New England Patriots are coming to the Air Force Academy

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U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (The Gazette) - A bit of geography knowledge helped the Air Force Academy persuade the New England Patriots to spend some time in Colorado Springs next week.

The Patriots play in Denver against the Broncos on Sunday before meeting the Oakland Raiders in Mexico City on Nov. 19.

When members of the Air Force athletic department realized this, they checked and found that the elevation at the academy’s practice facilities (about 6,800 feet) is extremely similar to that at Azteca stadium in Mexico City (7,280).

“One of our folks ran down there and told them,” Air Force athletic director Jim Knowlton told The Gazette. “They said why are we coming back to New England and then flying down to Mexico City?”

So the Patriots will instead make their temporary headquarters here, training at the academy's multiple outdoor practice fields and indoor Holaday Athletic Center from Nov. 12-15 before flying to Mexico on the 16th. At least that was the tentative plan, a final itinerary has not been released.

Also undetermined is how many, if any, opportunities there will be for the public to watch practice or interact with quarterback Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champions.

“It’s going to be really low key,” Knowlton said. “(New England coach Bill) Belichick doesn’t want a lot of fanfare. We just said, ‘Throw us a bone. Something for this community.’”

Knowlton discussed the plans with The Gazette in late August under the agreement that the information would not be released until the Patriots gave the go-ahead. The Denver Post reported the plan Wednesday morning, citing NFL sources and a confirmation from the academy.