GREEN BAY, Wis. - Thousands of exhausted but euphoric Green Bay Packers fans lined streets, including Lombardi Avenue, on Monday to greet the team on its return to the city as Super Bowl champions.
Green Bay schools dismissed early Monday and people took off work so they could see the team as it traveled from Austin Straubel International Airport to Lambeau Field.
Ashley Ellis, 17, and her friend, 18-year-old Erica Christensen, of suburban Milwaukee, drove to Green Bay at 5 a.m. Monday to stake out a spot for the team's welcome home parade and buy Packers Super Bowl gear.
The Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 to win the Super Bowl on Sunday in Arlington, Texas.
The Packers received a hero's welcome when their plane touched down in Green Bay.
"We're a community-owned football team. You can see all the fingerprints on our trophy. It was passed around and everybody had a lot of fun with it," said Packers coach Mike McCarthy.
With a police and fire truck escort, the team slowly returned to its home, Lambeau Field.
Fans were excited to welcome home their world champions and the Lombardi Trophy.
"It's just awesome. We're so proud; very, very proud," said one fan.
"I just got back from Dallas. I'm here to welcome them back in Green Bay -- go Packers!" said another fan.
Packers fans didn't waste any time buying world champion merchandise Monday, and that has kept some businesses busy.
Sconnie Nation said it had its best weekend in company history because of the Packers. The company said it's still catching up on Internet orders after the Packers' Super Bowl victory.
Steve Blevins, of Underground Printing/Sconnie Nation, said the store sold out of some Packers merchandise but expects to have more at the store Tuesday.
While the Packers have returned to Green Bay, the big celebration is set for Tuesday. A welcome home party called Return to Titletown is set for 4 p.m. at Lambeau Field. There are still $5 tickets available for the rally.
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