Welcome to Ralph Wilson Stadium
September, 8, 2013
By Mike Reiss | ESPNBoston.com
Mike Reiss/ESPNOur view of Ralph Wilson Stadium from the press box.ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Welcome to Ralph Wilson Stadium, where the Patriots visit the Bills in the season-opener for both teams (CBS, 1 p.m. ET).
Weather conditions. It has been an overcast weekend in Western New York. There was a light rain early this morning and the temperature is expected to in the low 60s at kickoff. This is a bit cooler than one would have expected for a season-opening game. Winds, which are often a factor here, are expected to be around 13 miles per hour (according to Weather.com).
A feel for Ralph Wilson Stadium. This is one of the older stadiums in the NFL and has some similarities to old Foxboro Stadium (all seats are chair-backs; with benches in end zone). There are three levels of seating, with the lower bowl blue, the middle section red and the upper section blue. It is fully enclosed, which makes this a noisy venue when the Bills get things going in a positive direction. Outside the stadium, where parking is as cheap as $15, there is a tribute to the late Tim Russert. The plaza outside the press box is dedicated to the longtime Bills fan.
Mike Reiss/ESPNTim Russert Plaza sits in front of Ralph Wilson Stadium.
One inactive player remaining. The Patriots have already declared six players out for the game -- tight end Rob Gronkowski, running back Brandon Bolden, receiver Aaron Dobson, offensive lineman Will Svitek and safeties Nate Ebner and Duron Harmon. That means one more player will have to be declared inactive by 90 minutes before kickoff. Analysis of the inactives can be read here.
Patriots streak on the line. The Patriots have won nine straight season openers, which ties for the fourth-longest streak in NFL history. Only Dallas (17 wins, 1965-1981), Miami (11 wins, 1992-2002) and Portsmouth/Detroit (10 wins, 1930-39) have a longer opening-day winning streak. The Patriots’ last opening-day loss came here at Ralph Wilson Stadium, a 31-0 pasting by the Bills, who had former Patriot Drew Bledsoe at quarterback and former Patriot Lawyer Milloy (cut by New England just days earlier) at safety that day.
Anderson gets the call. Walt Anderson has been assigned to referee today’s game.