FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Thursday night wasn’t just about raising a fifth Super Bowl championship banner.

For the New England Patriots, it was about celebrating every one of them.

With actor and mega-New England sports fan Mark Wahlberg narrating the pregame ceremony, which included highlights of New England’s 34-28 comeback victory over the Atlanta Falcons in the Super Bowl in February, the Patriots rolled five enormous Vince Lombardi Trophy replicas onto the turf at Gillette Stadium – with banners for each Super Bowl championship unfurled on the field in front of them.

Then, Wahlberg introduced a player from each of the first four championship teams, starting with Kevin Faulk (2001), Matt Light (2003) and Deion Branch (2004) before asking the crowd to “give it up for our buddy, Julian Edelman.”

Edelman, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in the Patriots’ third preseason game in Detroit, limped onto the field while holding the 2014 Super Bowl trophy high as the crowd gave him a rousing ovation.

The four then met on a small stage in the middle of the field.

Wahlberg finally introduced Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who came on with the 2016 Super Bowl trophy, his speech calling this “the sweetest” of their championships. As the five stood together on the stage, the Patriots unveiled their latest Super Bowl banners, both on the field and hanging in the south end zone of the stadium.

NFL COMMISSIONER Roger Goodell did, indeed, show up. He came out early during pregame warmups and was greeted with a loud chorus of boos from the fans who had already filtered into the stadium. He stayed for about 12 minutes and then left, once again to boos.

TWO KEY special teams players, Matthew Slater and Nate Ebner, were inactive for the Patriots, not good news against a team that has one of the NFL’s best punt returners in Tyreek Hill, who returned two punts for touchdowns last year and averaged 15.2 yards per return.

Slater (hamstring) missed most of the preseason and Ebner (shoulder) was injured in a preseason game. Also inactive for the Patriots were tight end Jacob Hollister, linebacker Harvey Langi (concussion), offensive linemen Cameron Fleming (ankle) and Cole Croston and defensive lineman Vincent Valentine (knee).

THE PATRIOTS were busy before the game. They placed second-year receiver Malcolm Mitchell on injured reserve because of a knee injury and signed offensive lineman Ted Karras from the practice squad. Defensive back Jomal Wiltz was added to the practice squad.

Mitchell is eligible to return to practice after Week 6 and can be activated after Week 8.

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH