Welcome to Gillette Stadium
November, 24, 2013
By Mike Reiss | ESPNBoston.com
ESPNBoston.com Workers had a hard time wrangling in the giant American flag in a dress rehearsal four hours before the game.FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Welcome to Gillette Stadium, where the New England Patriots will host the Denver Broncos (NBC, 8:30 p.m. ET):
Weather conditions: This is a game where the elements will be a significant factor -- both with temperature and wind. It is currently 24 degrees and expected to dip into the teens by kickoff. The wind is whipping through around 20 miles per hour, with the orange flags on top of the goalposts rippling consistently. With the wind chill, it will feel closer to 5 degrees by kickoff, according to Weather.com.
Salute to Service: Continuing with the NFL's theme of paying tribute to the military, the words "Salute to Service" are painted behind each end zone.
Six inactive players to declare: The Patriots have already ruled out No. 2 tight end Michael Hoomanawanui (knee). They will have to declare six more players inactive by 90 minutes before kickoff. Earlier today, linebacker Brandon Spikes was downgraded from probable to questionable, which increases the possibility he doesn't suit up.
Steratore gets the call: Veteran official Gene Steratore has been assigned to referee Sunday night's game. He was also the referee for last year's Patriots-Broncos game.
McCourty on GameDay cover: Patriots safety Devin McCourty is on the cover of the GameDay program sold at Gillette Stadium Sunday.
National anthem: Performed by Army National Guard Major Jerome "Scott" Loring. Major Loring is a New Hampshire Army National Guardsman with more than 29 years of service. He is currently serving on active duty with the Army National Guard's Operation teams at the Army's Cadet Command Headquarters in Fort Knox, Kentucky.
Color guard: Watertown, Mass., Police Department Honor Guard.