I was a senior in high school when the Patriots won their first championship, and I luckily got a chance to go to the parade. Well, it wasn’t really a parade, back then it was just a rally at City Hall Plaza. For various reasons, I hadn’t been to any of the 11, yes 11, parades since. This year, I decided to go, and my parents came with me.
You couldn’t have asked for a better day. Sure, it’s February, but it was 65 and sunny. Some of the players were in hoodies, but a lot were in t-shirts too, and a few even went shirtless. We all expected Rob Gronkowski to lose his shirt, but Jacob Hollister and Dwayne Allen losing theirs was a little unexpected. Also, who know Allen was such a beast?
The parade route was totally jammed. The commuter rail was leaving would be travelers at stations because they were too full to accept any more riders. While there have been no official estimates yet, the MBTA said it was, “almost certainly the highest ridership ever seen on the network.” Boston Police also estimated the crowd at well over a million people. People are not sick of winning. Were there some stupid people there? Of course. You put that many people tougher, and you’re going to find some dummies. But, for the most part, the crowds were fantastic.
The people in my area were throwing a mini football (with a Saints logo on it) back and forth across the street. When it didn’t make it, a dad would lift his little girl over the railing and she’d run to get it. Much to the delight of the crowds, and the police, waiting for the parade to start. There was also a boy on his dad’s shoulders close to me, and when he caught the ball once, he got a nice hand, when he caught another pass, the crowd went nuts. We engaged in small talk, talking about our families, or the game, or what lies ahead for the Patriots. We had almost two hours to kill, after all.
As the duck boats approached, you could feel the energy from the crowd start to build. When Robert Kraft’s boat, the first boat, went by, with his yelling to the crowd while holding a Lombardi trophy, the crowd was as loud as any game at Gillette this year. There were moments that may have been more memorable than others. It’s always cool to see Tom Brady up close, and Rob Gronkowski partying is a sight to be seen. There were the defensive backs, led by the McCourty twins, blasting music and dancing.
The offensive line, with a shirtless David Andrews and Trent Brown holding up a toy goat. Julian Edelman, who was greeted with a fantastic “MVP” chant, and the linebackers with Dont’a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy taking turns pumping up the crowd. The most memorable moment for me was seeing a friend of mine, who was on one of the boats. It was cool, in a crowd of over a million people, to share a quick moment with him before his boat continued past.
But the coolest part of all, was to be able to experience it with my parents. Because of our season tickets, the Patriots have been a family affair for as long as I can remember. To be able to share the moments with the people I’ve shared so many other moments with was pretty special. My sister-in-law was there too. She’s the one responsible for most of the pictures you see here, and it was really fun experiencing it with her too. Hopefully for the next one, the whole family is able to come. Imagine another city just assuming there would be another championship parade at some point? My goodness are we lucky to be Boston sports fans.
So the parade was a ton of fun, and if you’ve never been to one, I strongly recommend it. But don’t go in with some random people and get liquored up and do stupid things, like some people did yesterday. Instead, go in with people that you care about, and people that care as much about the team as you do. You’ll have a lot more fun that way.
Pat is the host of The Patriot Nation Podcast
Interact with him on Twitter @plane_pats