BOSTON (CBS) — The New England Patriots received a warm welcome from more than one million fans on an unusually warm February day in downtown Boston to celebrate their sixth Super Bowl title.
There were people as far as the eye could see along the two-mile parade route of Duck Boats, which started late Tuesday morning on Boylston Street and rolled past massive crowds on the sidewalks all the way to City Hall Plaza. City officials estimate 1.5 million people attended the rolling rally.
Photos: Patriots Super Bowl Parade
The record warmth, with temperatures into the mid-60’s, drew so many Patriots fans they overwhelmed the MBTA’s buses, subways and commuter rail lines. Keolis, which operates the commuter rail, said it was their “highest ridership ever.” They were anticipating similar size crowds in the afternoon as well.
Fans started lining the parade route well before sunrise Tuesday and the sides of the streets were full by mid-morning. The crowd was larger than usual with temperatures into the 60’s, making it feel more like the first week of May and not the beginning of February.
The Patriots left Gillette Stadium in Foxboro on several buses around 9:45 a.m. and arrived in Boston shortly before 10:30 a.m. The parade started a few minutes late, just after 11 a.m., as the Patriots players, coaches and their families rolled out on several Duck Boats with all six Lombardi trophies to show off to their rabid fans.
Several players, including center David Andrews and tight end Rob Gronkowski, took advantage of the warm weather and shed their shirts for the crowd.
The turnout and the sunshine definitely helped put a smile on head coach Bill Belichick’s face. Tom Brady brought his children with him and wore a new shirt with the number 6 on it, one for each Super Bowl title.
At times, the crowd chanted “We want seven!” as the players rolled by and red, white and blue confetti flew through the air.
“Feels great man, after a long season to celebrate with the fans,” linebacker Elandon Roberts told WBZ-TV.
Unlike past championship parades, there was not a rally in City Hall Plaza once the procession ended. The players hopped back on their buses and rode back to Foxboro.
WBZ-TV’s Louisa Moller reports on the parade cleanup
Boston Public Schools said the number of absences Tuesday was about 2,000 more than a typical day.
No major incidents or injuries were reported. Boston EMS said it took nine people to hospitals for what they called “event-related” incidents. Fourteen people were arrested, according to Boston Police.