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Snow, rain doesn’t deter fans from cheering on Patriots in championship parade

  • New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady holds up the Lombardi Trophy during the Super Bowl LI victory parade as it passes through Copley Square in Boston on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • New England Patriots starting guard Joe Thuney (left) waves a flag from a float during Tuesday’s victory parade. ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff

  • Nathan Vazquez, Maddie Daly and Kim Daly of Rockland, Mass., stand on top of a planter in the snow during the Super Bowl LI victory parade as it passes through Copley Square in Boston on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Parade-goers toss around a beach ball listing the New England Patriots' five Super Bowl wins before the start of the Super Bowl LI victory parade in Boston on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Signs referring to Tom Brady as the "greatest of all time" are seen next to a banner reading "best story ever" on the Boston Public Library balcony during the Super Bowl LI victory parade as it passes through Copley Square in Boston on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • New England Patriots President Jonathan Kraft hoists the Lombardi Trophy and waves to the crowd Tuesday in Boston. ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff

  • Signs spelling out "dynasty" are seen next to a banner reading "best story ever" on the Boston Public Library balcony during the Super Bowl LI victory parade as it passes through Copley Square in Boston on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels celebrates with the crowd as a sign reading “best story ever” hangs at outside the Boston Public Library in the background during the Super Bowl LI victory parade as it passes through Copley Square in Boston on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Scenes from the Super Bowl LI victory parade as it passes through Copley Square in Boston on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Scenes from the Super Bowl LI victory parade as it passes through Copley Square in Boston on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Scenes from the Super Bowl LI victory parade as it passes through Copley Square in Boston on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Parade-goers gather along Boylston Street near Copley Square in Boston to watch the New England Patriots Super Bowl victory parade on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Scenes from the Super Bowl LI victory parade as it passes through Copley Square in Boston on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Parade-goers gather along Boylston Street near Copley Square in Boston to watch the New England Patriots Super Bowl victory parade on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Scenes from the Super Bowl LI victory parade as it passes through Copley Square in Boston on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Parade-goers gather along Boylston Street near Copley Square in Boston to watch the New England Patriots Super Bowl victory parade on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Scenes from the Super Bowl LI victory parade as it passes through Copley Square in Boston on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Parade-goers gather along Boylston Street near Copley Square in Boston to watch the New England Patriots Super Bowl victory parade on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady holds up the Lombardi Trophy during the Super Bowl LI victory parade as it passes through Copley Square in Boston on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Parade-goers gather along Boylston Street near Copley Square in Boston to watch the New England Patriots Super Bowl victory parade on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels celebrates with the crowd during the Super Bowl LI victory parade as it passes through Copley Square in Boston on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • A red Patriots flag is waved from a float during the Super Bowl LI victory parade as it passes through Copley Square in Boston on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Parade-goers gather along Boylston Street near Copley Square in Boston to watch the New England Patriots Super Bowl victory parade on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Scenes from the Super Bowl LI victory parade as it passes through Copley Square in Boston on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)



Monitor staff
Tuesday, February 07, 2017

BOSTON – The snowfall increased rapidly before it turned to slush and, eventually, rain. That didn’t stop droves of people from pouring out of the transit stations dotted along the New England Patriots parade route as the team celebrated its fifth Super Bowl championship with its fans in Boston on Tuesday.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Coach Bill Belichick added a fifth Super Bowl ring to their collection on Sunday in a dramatic 34-28 win over the Falcons. The Patriots were faced with a 25-point deficit as time waned in the third quarter, but the team managed a comeback never seen before in the NFL’s biggest game with more than 111 million people tuning in around the world.

But on Tuesday, the Patriots focused on their hometown fans as more than a million people from across the region squeezed in along Boylston and Tremont streets for a glimpse of the Super Bowl champions.

“Tom Brady is never going to quit on you,” said Marshall Crane, a Concord native who is now general manager of the Met Back Bay restaurant in Boston. “He’s never going to quit, and it rubs off on the people that are his fans.”

The Patriots scored 31 unanswered points to seal the win, including an eight-play, 75-yard drive in overtime finished off by James White getting into the end zone. 

There was plenty of drama off the field as well, most notably the Deflategate scandal that has surrounded the organization and its quarterback for two years. The decision by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to suspend Brady for four games at the beginning of this season was upheld in court, but the issue grew in its polarity and became greater than any one of the individuals involved.

“What Tom Brady means to me and so many people in our region, and to go through what he’s gone through and still be a professional … he just touches so many people,” Crane said. “He connects, even though he’s from the Bay Area, in all our eyes he’s a Bostonian. The connection he has with the fans, what we as fans have lived through for the last two years, to be on his revenge tour, as they say, and then to finish the job Sunday night.”

Crane had to stop for air.

“They can’t even write that in Hollywood,” he said. 

Crane certainly wasn’t the only one hoping for a chance to see Brady. Heads turned in a snap to the West as the duck boats, a symbol of championship success in professional sports around here, approached Copley. 

“I’m here to see Tom Brady,” said Jack Furey, 17, of Hartford, Conn.

He closed his eyes calmly as the snow pounded his face, and then a smile.

“Oh my God, I love that guy,” he said. 

Furey didn’t want to miss the chance to see his favorite player hoist the Lombardi Trophy in Boston. He made the trip from Hartford with four friends, starting early Tuesday morning.

Furey’s trip was rewarded when Brady arrived, standing between backup quarterbacks Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett, and waving to fans. Brady then stepped back and walked to the duck boat’s stern. With his left hand, he hoisted the Lombardi Trophy high above his head. With his right, he pumped his fist at the sky, the way Patriots fans have seen him do countless times over the last 16 years.

DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win” roared from massive speakers mounted on a flatbed truck. The music choice seemed fitting to every fan as the crowd joined in the chorus.

One fan donning a Randy Moss 81 Patriots jersey took the scene in. Streams of confetti rained over the sidewalk. Running back Brandon Bolden sprayed champagne and, farther down the line, tight end Rob Gronkowski tore off his shirt in the sub-40 degree temperatures.

“It’s like we won a war or something,” the Moss fan said as an armada of duck boats passed by.

Ben Warren of Milton, positioned on Boylston Street with his friend Ron Gagnon of Farmington, said it’s a “once in a lifetime opportunity,” even though this is the fifth Super Bowl win for Tom Brady, Coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots.

“It’s the way the game was won,” Warren said. “That’s never going to happen again.”

He might be right.

The Patriots put the final period on the season Tuesday, or perhaps it was an exclamation point. Starting at Hynes Convention Center, the parade continued down Boylston, crossed the Boston Marathon finish line, wrapped around Boston Common to Tremont, and finished at City Hall Plaza.

At the parade’s final stop, all five Lombardi Trophies were held up before the crowd, which responded by chanting, “We want six!”

But Super Bowl win No. 5 almost slipped away. Down 28-3 with 8:31 left in the third quarter, hope was lost on many, perhaps most. It would take the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history to get this one back.

“I texted my wife and said I’m never betting again,” Crane laughed. “First half was as depressing for a fan as you can get. But there’s still that optimism. If there’s still time on the clock and you have Tom Brady, Paul Pierce or David Ortiz in the lineup, it’s not over.”

 

(Nick Stoico can be reached at 369-3339, nstoico@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @NickStoico.)