New England Patriots fans pack Boston streets for victory parade

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 07, 2017 6:04 AM

By Scott Malone and Ted Siefer

BOSTON (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of New England Patriots fans bundled up in coats and red-white-and-blue knit caps bearing the team's logo defied a driving snowstorm in Boston on Tuesday to celebrate their team's latest Super Bowl victory.

The team, celebrating its fifth National Football League championship since 2002, was due to parade through the city in a fleet of amphibious vehicles.

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.

Many Patriots fans said they were particularly happy for star quarterback Tom Brady, 39, who collected his fifth career Super Bowl ring after having to sit out the first four games of the season in a league-imposed punishment for using under-inflated footballs during the 2015 playoffs, a scandal nicknamed "Deflategate."

The Patriots trailed the Atlanta Falcons in Sunday's game by as many as 25 points before Brady rallied them to an 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 given 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 national titles, led by the Patriots.

"I've been to 10 of these in my lifetime," said Bill Nugent, 23, who pulled his two young 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-metre) 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, adding that he expected the snow and seasonally mild 35 degree Fahrenheit (1.7°C) to have little effect on turnout.

"I like the snow," Evans said. "It's better than the rain. It adds to the festive mood."

The Patriots' last Super Bowl parade, in 2015, drew large crowds despite massive roadside snowbanks in a winter that brought 9 feet (2.74 m) of snow.

(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Peter Cooney and Bill Trott)