Boston readies duck boats, umbrellas for Patriots' victory parade

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[February 07, 2017]  By Scott Malone

BOSTON (Reuters) - Hundreds of thousands of New England Patriots fans are expected to brave snow and rain on Tuesday to try to catch a glimpse of the Super Bowl champions as they parade through Boston on World War Two-style amphibious vehicles.

"Fire up the duck boats," was the rallying cry of Mayor Marty Walsh as the city prepared for its fifth National Football League championship parade since 2002, following Sunday night's stunning 34-28, come-from-behind overtime victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Houston.

"We certainly have what I would say is the greatest football franchise in NFL history," Walsh told a news conference at City Hall on Monday. "They made Boston and New England proud yesterday."

The parade will begin at 11 a.m. (1600 GMT) at the Hynes Convention Center, cross the finish line for the Boston Marathon, which was freshly painted on Monday, and end at City Hall.

Walsh advised parade-goers to dress for the forecast of cold weather with a mix of snow and rain, and warned students that schools throughout the city would be open as usual.

Many could be counted on to wear jerseys bearing No. 12, honoring quarterback Tom Brady, who along with head coach Bill Belichick, is credited with steering the team through the most successful period in its 57-year history.

"We can officially retire all arguments about Greatest Of All Time. Brady is the greatest quarterback. And Bill Belichick is the greatest coach," wrote Boston Globe sports columnist Dan Shaughnessy, who noted that the game "might very well be the greatest moment in Boston sports history."

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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (L) presents New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (R) with the Pete Rozelle Trophy as Super Bowl LI most valuable player at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Walsh said security would be high throughout the city on parade day, with sand-filled dump trucks blocking key intersections off the route to prohibit a vehicle-mounted attack. Boston has ratcheted up security at public events since the deadly 2013 bombing attack on the Boston Marathon.

The Patriots' victory capped a season that began with Brady serving a four-game suspension for using under-inflated footballs during the 2015 playoffs, a scandal nicknamed "Deflategate."

The 31-foot (9.5-metre) duck boats, which normally carry sightseers through the city's narrow streets and along the Charles River, have become a fixture of the city's 10 major pro sports championship parades this century, which include three for baseball's Red Sox and one each for the National Hockey League Bruins and National Basketball Association Celtics.

(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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