A familiar scene unfolded in the streets of Boston Tuesday morning: packed sidewalks of Boston sports fans waiting to cheer on their championship team. The sixth Patriots Super Bowl parade in the past 18 years began at 11 a.m. on an unseasonably warm February day—recalling excitement from only four months ago when the Red Sox celebrated their World Series win.
An hour before the Duck Boats even began to traverse down Boylston St. on Tuesday morning, chants of “Brady, Brady” broke out across the crowded Copley Square sidewalks. New England beat the Los Angeles Rams, 13-3, Sunday night in the lowest-scoring Super Bowl ever. While the slow, defensive game drew groans from across the country with the lowest Super Bowl rating since 2009, Patriots fans were wilder than ever at the parade.
“Never Gets Old” signs were a crowd favorite along with “Champs Again!” and “We Beat L.A. Again,” recalling the Red Sox’s defeat of the L.A. Dodgers.
While 35,000 fans attended the sendoff rally at Gillette Stadium before Super Bowl LIII, an unprecedented number, the Boston Police expected more than one million spectators to attend the parade Tuesday. While the exact number has not been estimated yet, it certainly felt like more than a million showed up. Officers lined the streets before and during the parade, taking a reported nine people to hospitals and a handful of intoxicated fans. Other fans could be seen climbing up light posts and standing on top of T stations and bus stops.
“I usually come to the parades,” said Cate Ryan, a fan from Everett. “But today seems even crazier than usual. I love the energy.”
Patriots owner Robert Kraft led the parade with one of the six Lombardi trophies. Rows of Duck Boats filled with players, family, and staff members took about 30 to 40 minutes to pass a designated spot. Head coach Bill Belichick’s boat received the most whistles from the grateful crowd, while Tom Brady’s drew the loudest cheers. Brady was with his children, including six-year-old daughter Vivian who could be seen holding the trophy at times. The main party, however, was clearly on tight end Rob Gronkowski’s Duck Boat complete with blasting music, wine, and nonstop dancing.
Rows and rows of packed fans made it difficult to move on the sidewalks. School kids of all ages could be seen everywhere—Boston championship parades are synonymous with playing hooky. Hearing the pleas of his college fans, linebacker Kyle Van Noy even convinced Suffolk University to cancel classes for the parade through his Twitter account.
“I let them miss school today since they love the Patriots,” said Lisa, a mother of three from Medford. “These memories will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Hopefully this isn’t the last—we don’t think it will be.”
Her three young boys all sported Julian Edelman and Tom Brady jerseys.
“The Patriots are insane,” said Mike from Billerica while watching fans throw a foam football across the street before the parade. “I love coming out here every other year and having this parade. Can’t wait until next year.”
Fans continued to cheer for a seventh championship ring long after the boats had passed—eager to meet up with the Patriots in February again.
Featured Image by Ashton Carroll / For the Heights