Few arrests, untold numbers of fans, lots of love add up to ‘epic’ Eagles celebration

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Hundreds of thousands fill the Parkway in Philadelphia, PA, on February 8, 2018, to celebrate the Philadelphia Eagles winning Super Bowl LII. The Eagles beat the New England Patriots by 41-33. (Bastiaan Slabbers for WHYY)

Hundreds of thousands fill the Parkway in Philadelphia, PA, on February 8, 2018, to celebrate the Philadelphia Eagles winning Super Bowl LII. The Eagles beat the New England Patriots by 41-33. (Bastiaan Slabbers for WHYY)

Overall, Philadelphia’s victory parade for the Eagles went off “without a hitch,” city officials said.

Well over a half-million Birds fans packed the 5-mile route, which started at Broad Street and Pattison Avenue in South Philadelphia and ended at the Philadelphia Museum of Art with passionate speeches from players, coaches and team brass. But neither the Eagles nor city officials would give more specific crowd estimates.

At a news conference Friday,  Mayor Jim Kenney said the vast majority soaked in the city’s first-ever Super Bowl title without bothering anyone or anything.

“I looked out from the Art Museum steps and saw people from all walks of life united by their love of the team and their love of the city,” said Kenney.

Eagles President Don Smolenski was equally pleased with how the parade and celebration turned out.

“It was an epic performance on an epic day, celebrating an epic victory and an epic moment for our city,” said Smolenski.

Police did hand out five citations for disorderly conduct and arrest two people for assault, including a woman who attacked a police officer after she rushed into the parade’s path, said Commissioner Richard Ross.

Police also reported two stabbings in the area of the parade, though it was unclear if they were parade-related. Both victims are expected to survive, said Ross.

In less dire news, four police cruisers were damaged as fans stood on them. Parade organizers also said  a Jumbotron planted outside City Hall was seriously damaged after too many fans climbed on it.

“They broke the hydraulic on it,” said Fred Stein, one of the parade’s producers. He said it will take “tens of thousands” of dollars to repair the giant screen.

As of Wednesday, police had arrested seven suspects in connection to the revelry immediately following the Eagles winning the Super Bowl on Sunday.

On Friday, officials couldn’t provide any specific information about crowd size or the full cost of the parade.

Stein said the Eagles spent between $2 million and $3 million, and doesn’t include direct city expenses, such as garbage removal and police overtime.

Kenney said the city will release its costs,  in the next two weeks

Some estimates after the parade pegged the crowd total at 700,000. On Friday, though, everyone agreed it was well over that, “clearly” more than attendance at the parade to fete the Phillies winning the World Series in 2008.

The crowd that year was estimated at roughly a million.

“It’s a moving target,” said Dan Bradley, Philadelphia’s emergency operations director.

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