Hundreds of thousands of New England Patriots fans lined Boston’s streets on Tuesday, defying a driving snowstorm to cheer the team’s players in a parade celebrating their latest Super Bowl victory.
Stars including quarterback Tom Brady and wide receiver Julian Edelman waved from the cavalcade of flatbed trucks and amphibious vehicles known as duck boats. Blowing confetti mixed with snow as the team celebrated its fifth National Football League championship since 2002.
Head coach Bill Belichick, known for his taciturn manner, was uncharacteristically smiling and waving and team owner Robert Kraft hoisted one of several silver Vince Lombardi trophies held by team personnel as fans screamed their approval.
Security was high throughout the city, with sand-filled dump trucks blocking key intersections off the route to prohibit a vehicle-mounted attack. Boston has ratcheted up security at public events since the deadly 2013 bombing attack on the Boston Marathon.
Chants of “Brady, Brady” and “MVP” echoed through the streets as fans celebrated the 39-year-old quarterback’s fifth career Super Bowl ring. This one capped a season in which Brady had to sit out the first four games as a league-imposed punishment for using under-inflated footballs during the 2015 playoffs, a scandal nicknamed “Deflategate.”
The Patriots had trailed the Atlanta Falcons in Sunday’s Super Bowl by as many as 25 points before Brady rallied them to a 34-28 overtime victory.
“You couldn’t have written this script. It was just extraordinary,” said Daryl Collins, 59, of Dartmouth, Massachusetts, who said the victory was all the more meaningful because of Brady’s suspension, which many in Boston had regarded as a miscarriage of sporting justice.
Several fans wore goat masks or carried stuffed goats – a reference to the acronym GOAT – or greatest of all time, as they regard Brady.
The city has seen 10 “duck boat” parades in the past 16 years as Boston’s four major sports franchises collected a string of 10 championships, led by the Patriots.
“I’ve been to 10 of these in my lifetime,” said Bill Nugent, 23, who pulled his two children out of school for the event. “This is the best, because of Deflategate. As I get older, it gets better.”
The 31-foot (9.5-meter) duck boats normally carry sightseers through the city’s narrow streets and along the Charles River.
The city was expecting up to 1 million people for the parade, Boston Police Commissioner William Evans told WBZ-4 television.