One of the highlights today from a Patriots perspective is the team's history.
In the early afternoon, the team will announce this year's inductee into its Hall of Fame. Later this evening, former Patriots linebacker Steve Nelson will be honored as part of this year's "Tradition" at TD BankNorth Garden.
Nelson played for the Patriots from 1974-87, appearing in 174 games with 173 starts. His father Stan will be his presenter tonight.
"It's going to be nice to have him here. He was my first football coach," Nelson recalled this morning. "I was blessed both ways, to have him as a dad and a football coach."
Nelson said he learned discipline, teamwork and the importance of a good attitude from his father, a Hall of Fame coach at Anoka High School.
Nelson will be honored tonight alongside Dwight Evans (Red Sox), Jerry Remy (Red Sox), Kristine Lilly (U.S. women's soccer), Jo Jo White (Celtics) and the 1970 Stanley Cup Boston Bruins team. Naturally, that has led to some reflections on his playing career.
"The good thing is that I was able to play for 14 years. I started the last game I ever played and started my first game as a professional. I was a starter all my 14 years and that's probably what I was most proud of," he said, before noting his biggest disappointment was the team's 46-10 loss to the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XX.
Nelson, 59, currently works for Lighthouse Computer Services in Lincoln, R.I. Although he wasn't expecting to call New England his permanent home when he was a second-round draft choice out of North Dakota State in 1974, that's exactly what has happened.
"With the longevity of my career, and having children while I was playing, roots were developed here," Nelson said. "I've come to love New England and consider it my home."