Quick hits with the Patriots as players return to work Wednesday for their first practice in advance of Sunday's AFC Championship Game:
First look at the field. It is snowing this morning in the region, which altered the Patriots' plans to have a Wednesday photo opportunity of the Gillette Stadium playing field. So the club pushed it up to Tuesday, giving photographers an opportunity to take a snapshot of the AFC Championship markings on the playing field. The Patriots' Twitter account has it here.
Tickets on sale Thursday. A limited number of tickets will go on sale to the public on Thursday at 10 a.m. ET through Ticketmaster. Ticket orders can be processed one of two ways, online at ticketmaster.com, or via phone at 800-745-3000. Visa is the only accepted form of payment. Playoff pricing is set by the NFL. The individual ticket prices for the AFC Championship Game range from $269 (100 Level Sideline) to $120 (300 Level)
Matt Light AFC Championship raffle. Former Patriots left tackle Matt Light is raffling off four tickets to the AFC Championship Game, with the winner (and 3 friends) attending the game with Light (as well as pre- and post-game festivities). Tickets are $2 each and there is a mininum purchase of five tickets. Tickets can be purchased at netraffle.org and proceeds benefit the Matt Light Foundation.
Patriots in AFC Championship Game at Gillette. Sunday will be the fourth AFC Championship Game the Patriots have hosted at Gillette Stadium, which opened in 2002. The Patriots are undefeated in those games. It is the third time since then that the Patriots have played in the championship game in consecutive seasons. In the eight AFC Championship games the Patriots have appeared in since 1985, the Patriots are 7-1 overall, including 4-0 at home.
Gronk's injury just a case of bad luck? Shira Springer of the Boston Globe speaks with team doctors, orthopedic surgeons, and other sports medicine experts about Rob Gronkowski's broken forearm. Should he have played? The piece can be read here.
Hoomanawanui the 'next man up.' With Gronkowski out, the Patriots turned to Michael Hoomanawanui, who played 50 of 59 snaps after Gronkowski broke his forearm Sunday. The New York Times shines the spotlight on Hoomanawanui and the Patriots' knack for having fill-ins perform well. That piece can be read here.