ATLANTA (Reuters) – The Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots have touched down in Atlanta after enthusiastic send-offs from their fans ahead of their Super Bowl clash on Sunday.
An estimated 35,000 Patriots fans packed into Gillette Stadium in Foxborough to cheer on the team, which is looking to avenge their loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in last year’s championship game.
“This is the biggest sendoff we’ve ever had,” said Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who has been at the helm for all five of the franchise’s Super Bowl victories.
“Appreciate your support all year … hope to see you in Atlanta.”
Quarterback Tom Brady took a shot at the team’s detractors, who thought this might be the year that the 41-year-old started to falter and the team’s unprecedented run of success would finally come to an end.
“We’re still here,” an animated Brady told the crowd before tossing the microphone aside.
In Los Angeles, throngs of Rams fans showed up for a rally at the site of the team’s future stadium in Inglewood.
“I’ve been here for three years and seeing us go from 4-12 three years ago to going to the Super Bowl now is amazing,” said Rams quarterback Jared Goff.
“We appreciate all the support and we’re ready to bring a Lombardi Trophy back to LA.”
Rams running back Todd Gurley also told fans to expect the team to return from Atlanta with some new hardware.
“We going to go back to the A and bring a chip back to LA,” he said.
The Rams’ lone Super Bowl victory came in 2000 during the two decade period of time when the team was located in St. Louis.
The team returned to Southern California in 2016 and are set to begin playing in their new, $4 billion stadium in 2020.
Players and coaches from both teams are scheduled to meet with the media all week ahead of the game on Feb. 3.
Reporting by Rory Carroll; editing by Amlan Chakraborty