Barely three months after the confetti was swept up from the Red Sox World Series parade, the New England Patriots boarded duck boats and headed up Boylston Street themselves.
The Super Bowl LIII victory parade Tuesday was the 12th time in 17 years that Boston has hosted a rolling championship celebration for one of its four major sports teams. And the Patriots, who have now made the two-mile trip six times since 2002, are the team fans are most used to seeing.
But like a snowflake falling on the field in Foxborough, every victory parade in Boston is unique. Here are the moments that made this one special.
1. The crowds were insane
If Boston fans are feeling any sort of fatigue from all the winning, they certainly didn’t show it Tuesday.
Police estimated “well over a million” fans would line up along the parade route from Back Bay to Government Center, and the photos seemed to back that up (though no official numbers have been reported). MBTA commuter rail operator said the parade attracted what was “almost certainly the highest ridership ever seen on the network” and city officials said they thought it was the biggest-ever parade crowd as well.
“Boston. You are insane,” tweeted Patriots wide receiver and Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman.
— Julian Edelman (@Edelman11) February 5, 2019
The view from the duck boats only provided further evidence.
— Nate Ebner (@NateEbner) February 5, 2019
You all are nuts pic.twitter.com/lZ7v2yUGAE
— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) February 5, 2019
Roaring crowd. Gorgeous day for a parade. Patriots fans showed up. pic.twitter.com/UL72p3DWTu
— Henry McKenna (@McKennAnalysis) February 5, 2019
2. The scene on board the duck boats was no less of a party
Rob Gronkowski was in peak parade form.
— WBZ | CBS Boston News (@wbz) February 5, 2019
— Boston 25 News (@boston25) February 5, 2019
And while the Patriots tight end took full advantage of the balmy, 60-degree February day to slug beers (and fancy wine), don a number of different outfits, and eventually go shirtless, he was hardly the only one this time.
Nobody is wearing shirts anymore pic.twitter.com/MVQXVfYi6Y
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) February 5, 2019
Perhaps most notably, it wasn’t long before Patriots offensive lineman David Andrews found himself a spot to catch some sun.
— Mike Petraglia (@Trags) February 5, 2019
— Dan Roche (@RochieWBZ) February 5, 2019
Starting center David Andrews, his hands full, with starting guards Joe Thuney and Shaq Mason. This screenshot, via @wbzsports broadcast, perhaps best captures the fun players had at today’s parade. pic.twitter.com/N6ZxTj78W7
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) February 5, 2019
3. Boston police even had some fun
The people responsible for ensuring that the mass of Patriots fans flocking the streets Tuesday remained by-and-large orderly also got to partake in the celebration. Cheered by the crowds as they led the parade downtown, Boston police at times revealed their inner-football fans.
— Boston Police Dept. (@bostonpolice) February 5, 2019
— Patriots on NBCSB (@NBCSPatriots) February 5, 2019
A few officers even showed off their kicking skills in the street.
It doesn’t look like Stephen Gostkowski has much to worry about.
4. Parade-goers helped push an ambulance out of the mud
The swarms of rowdy Patriots fans also turned out to be of productive use.
After an ambulance got stuck in the mud on Boston Common, several dozen parade-goers assembled to free it. Christopher Marino, an eyewitness who captured the moment from a building across the street, posted video of crowd pushed successfully pushing the vehicle onto firmer ground — to raucous cheers.
“Reason #1,486 why I love this city,” Marino wrote.
5. The parade surprised at least one visitor
The Patriots parade was crazy enough for those who were expecting it. Imagine if you had no idea what you were getting into.
English actor and writer Stephen Merchant says he ended up right in the middle of the madness while in Boston promoting his new film.