Football finally is here, and New England Patriots fans couldn’t be happier.

The Patriots held their first day of fully-padded practice Saturday outside Gillette Stadium. The training session was free and open to the public, meaning fans could walk in and watch the likes of Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo battle it out in live competition.

Apparently all of New England decided to do just that.

As that first photo shows, the Patriots actually had to open the massive ramps at Gillette Stadium to make room for the overflowing crowds. That’s the first time they’ve ever done that for a non-joint practice, according to The Boston Globe’s Ben Volin.

To put the incredible turnout — more than 20,000 fans for a preseason practice — into perspective, consider this: TD Garden’s maximum capacity is just under 18,000, which means about 4,000 more fans attended the third day of a training camp practice than Game 6 of the Boston Celtics’ playoff game against the Atlanta Hawks this spring.

There’s also this:

All of these incredible stats prove two things: NFL football still is king in New England, and if you want to check out a Patriots training camp practice this year, make sure you get there extra early.

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images