They battled muddy slush and below freezing temperatures, elbowed their way through streams of drunken late-morning revellers to wait like the patient, loyal fans they are for their team to complete a well-deserved victory lap through Boston.
Thousands of New England Patriots fans turned out Wednesday for the Super Bowl winners’ victory parade, which meandered its way from the Prudential Center, past Copley, and finally, to City Hall Plaza.
And despite Deflategate, despite two dreadful snowstorms in the past week, nothing could keep the Patriots from bringing glory back to Boston
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“It’s the city of champions, I’m here a lot. It’s not my first parade,” said Shane Wells, 43, Somerville. “I thought the win was awesome and it was exciting and it was to the last minute. I think they deserve [this turnout] because they’ve been here again and again and again, and it’s not an accident if you keep coming back.”
Wells’ face bore his team’s colors — red and blue — markings given to him by fellow fan Joanne Park of Groton. Park’s face was fully painted in the colors, and she couldn’t resist decorating Well’s cheeks after he complimented her team spirit.
“I haven’t been to a Pats parade before, so I wanted to show my team spirit. We’re huge sports fans. We love the Patriots, who doesn’t? He was admiring my face paint,” said Park, giggling with her childhood girlfriends, fueled by Bloody Marys.
Spirits were high, although fans started to get antsy at the end of the parade route when the team still hadn’t shown up by 12:30 p.m. The parade was set to start at 11 a.m., but was running roughly 30 minutes behind schedule.
Football lovers, bundled in red and blue Patriots attire, amused themselves on Cambridge Street by conjuring up crowd-pleasing chants, like “Belichick! Belichick!” “Brady, Brady, Brady!” and, “They hate us cuz they ain’t us!”
“I wanted to see what this parade was all about,” said Nate Buchand 28, who ventured all the way from Maine for the celebration. “I was shocked for the win to happen. I didn’t expect it. But it’s New England, so I knew today was going to be exciting.”
The air was alive with the smell of cigarettes, liquor, and marijuana. Impatient fans chucked snowballs, tennis balls, miniature footballs and a dirty roll of toilet paper above the crowd, drawing cheers.
Above, as the sound of base and cheers echoed from several blocks away, a light dusting of snow flurries fluttered in the sunlight sky; a glistening prelude to the confetti that was just around the corner.
Brittany Paine, a twenty-five year old Whitman resident and bigtime Boston sports fan, came for Gronk.
“I’m gonna ask Gronk out on a date,” she said, eager for the festivities to start. Her boyfriend, Tony Burke, 26, seemed unfazed.
“Gronk’s amazing. I’m okay with that,” he said. “I’ve been a fan of the New England Patriots my whole life. I’ve seen other championships but I’ve never been up for the parade, so I wanted to show my support.”
Paine chimed in, “The game was awesome. [Malcolm] Butler saved us, definitely.”
A Charlestown resident who went by Glenn summed up the crowd’s excitement in simple terms: “I’ve got a message for the rest of America: Let’s face it, we’re good.”