FOXBORO (CBS/AP) — The Patriots are on their way to the Super Bowl in Arizona before a major snowstorm arrives in New England.
But before making their way to Logan Airport for a 12:30 p.m. flight out west, the team held a send-off rally at Boston City Hall Plaza, thanking the many fans in attendance for all their support throughout the season.
Team captains Tom Brady, Dan Connolly, Vince Wilfork, Devin McCourty and Matthew Slater all addressed the crowd of cold, but fired up, Patriots fans on Monday. Team owner Robert Kraft and head coach Bill Belichick did so as well after being introduced by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.
Kraft introduced Belichick as, "The coach who does his job better than anyone, the best coach in the NFL."
When handed the microphone, Belichick was greeted to a loud and long-lasting ovation.
"We really appreciate all your support; you've been here all year for us," said the head coach. "We're excited to represent the AFC in Arizona. Be safe through these next couple days of snow, we'll be thinking about you. We'll be back soon, and we hope to see many of you there with us. We love you Boston."
"I couldn't be more excited. It's an unbelievable accomplishment for our team," said Brady, who will be starting his sixth Super Bowl come Sunday night. "It's been a long ride that started nine months ago. The win last weekend was pretty sweet, and to do it in front of our crowd – we have the best fans in America. We're going to Arizona to represent you the best we can.
"Thank you guys for all your support. We'll need you all Sunday night," said Brady. "Go Patriots!"
McCourty applauded the toughness of Patriots fans when it was his turn to take the mic.
"They're really tough, kind of tougher than us," he said. "All week we've been practicing in the bubble; they're out here in the cold screaming and yelling. We appreciate the support, and keep screaming."
The crowd was already warmed up before the Patriots took the stage. 98.5 The Sports Hub's Scott Zolak and Bob Socci spoke to the fans before the team, and the crowd went wild when The Outfield's "Your Love" (a staple for the Gresh & Zo Show on 98.5) played over the speakers.
"Who needs sleep? Who needs snow? We're taking this show to Glendale!" shouted Zolak.
"What do you guys think about doing this next week, with an even bigger crowd, as a celebration?" asked Socci, receiving a loud cheer from the crowd as an answer.
The Patriots will face the defending champion Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1 in Glendale, Arizona.
The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for eastern and southeastern Massachusetts and all of Rhode Island for from 7 p.m. Monday to 1 a.m. Wednesday.
(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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