The jersey exchange organized by the New England Patriots after former tight end Aaron Hernandez turned from a hero into an accused killer kicked off Saturday morning with absurdly long lines and scorching heat, but otherwise the whole thing was a smashing success.
Former Hernandez fans exchanged over 500 hundred jerseys within the first hour and a half, according to the Boston Globe. People lined up at obscenely early hours (7:30 a.m.!) on Saturday morning and waited for more than an hour in ridiculous lines that looped around parts of Gillette Stadium. The early birds got to be the first to trade in home, away, and even the bright red "Pat Patriot" jerseys with Hernandez's name on the back. And the staff at the fully stocked Gillette Stadium pro-shop were ready for the crowds and the 90 degree heat in Foxborough, Massachusets. They had water stations set up along the concourse to help cool people off. The pictures of the crowds need to be seen to be believed:
Lines inside and outside Patriots' pro shop - fans here early say it took about 15 min total to do the exchange pic.twitter.com/5ILE1g4l5X— Michele Steele (@ESPNMichele) July 6, 2013
Here's the line outside of the Pats pro shop. Fans receiving a voucher for exchange and then head in to shop pic.twitter.com/w0I2OoJRMx— Austin Tedesco (@TedescoHeights) July 6, 2013
Amazingly enough, the replacement jersey of choice was not Giselle Bucheden's husband, professional beautiful man, and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. It definitely wasn't Tim Tebow, either. It wasn't even Hernandez's partner in crime (on the field, at least), Rob Gronkowski. The most popular replacement jersey was longtime defensive tackle Vince Wilfork.