PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia’s mayor on Friday praised fans for their largely peaceful revelry at the Eagles’ Super Bowl parade, noting only a few “small hiccups” during a celebration that included two stabbings, a toppled Jumbotron and the assault of an officer.
Police reported two arrests as hundreds of thousands of people wearing green, many of them overcome with equal parts joy and relief after the Eagles’ first Super Bowl victory, crowded the city for a party nearly 60 years in the making.
“I don’t think many people would argue when I say this week has been one of the greatest weeks in Philadelphia history,” said Mayor Jim Kenney, adding that the event mostly “went off without a hitch.”
Any foul play during the parade was minor, said Police Commissioner Richard Ross, who tallied damage such as four police cars dented by fans climbing on them, two stabbing victims who are expected to survive, an officer who was assaulted by a woman trying to get onto the parade route and two arrests for assault. People attempting to scale a Jumbotron knocked over the huge video screen.
Maintenance crews worked overnight, picking up trash left behind by fans who watched the team travel in open-top double decker buses from their stadium to the art museum steps made famous in the “Rocky” movies. Coach Doug Pederson walked part of the 5-mile route while carrying the Lombardi Trophy, allowing fans to touch the gleaming hardware. Center Jason Kelce, wearing what looked like a genie outfit, gave voice to every frustrated Philly fan with an impassioned and profane speech.
“We were a bunch of underdogs,” shouted Kelce, channeling Rocky. “Bottom line is we wanted it more!”
Thursday’s parade was tame in comparison to impromptu celebration that broke out Sunday after the Eagles’ defeated the New England Patriots 41-33. In the hours after the Super Bowl victory, fans overturned a car, shattered storefront windows, ate horse feces, collapsed a hotel’s awning and hit the police commissioner in the head with a bottle.
Parade organizers prepared for as many as 2 million people.
Crowd safety experts commissioned by The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News put the number at about 700,000, based on an examination of photos of the parade route. But city Emergency Operators Director Dan Bradley said he felt the number was higher than that.
The parade cost is still being calculated, the mayor said.
The celebration apparently let down at least a few fans who took to social media to fume about how an double-length bus stopped directly in front of a section of the crowd just as the parade cruised by. One person wrote that she had waited in the cold for six hours for nothing.
“We’re absolutely sorry that it happened,” says a message posted on the city’s official Twitter account, adding that the bus was carrying police officers. “A parade of this magnitude is obviously an extremely fluid situation and our first concern is always public safety.”
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