While I was a proud supporter of New York hosting this year’s Super Bowl despite possible disasters with the climate, a Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots, would be an absolutely atrocious decision. Foxborough is one of five other cold-weather cities (Chicago, Landover, Md., Denver and Philadelphia are the others) pushing for a chance to host the big-game in 2019, the next available year without a shortlist of sites.
If you put together a list of pros and cons as to whether Foxborough would make a good host for the biggest day in American sports, the bad would far outweigh the good. Gillette Stadium might have only opened in 2002, making it a relatively new stadium by NFL standards, but is not exactly state-of-the-art.
Improvements have been made to the video boards and such, but the 68,756-seat stadium does not even have escalators to trek fans up to the highest levels of seating. Instead, there are long ramps that take forever to navigate when thousands of fans are trying to hit the exits.
I may be nitpicking, but Gillette Stadium might have the worst commute of any venue in professional sports. Sitting along Route-1, Gillette is a few miles away from Interstate-95. 95 is the closest highway that connects Foxborough to Boston and Providence, the major cities over 30 minutes away that would house all the theatrics that go along with Super Bowl week. It can take hours just to get out of the parking lot after a regular season game, so imagine the difficulties commuters will have after the Super Bowl.
And like Sunday’s game in New York, Foxborough would have challenges supporting the fans entering the game through mass transit. There is only one train station in the town of approximately 17,000, and it sits right besides the stadium with just one terminal. It only runs on days when the Patriots have home games, and shuts down streets in neighboring towns while in use.
Patriots owner Bob Kraft said one week ago that New England would work as host if the team can get cooperation with administrators in Boston, Providence, and Hartford, Conn. to house all the fans the event accounts for. Boston and Providence would work, but Hartford is a whopping 100 miles away. No way in a hundred years would Hartford be accommodating to Foxborough’s Super Bowl.
All things considered, if one owner could get Roger Goodell to see his way, it would be Kraft. The Patriots owner since 1994, who would be 77 at the time of Super Bowl LIII, played a major role in the league’s 2011 labor negotiations and quite possibly has the most pull of any owner in football.