Patriots set to kick off 2015 season

FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — The New England Patriots are set to kick off their 2015 season, with a celebration of their fourth Super Bowl Championship.

On Thursday night, the Pats are hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium.

Ben Roethlisberger and the rest of the visiting team arrived in Providence Wednesday, checking in at the Omni Hotel downtown.

The team held its final practice Wednesday, learning they will play without center Bryan Stork, who was placed on injured reserve. They will have Tom Brady, though.

Brady will make his first game appearance before the home crowd since winning the AFC Championship game in January. That was the game that prompted “Deflategate.”

A special pre-game championship ceremony is expected to happen before Thursday night’s game. New England musicians will be playing and the Super Bowl 49 banner will be unveiled.

Pats Image Zone: Fan Gallery 2015-2016 »
Pats Image Zone: Fan Gallery 2015-2016 »

Gates open at 6:30 p.m. and fans are asked to be in their seats by 8 p.m. for the ceremony.

According to officials, officers from 18 different communities will be on hand for home games and they said they are prepared for anything.

“I have a resilient staff that has a tremendous amount of experience in dealing with a wide range of fan behaviors and we’ll deal with it effectively no matter what the challenge,” Police Chief Edward O’Leary.

There’s another special ceremony happening before kickoff. A police officer that was wounded earlier in the year has been invited by Robert Kraft to be the team’s honorary captain for the evening’s game.

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