Even with a little rain, it was a banner night at Gillette Stadium.
Before the Patriots kicked off the NFL season against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the team and their fans celebrated the Super Bowl XLIX victory with a rousing ceremony that included performances by the Dropkick Murphys and the Springfield Symphony Orchestra accompanied by rapper T-Pain. The program was highlighted by the unveiling of the banner honoring the team’s fourth NFL championship.
The unoffical start to the festivities began when Tom Brady made his warmup entrance to the packed house while Jay Z’s “Public Service Announcement’’ blared throughout the stadium as the crowd roared.
Newfound favorite son Jeffrey Kessler, a.k.a. Tom Brady’s attorney, stepped out on the sidelines to the delight of the crowd, shook hands, and posed for photos to shouts of “KES-LER, KES-LER, KES-LER.’’
Jeffrey Kessler greeted by fans at Gillette pic.twitter.com/YHgbl8jhnr— Steve Silva (@stevesilva) September 10, 2015
The Dropkick Murphys opened the pregame festivities by playing “The Boys Are Back’’ followed by “I’m Shipping Up to Boston’’ complete with an on-field dance troupe.
The Springfield Symphony Orchestra then performed a rendition of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana,’’ which is used as the back beat for rapper Nas’s 1999 hip-hop single “Hate Me Now.’’
Next came the pre-taped voice of Robert Kraft over the loud speakers: “I never thought another trophy could feel this special. But this one absolutely does.’’
Three Patriots Hall of Famers — Ty Law, Troy Brown, and Willie McGinest — made their appearance on the onfield stage carrying Super Bowl trophies from the team’s three previous championships.
T-Pain took over the mid-level stage by signing the hit single “All I Do Is Win’’ while Kraft entered the picture carrying the team’s fourth Lombardi trophy.
Amist a sea of smoke from a fireworks display, the Super Bowl XLIX banner was then abruptly unveiled.
Vermont native Grace Potter followed by belting out the national anthem.
The crowd played their part by displaying flash cards spelling out: “SUPER BOWL XLIX CHAMPS.’’
Boston Police Officer John Moynihan came out for the coin toss as the Patriots’ honorary captain. Moynihan, 34, was shot in the face at point-blank on March 27 during a motor vehicle stop in Roxbury.
Photos from opening night at Gillette Stadium: