Sunday's season opener for the New England Patriots was anything but a typical game -- and not just because Tom Brady wasn't throwing on the field.
The team and its die-hard fans had to adjust to no one in the stands at Gillette Stadium on Sunday as New England beat the Miami Dolphins 21-11.
"I hate to say it, but it’s not exactly the same,” one Patriots fan said.
No fans are allowed in the stadium right now due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. While the parking lot in Foxboro would normally be packed with tailgaters, it was mostly empty Sunday.
“They piped in the cheering and all of that, but it’s still not the same,” one fan said.
Fan Greg Malkin said, “It is weird knowing the game is going on right down there, but it’s still good to support the team as best we can.”
Bars and restaurants at Patriot Place were mostly empty, too, compared to the massive crowds on a normal game day.
Some Patriots fans did gather in a socially distanced way at Wormtown Brewery in Worcester, though.
“It's kind of nice not having such a crazy crowd over here, being able to see the game so close, said Kaitlyn MacLeod.
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Khrysta Ryan, of Wormtown Brewery, said, “Hopefully as things start to ease into it, and if we do get like a ten percent capacity at the stadium, that will pick up a little bit for us."
"We’re just glad there’s some guests here,” Ryan said.
Back in Foxboro, the hustle and bustle of Route 1 was also non-existent.
Fans would typically be crowding the sidewalks to walk to the parking lots to tailgate, but that is not currently allowed given coronavirus restrictions.
There was some normalcy for fans at Mick Morgan’s in Sharon, where the game was on the big screen, and fans did their best to adjust.
“It’s too bad, the people, the crowd and the noise, like even here, it’s just too bad but it is what it is, and were out at a bar and having a beer, and so I’m okay with that,” said Pats fan Ken McCoy.
New England Patriots, Week 1
No fans are allowed in Gillette Stadium through at least the end of September.