As the clock ticked down to zero in Super Bowl LIII, many UMass Lowell students rejoiced as the New England Patriots celebrated their sixth Super Bowl victory with a 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams last Sunday night.
As has been tradition every year a New England sports team wins a championship, the River Hawk community paraded around the city of Lowell, shouting with glee and looking for ways to let out all of their energy.
“It was absolute mayhem,” said sophomore Mike LaBonte. “There were maybe a thousand people that were sprinting from Fox [Hall] and going over to North Campus.”
The celebrations did not last particularly long, just about a half hour to an hour, but that did not prevent some students from doing anything stupid.
“There were beer cans and other drinks all over [the streets], and I saw one of my friends climb a light post,” said one student, who wished to remain anonymous. “The cops came before anyone could really do anything too dumb, and I saw some crazy things last year. I did see someone get into a fight, but I couldn’t tell if it was a joke or not.”
Multiple accounts of the evening were recorded on various social media accounts, both from students themselves and non-UMass Lowell affiliated parody accounts. Students were seen throwing snow into the air in celebration, climbing poles and even climbing buildings, which caused for Lowell police and campus security to get involved before anyone got hurt.
James Kohl, Dean of Student Affairs and Enrichment, wrote in his email to the UMass Lowell community prior to Super Bowl Sunday that he recognizes emotions would inevitably run high, regardless of the outcome of the game.
“… while we have all seen reports of fans and students at other colleges reacting disrespectfully after championship wins or losses that has never been our tradition or experience at UMass Lowell. In fact, our students have historically been respectful of each other, our neighbors and our campus. It is a point of pride for our campus, and I’m sure you will carry on that tradition again this year. Members of the university administration, including those from Residence Life, Student Affairs and University Public Safety will be on hand on Sunday to assist you. Please know that we are here to partner with you to keep our campus and surrounding neighborhoods safe…”
For the most part, UMass Lowell students were well behaved. The outdoor celebrations wrapped up quickly, and some residents even got a kick out of the antics.
“Just kids being kids,” said Edith Rainsville, a resident who lives nearby to North Campus. “Lots of talk about Tom Brady and I heard a lot of people yelling about freeing the president and a savage, whatever that means.”
Those yells were likely referencing rapper 21 Savage and Barstool Sports founder Dave “El Pres” Portnoy. It had been reported during the game that the former had been arrested by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for allegedly being in the United States illegally, and the latter was arrested for sneaking into the Super Bowl with a fake disguise after being caught at the NFL’s Media Day with a fake media pass.
“Yeah we were yelling all sorts of stuff,” said LaBonte. “[Expletive] Goodell, free 21 and free Pres.”
“I didn’t think we were doing anything wrong,” said another student who also wished to remain anonymous. “Everything was all in good fun. I was hoping to actually end up on Barstool. We all just went back to our rooms once we were told to break everything up, but it was fun.”