Celebrating with good behavior

To those who are well beyond their prime partying years, one ritual in the celebration of a hometown championship has never really computed.

Why do college-aged fans find it necessary to chuck beer cans through windows, start fights, set fires and tip over cars as they pour out of the bars and hold impromptu street parties?

Taking it to the streets is, in and of itself, a mostly harmless. Sunday night, with the Patriots rallying from a 25-point deficit to win the Super Bowl in overtime, some revelers likely considered an extended celebration obligatory.

In Boston, since Fenway Park is so close to Northeastern and Boston University, the college kids often congregate at one of the many establishments in and around the ancient and venerated yard. And it is possible to hail their team without destroying property or instigating general mayhem.

Tragedy from the street mobs has not been frequent, but it has been notable, the worst coming when an Emerson College student was shot in the eye by a stray "pepper spray projectile" as the Boston Police Department called it. With the crowds in the Kenmore Square area jammed, with ambulances unable to reach her, with Brookline Ave. medical centers less than one mile away. She died after losing a massive amount of blood through the wound.

With 10 Boston/New England championships since the Patriots’ first Super Bowl title in February, 2002, the Hub’s police have had plenty of experience honing their crowd control skills. Before this Patriots championships, the BPD closed many streets in and around Kenmore Square, as well as neighborhoods near the schools and near the TD Garden. They also increased police presence in the leading party zones.

The result in the targeted areas: Zero arrests were recorded Sunday night and into early Monday morning. Crowds remained on the streets well beyond the end of the game, but managed to celebrate Tom Brady’s fifth Super Bowl title without resorting to destruction.

Durham police say that upwards of 3,000 University of New Hampshire students took over Main Street. Three arrests were made, and there was significant damage to two cars caused by people jumping on top of them.

But there were no reported injuries. And some of the fans are said to have brought trash bags with them to do some post-party cleanup.

New Englanders too young to remember the Pats’ role as the NFL’s lovable losers seem to be learning how to celebrate Super Bowl wins in style.