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Count the Kerneys among all-in Seahawks fans
You might think that among NFL suits and New York media there would be precious few folks willing to go all-in as Seahawks fans. But you would be wrong.
Counting themselves among the 12s are two Big Apple transplants with strong ties to Seattle. Patrick Kerney and his wife Lisa (Gangel) are unabashed fans who plan to don Hawks gear with pride and heartily cheer the Hawks on Sunday.
“We have tickets in hand and we are heading to MetLife,” says Lisa, a former sports reporter for KING 5, “and I’ll be decked out in my 97 Kerney jersey, no doubt.”
Patrick wore the 97 with distinction for the Seahawks as a Pro Bowl defensive end from 2007 through 2009. After a career-best 14.5 sacks in ’07 he was voted NFC Defensive Player of the Year.
“I have my old Seahawks jacket and hat so I’ll have plenty of gear to reflect my loyalties,” assures Patrick.
What’s New on the Job Front
Last fall Patrick joined the NFL as Vice President of Player Benefits and NFL Legends Operations. Next month Lisa moves to ESPN as a SportsCenter host. Earlier this week she wrapped up her role as morning sports anchor for CBS New York.
“I had a hard time on the air, not full-on rooting for the Seahawks as we lead up to the Super Bowl,” admits Lisa. “(My CBS exit) is perfect timing because now I can really, truly be a fan and go all out.”
Out and about in Manhattan this week and re-connecting with some friends and former colleagues from Seattle, Lisa says the city’s Super Bowl vibe is palpable.
“Having a Super Bowl in New York, you wonder if this event can get swallowed up in all the other things going on,” she says. “But the city has really embraced it being here. I see Hawks and Broncos jerseys and other NFL jerseys being worn and fans are genuinely excited and proud to host the Super Bowl here.”
Whereas media are expected to remain somewhat objective, Patrick shares that many of the offices and cubes at the NFL headquarters on Park Avenue are adorned with team colors. “There’s enough people who have their favorite team memorabilia all over the office that I think I’m good to go cheering for the Hawks.”
After Patrick’s playing days were completed the Kerneys moved east so he could pursue an MBA in Finance at Columbia. Now a family of four, with young daughters Ashley (2) and Brynn (5 ½ months), they live in the Connecticut suburbs, roughly halfway between the city and Lisa’s new commute to Bristol.
Since retiring it has been Patrick’s desire is to help fellow NFL alumni understand and manage their lifetime financial picture. He spent a year privately consulting before being hired by the league in October.
“Our long term plan is to make the NFL the lifelong positive experience that it should be for the vast majority of guys,” says Patrick. “It’s incredibly rewarding.”
They Saw It Coming
“I saw this coming,” Patrick says, “but it’s hard to do, hard to focus when you have all the preseason hype. It helps having a levelheaded guy like Russell Wilson at the helm to weather that hype. And then taking an already great defense and adding Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett, things are looking pretty good.”
Lisa sees something of a halo effect for the Super Hawks.
“Remembering back to 2005, from the very beginning that year the ball bounced just right for the Seahawks,” she recalls. “Much like that, this year they’ve made all the big plays–whether it came on offense, defense or special teams–magic plays. It just feels like this is the year they will make it happen.”