Following their 41-16 victory in Denver over the weekend, the New England Patriots stayed in Colorado to prepare for their game on Sunday in Mexico City, which has an extremely high altitude.
The Patriots have been utilizing the United States Air Force Academy facilities in preparation for Sunday’s matchup against the Oakland Raiders. It is the second-straight straight season the Raiders have played in Mexico City, having defeated Houston in 2016, and the third time the franchise has played outside the United States, the first coming in 2014 when they played the Miami Dolphins in London.
The players have been given an opportunity to live a bit differently this week. They’ve received a speech from Air Force head football coach Troy Calhoun, watched the Air Force football team’s way of attacking the day, and even viewed a parachuting demonstration after Wednesday’s practice.
Gronkowski talk about viewing their routine and how it’s given the team a new view how to look at life in general.
“It just shows how strong they are and what kind of person it takes to make it here in the Air Force academy, which takes a lot of dedication.” Gronkowski said. “It makes you appreciate what you have, for sure.”
Gronkowski also showed his appreciation for the welcoming from the Air Force
“ We appreciate them a lot,” Gronk said. “Coach [Bill] Belichick always goes over the Naval Academy, the Air Force, so [he] always talks about them in meetings. So, it's great to be out here, great to meet the guys. They parachuted down from an airplane after practice which was super cool, but it's super appreciated by us to come out here, be able to use their facilities and get some good work in.”
As for the high altitude affects, Gronkowski said he’s definitely noticed some differences.
“I mean, it has (affected me) for sure,” he said. “My skin feels a lot drier. A lot of people are getting their nose super dry, mouth super dry. So, just glad to be here and to be able to prepare to what Mexico City will be at the same altitude. I mean, it's good training. I'm glad we're doing it.”