Looking for a Patriots road trip in 2022? We rank the road destinations – NBC Sports Boston

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Curran: Looking for a Patriots road trip in 2022? We rank the destinations

PATS INSIDER

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We know the “who.” We know the “where.” The only thing we don’t know is the “when” and that hook alone is enough to make NFL schedule release day a minor NFL holy day. It’s like Ash Wednesday. But it’s on a Thursday. This Thursday. That’s when we get the “when.”

Football concerns are a little different than fan concerns when the schedule comes out. What day is the game? What time is the game? What time of year is the game? Who are the opponents before and after? When does the bye week fall? What’s the weather generally like? You get the picture.

Patriots Talk: Ranking the best 2022 road trips for Patriots fans | Download & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

For fans willing to lay their money down and take in a Patriots game on the road, different factors come into play. Fun quotient. Venue. Cost. Weather. Quality of opponent. And in 2022, Patriots fans will have options. It’s a high-quality slate of trips this year with two five-star football destinations, two four-stars and a 3.5 star.

On Monday, I crowdsourced a fan vote on the prospective road trips asking fans to rank their preferred destinations. Most preferred would be a 9. Least preferred would be a 1.

🚨 PATRIOTS TALK PODCAST POLL

These are the road opponents for ’22.

Rank the destination/stadium you’d like to travel to giving 9 points to top spot, 1 to lowest

Example: Miami: 9, Buffalo 1

Pittsburgh

Cleveland

Las Vegas

Green Bay

Minnesota

Arizona

Miami

Buffalo

New York

— Tom E. Curran (@tomecurran) May 9, 2022

I got more than 100 rankings and — since I wasn’t going to add 900 separate votes — I took the ballots of the first 20 respondents.

The results?

  1. Las Vegas (170)
  2. Arizona (132)
  3. Green Bay (129)
  4. Miami (124)
  5. Pittsburgh (98)
  6. Minnesota (90)
  7. New York Jets (56)
  8. Cleveland (52)
  9. Buffalo (44)

The fan vote differed a little from my list which can be found right here.

My list:

Las Vegas 9

Miami: 8

Green Bay: 7

Pittsburgh (very underrated): 6

Arizona: 5

Miami: 4

Cleveland: 3

Buffalo: 2

East Rutherford: 1 https://t.co/eMFnvjAG7k

— Tom E. Curran (@tomecurran) May 9, 2022

And after reflection, I actually tweaked my order. I’m not saying I have the right list. Nooooo. But I will give you the reasons for my rankings …

Las Vegas (5-star)

This checks every single box for a road game. The city opens its arms and invites you into its warm embrace of fun, foolishness and — if desired — debauchery. It’s a new stadium you’ve never seen before. Average November temperature is 70 degrees. The Raiders are bound to be a good team and there’s the Josh McDaniels/Dave Ziegler familiarity hook as they’ve built an offensive armada out there. It should be a good game. The only nut-punch would be if the league puts it on a Monday night. Ideally, it would be a Thursday night game. Shoot out Wednesday night, you’re only missing work Thursday and Friday, back Saturday night if you’ve had enough by then.

Miami (5-star)

You absolutely cannot go wrong with the weather no matter if it’s September or January (hurricane notwithstanding). You can stay in Miami or my preferred landing spot in Fort Lauderdale, which is an easy non-stop on Jet Blue and you can be on Las Olas Boulevard or the beach literally 20 minutes after getting off the plane. You want to guzzle your face off, you can. You want to golf, fish, eat, be sedate? All there for you. The Dolphins will always be a game of import because they’re in the AFC East. The only downside? Stadium succccckkkkkssss.

Green Bay (4-star)

Lambeau is the Wrigley Field/Fenway of the NFL. If you’re a serious NFL fan, you owe it to yourself to see it in person one time and see how it quite literally is in the midst of a Wisconsin neighborhood like the Robert Wadlow of high school football fields. That’s the hook. Secondarily, you’d be watching the greatest coach of all-time coach against one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time for likely the final time. The game should be entertaining. The fun-quotient will be high. Packers fans are a blast. The only dice roll is the weather which — as long as it isn’t inhumane — you can deal with for the full Frozen Tundra experience.

Pittsburgh (4-star)

A child of the ‘70s, I’m a sucker for the mystique of the Steelers. As such, a think a trip to Heinz Field and downtown Pittsburgh is a pilgrimage not far below Lambeau. Coming out of the darkness of the Fort Pitt Tunnel, into the light and over the perfect yellow of the Fort Pitt Bridge, you can see the stadium to your left with all their empty yellow seats, the river beneath you and the incline of the mountain you just came from behind you with trolleys inching up to the top. It’s a true downtown stadium and the Pittsburgh downtown is very underrated. Historic and a lot of fun. There are scads of hotels from which you can walk to the stadium and the venue itself is visually awesome. The Steelers are a natural AFC rival and it’s always going to be a charged atmosphere even if Mason Rudolph is playing quarterback.

Arizona (3.5-star)

Weather is fantastic. You have whatever kind of leisure activity you want. Except surfing. It’s a different part of the country which, if you’ve never been there is cool to experience for the first time. The stadium has some Patriotic history with Super Bowls 42 and 49. The team is OK to good and at least interesting to watch. Kind of a long-ass flight though.

Cleveland (3-star)

I like Cleveland. Downtown stadium. Historic NFL city. You can get into some fun. It’s not going to cost you a mess of money to go and it’s a short flight.  The team is decent-to-good and there’s the AFC hook. On a budget and want to get out of town for a game? Bang.

Buffalo (2.5 star)

While it’s an absolute dive of a stadium, there’s a hominess to taking in a game in Buffalo. Up to and including the vomiting and the dildo-launching Zubaz wearing members of Bills Mafia who may or may not give a Patriots fan a warm welcome. So it’s gritty. But if you know that going in, you’re in for a great time. You’re also watching one of the league’s best teams in a game of import in a stadium with great sight lines. Rent a Winny with five friends and do it. Seven-hour drive. Straight shot. The flight into Buffalo can be a bit pricey, believe it or not.

Minnesota (2-star)

You want to pack up to fly to the possibly freezing cold of Minnesota to watch Kirk Cousins for three hours? I probably don’t know enough about the Twin Cities — I was there for the bitter cold week of Super Bowl 52 in 2014, when they played in Week 2 at the University of Minnesota and in September 2007 when Brett Favre broke Dan Marino’s touchdown pass record. Shrug. Pass.

New York Jets (1-star)

The only upside to MetLife Stadium is it’s drivable. If you want a road-game experience for the lowest possible cost, here it is. Tank of gas and some tolls. Agitation at traffic maybe. The stadium is just a stadium. The team isn’t very good. The fans aren’t amusingly aggressive like they might be in Buffalo or Pittsburgh. Pass.