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scenes from the parade

Of GOATs, revenge, euphoria, and fandom without end

A Patriots fan carried a cutout in the shape of a goat Tuesday for the “GOAT” nickname many have given to Tom Brady.Steve Annear/globe staff

The New England Patriots victory parade started behind schedule and the duck boats headed down Boylston Street amid snow flurries, but the throngs along the route, hoping for a chance to see Tom Brady and his teammates, weren’t going anywhere.

And after the duck boats, the players, and the shiny Lombardi trophies rumbled past, people had new memories to talk about.

“Seeing Tom Brady was surreal. It was one of the greatest moments of my life. That man is my God. TB12 is the ‘GOAT’ [an acronym for Greatest of All Time]. Five Super Bowl rings, unmatched,” said Nick Morrison, 18, a student at Western New England University.


“I skipped two classes today. I don’t care about my grades. I needed to see my boys,” he said across from the Hynes Convention Center.

Morrison’s roommate, Bailey Masser, was nearly, but not completely, speechless.

“The trophy went by, dude, I can’t even express the feeling, bro,’’ said Masser. “Go Pats!”


As the duck boats rumbled closer to the Boston Public Library on Boylston Street, people hoisted children onto their shoulders and their cellphones into the air.

“Bring the GOAT!” screamed a group that had clambered up onto on a stone bench, referring to an acronym for “Greatest of All Time,” which people have been using to refer to Brady.

“They’re comiiiiiiiing!” screeched one girl, her hands pressed to her mouth. “Oh, my God!”

“It’s them, it’s them!” said another person.

“I hope he says something!” said somebody else.

Gusts of red-and-blue confetti heralded the players’ arrival. The normally phlegmatic coach, Bill Belichick, summoned smiles and nods, Brady held the trophy aloft, and wide receiver Julian Edelman led the bellowing crowd in a chant of “1, 2, 3, 4, 5!” referring to the number of Super Bowl victories the team has notched since 2002.


As soon as the parade had passed, people began streaming away, suddenly aware of their soaking wet pants and dripping faces.


Around 11:26 a.m., as the parade started, there was a sea of shivering, snow-speckled Pats fans standing near City Hall.

No one could be heard complaining, despite the miserable conditions.

“It’s New England weather,’ said Charles Curry, 50, of Taunton. ‘I actually think it’s better. Football is meant to be played in weather like this!”

Annie Cushing, wearing a football helmet with five look-alike Super Bowl trophy decals, scoffed at the weather.

“I sell hot chocolate up and down the stands at Gillette Stadium!’ said the 24-year-old from Quincy.


The main branch of the Boston Public Library was bedecked with a blue-and-red banner with emphatic punctuation that flapped in the strong breeze.

“Best. Story. Ever,” it said.

At the Hynes Convention Center, Will Reed arrived early, and had a distinctive way of celebrating Pats quarterback Tom Brady. He wore a goat mask, a reference to the GOAT acronym.

“It was the greatest Super Bowl of all time, won by the greatest of all time,” said Reed. “There’s no one else better to win the best Super Bowl of all time than the Patriots.”

Kyle Davis, 30, drove from New Hampshire over the weekend and stayed the night at Reed’s.

The pair watched the Super Bowl again Monday night, to relive the glory before Tuesday’s rally.

“It was just a range of emotions,” he said, a Patriots scarf knotted around his neck. “The whole process was unreal.”


Some distance away on Boylston Street, the stars aligned for Casey Fanning and Felicia Curreri, both 21. The two Framingham State students didn’t have classes scheduled until the afternoon, which would give them plenty of time to cheer the Patriots as they passed by on Boylston Street.

“It worked out,” said Fanning, arms pressed tight against her sides to keep warm.

“Sweet revenge,” said Curreri.


They even came from New Jersey.

Michael Liguori, 39, of Scotch Plains, drove to Boston overnight to watch the parade at City Hall Plaza with his wife, Melissa, and their two children, 7 and 4, who clutched footballs as they waited for their heroes.

“The first football I saw was the ‘85 Super Bowl,” in which the Patriots played, “and I’ve been a Pats fan ever since,” Liguori said. “Now I’m raising the next generation of Patriots fans.”


After the thrilling Super Bowl victory in 2014, Ron Vecchione Sr. ordered a varsity letterman-style jacket to commemorate the Patriots’ run of championships. Now, he happily acknowledged, his threads are out of date.

Vecchione and his son Ron Jr. arrived early for the parade, and they said they couldn’t believe their good fortune.

“It’s the best championship Super Bowl ever,” the elder Vecchione declared, expressing a view that seemed widely shared.

Vecchione Jr. acknowledged that the curse-breaking Red Sox World Series victory in 2004 was, in fact, the best moment of his sports fanhood, but said, “This was awesome.”


Matthew Veiga, of Brockton, said, “The way they won it and how they did it, it’s amazing.”


Nine kids? No problem.

Chip Salyards drove an hour-and-a-half from Hopkinton with his wife, Wende, and nine kids — five of them are their own — to witness the parade.

Wearing a hat that looked like a bear’s head, he said the cold was nothing to be bothered by.

“Definitely worth celebrating another victory for the Krafts, and Brady and the whole team,” he said. “Awesome.”

He said the family never gave up hope, and remained positive even when the team was trailing far behind the Atlanta Falcons.

“It was a little nerve-wracking,” he said. “But we never gave up.”


By 9 a.m., thousands of people had already packed the parade route along Boylston Street, waving signs, flashing Patriots gear, and shouting unprintable chants about NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Justin Druke, a 29-year-old Patriots fan from Manhattan whose love of New England sports teams grew in the summers of his childhood listening to Red Sox games with his dad, wore a bright American flag suit and fielded high-fives from admirers in the crowd.

“I feel like the city of Boston has never gotten used to these,” he said of the championship parade. “I love the atmosphere.’’

Druke had restrained himself from traveling immediately to Boston Sunday night to celebrate. He settled instead for Monday morning. The suit, he said, was from a bachelor party — and his friends had told him he’d never find another reason to wear it.


“I was, like, ‘Trust me,’” he said.

It’s hard to compare this Super Bowl to past wins, he said, but it stands out because it silenced Patriots critics once and for all.

“Boston has been screaming, ‘Tom Brady is the best!’ for a long time and people have been fighting us,” he said. “Because of this one, that fight is over.”


Follow the journalism of the Boston Globe Metro staff @GlobeMetro.