FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — The New England Patriots unveiled the sixth – and latest Super Bowl 53 championship banner in franchise history at Gillette Stadium in front of a raucous, sold-out crowd Sunday night.
Former Patriots Ty Law, Willie McGinest, Drew Bledsoe, Martellus Bennett were accompanied by team owner Robert Kraft to bring out the Lombardi trophies. Recently retired tight end Rob Gronkowski made a special appearance as he also brought out one of the trophies and gave fans a look at his signature touchdown spike celebration.
Fans were treated to fireworks on the field during the pre-game ceremony and all throughout the game as the Patriots dominated the Steelers in all three phases.
“It was the first game. It’s good to start 1-0. Some guys made some big plays. I loved how Phil [Dorsett] played, Josh [Gordon] made plays, Jules [Julian Edelman] did,” said quarterback Tom Brady, who finished 24-36 for 341 yards with three touchdowns, including two to receiver Phillip Dorsett and one to Josh Gordon.
While Brady made some great throws throughout the game, another former quarterback made a memorable throw to set up the first touchdown of the game.
Late in the first quarter, Edelman threw a pass to running back James White, who took the pass 30 yards down the field to help set up the first touchdown of the game.
“Josh [McDaniels] is a genius designing plays,” said Dorsett. “When we execute perfectly, it results in touchdowns. The play calling, the whole offense, it was clicking.”
“We made some plays, left some out there. I have to go watch film. It’s never as good as you think and never as bad as you think,” said Edelman, who finished with six receptions for 83 yards and the trick-play pass to White.
The Patriots defense, without star linebacker Kyle Van Noy, delivered a solid performance, bottling up quarterback Ben Rothlisberger and the Steelers’ high flying offense.
“They did a bunch of different things and I think our ability to adjust and communicate and that’s something we have to continue to work on and get better,” said safety Devin McCourty.
The pass rush and secondary delivered a solid performance, frustrating Roethlisberger and head coach Mike Tomlin who now have a 3-6 record against the Patriots and 2-6 against Brady.
Despite the 30-point win, the Patriots struggled to move the ball on the ground, and at times, couldn’t sustain drives and had to settle for field goals.
After the game, Yianni Kourakis asked Edelman if Belichick is harder or easier on the team after a blowout win, which he responded, ‘it’s just business.’
When fans exited Gillette Stadium following Sunday nights season-opening victory, one fan decided to keep the celebration going in the parking lot by blasting “All I Do is Win” by multi-platinum artists DJ Khaled, Ludacris, and T-Pain.
The song perfectly describes what Belichick and 42-year-old quarterback Brady, both in their 20th season in New England, have accomplished together.
The Patriots will now turn their attention to the Miami Dolphins who they play next Sunday.