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Super Bowl Blog: Patriots Rally For Fans, Media Night Highlight Day 1 In Houston

By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON TO HOUSTON (CBS) -- Congratulations, everybody. You've made it.

It's officially Super Bowl week.

Perhaps it's just a personal feeling, but the dead bye week that is usually dreadfully boring seemed to have passed by rather swiftly over the past seven days. Or maybe that's just the result of not having to watch an accusation of cheating balloon into a national "scandal" during that time.

Whatever the case may be, the bye week is over, and the wheels are turning toward Sunday's Super Bowl.

And that roll begins in earnest for the Patriots today, as they'll hold a send-off rally at Gillette Stadium before they board the buses and head for the airport. Fans are invited to the NRG Plaza outside The Hall at Patriot Place at 9 a.m. for the festivities, which include t-shirt tosses, cheerleader performances, some hooting and/or hollering from Scott Zolak, and more. You'll also hear from Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, Devin McCourty, Dont'a Hightower and Matthew Slater.

After that, it's off to Houston, with the Patriots expected to land at George Bush Intercontinental Airport around 4 p.m. ET. They'll barely have any team to disembark the plane and check in to their hotel rooms before they'll be whisked off to Minute Maid Park in downtown Houston for Super Bowl Opening Night.

"Opening Night" is the artist formerly known as "Media Day," as the NFL last year decided to turn it into a prime-time television spectacle. That's good news for those fans who work during the day and thus could not tune in live to the lighthearted affair when it used to be held in the middle of the day. It's bad news for those who don't much enjoy staying up too late.

The Patriots won't be introduced until 10 p.m. ET, and they'll be talking until 11 p.m. ET, so it'll be a late one for those watching at home. (The Falcons will be introduced a little after 8 p.m. ET, for those interested in hearing from them and seeing the spectacle.)

When it comes to coverage of "Opening Night," we'll have every morsel of information you could ever hope to have here at CBS Boston as well as on the Facebook page and Twitter account of 98.5 The Sports Hub. Be sure to follow along as Super Bowl week kicks off with a very busy day.

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