The NFL’s noontime shindig celebrating the start of the 2017 season was supposed to be all about the pigskin, an opportunity for Patriots fans to get fired up for Thursday night’s opener at Gillette Stadium.
And it mostly was.
But as part of the free festivities in Christopher Columbus Park, event hosts J.C. Monahan and Scott Evans gave away tickets to Thursday’s game to fans who could name a starting player from the Pats’ past championship teams.
Ross Chanowski was one of the lucky winners — he named Darrelle Revis — but instead of accepting the coveted tix, Chanowski said from the stage that he’s giving the seats to a dreamer — an immigrant who as a child was illegally brought to the United States. (Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced this weekend that the US plans to end the program that allows dreamers to stay in the country.)
“I’m giving [the tickets] to dreamers because they deserve to be in this country and they deserve to go to the game,” Chanowski said.
The crowd, many of whom were wearing a Tom Brady jersey, cheered loudly.
Chanowski, a Noble and Greenough alum, is the founder of Jungle, which describes itself as “a group of creative thinkers, designers and strategists growing companies in urban settings.” Off stage, Chanowski declined to talk to us, but he did tweet his offer to give away the tickets.
Thursday’s kickoff event also included a concert by the Tufts-bred band Guster — they played several of their indie hits, including “Amsterdam” and “Satellite” — and appearances by former Pats players Rodney Harrison, Willie McGinest, and Dan Koppen, who walked on stage with one of the Patriots’ five Vince Lombardi trophies.
Turns out the real kickoff party was Wednesday, when the NFL hosted a bash for high-rollers at the Exchange on the Boston Fan Pier. We weren’t invited, but Joe Jonas’s band DNCE played for a well-lubricated crowd that included his girlfriend, ginger-haired “Game of Thrones” actress Sophie Turner — a.k.a. Sansa Stark — and her fellow “GoT” cast member Maisie Williams — a.k.a. Arya Stark. (Williams has been in town lately filming the “X-Men” spinoff “New Mutants,” in which she plays Wolfsbane.)