Green Bay, Wis. Thousands of exhausted but euphoric Packers fans welcomed their cherished team home to Green Bay as Super Bowl champions Monday after a nail-biting victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Schools dismissed early, and people took time off work to watch the team’s motorcade travel from Austin Straubel International Airport to Lambeau Field along a route that included Lombardi Avenue, named in honor of the legendary Packers coach Vince Lombardi.
Fans who spent Sunday night partying picked up right where they left off Monday morning, showing up hours early for the parade. They jammed Lambeau’s atrium and clogged the stadium’s pro shop as they bought piles of Super Bowl gear and memorabilia. To make room, the team finally had to herd shoppers and visitors into a line that stretched outside the stadium.
Ashley Ellis, 17, and Erica Christensen, 18, of Oak Creek, went to bed at midnight after celebrating the victory. They were up at 4 a.m. to drive to Green Bay and stake out a spot for the parade. Asked why anyone would get up at 4 a.m. to visit a football stadium, Christensen replied simply.
“Love them,” she said.
By early afternoon throngs of fans in cheeseheads, green and gold beads, jerseys and Packer parkas jammed the team’s route, transforming the streets into human trenches.