale cookies – oh no – hello beautifully curated sweets!
We were beyond full at this point, but the dessert cart was going to be wheeled away – so we got in line and chose our delicacy and retreated back to our seats. For me – you don’t turn away from anything Oreo flavored! I saved it for the 4th Quarter.
We’re not done yet!
They then rolled in a CANDY CART!! You had choices of gummy bears, Swedish Fish, chocolates, cotton candy and so much more. Throw in a few collectible Patriots travel mugs for fun, too.
While we were watching the last part of the game, and completing an amazing three-way fantasy baseball league trade, huge brownies, ice cream and giant cupcakes with holiday sprinkles appeared on the counters. Everyone could barely move we were all so full.
That’s when the final “win” of the night happened (after the Patriots secured their own win) for us. Our suite attendant brought out to-go boxes and bags. WHOA! My wife and kids enjoyed brownies and cupcakes the next night – YUM!
It was a night full of food, football, drink, sweets and more importantly some time to hang out with my buddies. All the trappings of the night aside, getting to spend some quality time with these guys was the best part of the day.
You guys ever get to experience anything like this? Share your story with us in the comments!