- Mike Reiss, ESPN New England Patriots reporter
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LONDON – Welcome to Wembley Stadium, where the Patriots “visit” the Rams in the NFL’s sixth-ever “International Series” regular-season game here (CBS, 1 p.m. ET):
Weather conditions. It is cool, with temperatures in the mid-40s. There is a 30 percent chance of some light precipitation by kickoff, according to Weather.com. Winds are around 9 miles per hour. This registers as the coldest game the Patriots have played this season.
A feel for Wembley. The seating capacity is 84,000. As a comparison, Gillette Stadium's capacity is 68,756. The surface is natural grass, which quarterback Tom Brady said he prefers because it generally softens the impact when tackled to the ground. From a media perspective, the seating is outdoors in a covered area. Much like Seattle's CenturyLink Field, most of the seats are covered above, providing spectators relief from rain while also contributing to a noisy environment. But the area directly over the field is open. The seats are all red and high above the 50-yard line across the media seating area are flags from both countries, and flags for the NFL, Patriots and Rams. On the field, there is a large NFL logo at the 50-yard line and it extends width-wise to both 45s. The words "International Series", coupled with the NFL logo, can be seen between the 20- and 30-yard lines on both sides. Although this is a home game for the Rams, only one end zone has the Rams painted on it. The other has the Patriots painted.
One more inactive player to announce. Teams must declare seven players inactive, and in a rare occurrence, the banged-up Patriots have already ruled out six – tight end Aaron Hernandez, safeties Steve Gregory and Patrick Chung; defensive end Trevor Scott; linebacker Tracy White; and running back Brandon Bolden. The decision on the final inactive player must be turned in 90 minutes before kickoff.
Coleman gets the call. Walt Coleman is assigned to referee today’s game. Coleman is well known as the referee who made the “tuck rule” call in the Patriots-Raiders AFC Divisional Round playoff game in the 2001 season.
Honorary captain for Patriots. Kicker John Smith, who was the Patriots’ placekicker from 1974-1983, will serve as the team’s honorary captain today.
Game-day entertainment. “Train” is scheduled to perform before the game. The national anthem will be performed by Pia Toscano, while Katherine Jenkins will perform God Save the Queen.
Coin toss. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is participating in the opening toss.
LONDON – Welcome to Wembley Stadium, where the Patriots “visit” the Rams in the NFL’s sixth-ever “International Series” regular-season game here (CBS, 1 p.