New England Patriots @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Wembley Stadium)
25th October 2009 – Andy Goddard (@godsy1985)
Having been a New England Patriots fan since watching my first game when they were a massive underdog (the 2001 super bowl vs the St Louis Rams) this was finally a chance to get to see them play live. A trip to Wembley stadium where New England would face the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers. At this time, Brady still had weapons around him in Wes Welker and Randy Moss and after starting the season 5-2, I was very hopeful of seeing that record improve.
As we arrived on Wembley Way and began heading to the tailgate, I noticed a crowd gathering in the distance but could not work out why. It soon became evident just why there was a crowd; Patriots owner Robert Kraft (guarded by four very large guys!) was making his way towards the stadium. My initial thought was, ‘wow he’s tiny!’ Seizing the moment I decided to ask him for a quick picture (whilst watching the bodyguards and making sure I wasn’t about to be slammed to the floor). In all fairness, Kraft was brilliant. Having a quick chat about their journey across the pond and even giving me a close up of the super bowl ring he was wearing. Then came the moment for the picture. I handed my phone to my brother and gave him very clear instructions what to do, I mean how difficult is it to take a picture?? Well after posing for what seemed like an eternity, it became obvious that my brother couldn’t work my phone at all and had actually pressed the timer button. So we stood and waited awkwardly until the picture was finally taken which resulted in a pretty bad outcome! But a great way to start the day!
When booking the tickets I had made sure we got as close as possible to the Patriots sideline, at quite a substantial cost! The game itself was exactly how I thought (and hoped) it was going to be. The Pats took an early lead after a pick 6 from Brandon Meriweather on just the fifth play of the game and at half time were 21-7 in front. The Bucs didn’t threaten the scoreboard in the 2nd half and further scores from Benjamin Watson and Laurence Maroney meant the Pats ran out comfortable 35-7 winners. It was my first experience of a live NFL game and it was really enjoyable to see the real speed of the game. Im still waiting for my trip to Foxboro but hopefully it will be in the near future.