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12th Fan View - Super Bowl XLVIII vs Denver Broncos
With the victory in the NFC Championship Game, the Seattle Seahawks put me in a bind. I so desperately wanted to go to the Super Bowl. I’ve been a football fan for more than forty years, and I always wanted to attend the “big game.”
My formative years were spent cheering for the Minnesota Vikings, as there were no Seahawks at that point. These younger days cheering for a Vikings team that never produced a Super Bowl champion were a foreboding for what was to come after I switched allegiances to the Seahawks when I moved to the Seattle area in the early 1980’s. Thirty-plus years later, my team still hadn’t won a championship.
When I learned my seats were not pulled in the lottery to be able to purchase tickets for the game, I immediately gave up hope for attending. There was no way I could ever afford to pay the after-market price for a ticket, airfare, hotel, etc. Serendipity was required, and several things fell together to allow me to realize a life-long dream of attending the Super Bowl.
The first amazing thing that happened was being offered a ticket at face value. The kind soul making the offer was long-time season ticket holder Steve Johnson. Steve sits one row in front of me every home game, and we’ve come to become slightly familiar with each other over the years. He was granted tickets in the “long-time fan” drawing held by the Seahawks. Steve has been a season ticket holder since 1977, the team’s second season. I thought about the situation: my team is in the Super Bowl; my 50th birthday is 3 days after the game, it could be a birthday present to myself; a chance at face-value tickets. There was no way I could not jump at this opportunity. I was still concerned with the damage my wallet would suffer for the last-minute airfare and accommodations. Applying good travel search cost-saving principles, I found roundtrip airfare to Philadelphia for slightly more than $300. I also found a deal on two bedrooms in a condo overlooking the Hudson River and the skyline of Manhattan for $120/night.
And while I had extreme good luck in finding bargains for airfare and a place to crash, it was still going to be very painful on my wallet. But hey, it’s gonna be my 50th birthday, so why not? YOLO, right?
That is when my good friends at SeahawkBlue.com came to my rescue. They have been with my video adventures since the beginning back in 2006. They held a community donation which raised a few bucks that helped me proceed without feeling too guilty about doing what I knew I really couldn’t afford to do. A hearty “thank you” to all the members that contributed.
We left Seattle in the wee hours of Saturday, February 1. Our plane left at 6:40 a.m. PT, with our itinerary routing us through Dallas/Fort Worth, to Philadelphia, then onward to Union City in our version of “Planes, Trains and Automobiles.” Two planes, three trains and two automobiles later, we arrived at the rather well-appointed condo at a little after 10 p.m. ET.
Our host, Shampee, served us a tasty beverage and after chatting with him for a while, we crashed for the night. I couldn’t believe the place we were staying. We each had our own room, and the Manhattan skyline with the Empire State Building resplendent in Seahawks blue and green was a thing of beauty.
On Super Bowl Sunday we walked to a Puerto Rican restaurant and had some huevos, watching the local newscasts and their coverage of the event. There was no use in rushing to the stadium, as the trains didn’t even begin to run to the Meadowlands until almost 2 p.m. We went back to the condo and hung out for a short while, getting antsier by the minute.
We walked down to the light rail station, traveling to Hoboken Terminal where we would board a commuter train to the big game. That’s when it really started sinking in that we were going to the Super Bowl. There was...the enemy! Denver Broncos fans and their obnoxiously loud orange jerseys were seemingly everywhere. I knew it was just an optical illusion, though. Orange is highly visible and its mere presence makes it look like there is more of it.
The crowd waiting to board the trains in Hoboken were pretty evenly divided: one-third Seahawks fans, one-third Broncos fans, and one-third locals. It was easy to tell which ones were locals. They weren’t wearing Seahawks or Broncos gear! And they spoke funny, too. Hmmm.
Being the good-natured sort I am, I struck up conversations with several of the locals. The few I spoke with were definitely rooting for the Seahawks, because they couldn’t stand Peyton Manning and all the love lavished upon him during the week. Oh, yeah, and they experienced the Legion of Boom firsthand less than two months prior, when the Seahawks decimated the New York Giants 23-0. They knew what was up.
After transferring to the Meadowlands train at Secaucus Junction, we arrived at MetLife Stadium at about 2:30 p.m. We circled around the outside of the security perimeter and found a line with a lot fewer people in it trying to get through security. At last, we were at the Super Bowl!
I was very disappointed in the atmosphere around the stadium. This is the Super Bowl. I figured the atmosphere around the stadium would be like around CenturyLink Field. There is a slight problem with that, though.There is absolutely nothing in the area around MetLife Stadium. Nothing.
We took a peek at a few of the exhibits -er- commercials in the “Fan Zone” inside the security perimeter and realized it was time to head into the stadium and up to our seats. I am glad we got there as early as we did, though, to avoid the rush at the train terminals game time neared.
The next few hours seemed to take forever, watching the pregame warmups and waiting for the pomp and circumstance signaling game time. I circled the stadium a couple of times, taking in views from many angles. I ran into the Seahawks fan I met the night before at the subway station in Philadelphia. But I did not see anybody else I knew, which was a disappointment.
At last, the ceremonies began, and it was incredible. You never really think about what it takes to pull this off while you’re watching it on TV. The parade of entertainment before the game (and during halftime), including stage-building and deconstruction, is simply amazing. “America the Beautiful” and the National Anthem were done beautifully and immediately followed with a rather impressive military helicopter flyover. It was especially impressive from my seat, where it seemed as though they were not very far overhead.
And at last, game time.
I don’t think I need to rehash what happened there, even though we ALL love talking about it. Nearly everything went just about perfectly for the Seahawks. From the first snap of the game, it belonged to the ‘Hawks. No. 12 was definitely in the stadium, and was definitely heard. I often thought I was at CenturyLink Field, save for the different view and my team wearing white. That is how loud the 12s were in the stadium. I don’t know what it sounded like on TV, but in person, No. 12 was all over it.
The Seahawks defense was all over it, too. If people weren’t taking them seriously before this game, they learned a little something we have known up around these parts for a couple of years. This defense is phenomenal. The “Legion of Boom,” as Richard Sherman pointed out during the victory celebration at CenturyLink Field on Wednesday the Feb. 5 (my 50th birthday!), isn’t limited to the secondary. It consists of every single man that plays defense. And that was blatantly obvious to even the most casual observer during Super Bowl XLVIII.
The Legion of Boom dominated the supposed “best offense in the history of the NFL.” They knew their game plan, and they executed it to perfection. Allow the short crossing routes and make sure tackles, while being as physically punishing as possible in the process. Why change your M-O from what it’s been all season?
Kam Chancellor made a statement of how the game would be played on the second successful snap by the Broncos. He laid into Demaryius Thomas and sent the Broncos’ star receiver flying backwards five yards. That statement was, “We’ll give you that five yards, but it’s going to cost you pain.”
The defensive front pressured future Hall-of-Famer Peyton Manning all day long, getting in his face, forcing him off his “spot” and hurrying throws. That allowed Chancellor to intercept a Manning duck late in the first quarter. It also allowed eventual Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith to intercept Manning, as well, and return his for a touchdown midway through the second quarter. The pressure only sacked Manning once, late in the 4th quarter (the play also resulted in a fumble), but you don’t have to notch the sack to be successful with this defense.
The offense was doing enough with the opportunities presented to them. Before the historical Broncos offense had logged a first down, the Seahawks had amassed nearly 150 yards of offense and 13 offensive points in three drives. Any hope the Broncos fans may have had for a historical comeback from a 22-0 halftime deficit was quickly crushed when Percy Harvin returned the second half kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown. Carroll has said they got him to push the team over the top. After that return, I would say they got exactly what they wanted out of Mr. Harvin.
The “pedestrian” receivers Jermaine Kearse and Doug Baldwin ran over and through (respectively) the Broncos defense for touchdowns late in the second half. Kearse’s TD made it 36-0 and Baldwin’s rounded out the scoring at 43-8. Russell Wilson had a steady-Eddie day, completing 72% of his passes with those 2 TDs and a rating of 123.1.
Peyton Manning finished with a Super Bowl record 34 completions in 49 attempts, but with only 280 yards in those 34 completions. Those two big interceptions and a 5.7 yards-per-reception brought Manning’s rating down to a – ahem - “pedestrian” 73.5.
Ultimately, the defense held the Broncos to a mere eight points. The Broncos averaged almost 40 per game during the regular season. I so wished for the first shutout in Super Bowl history, but a touchdown to Thomas on the final play of the third quarter ended that hope. Regardless, the display by the Legion of Boom was more than enough.
I am so proud of this team. I am in awe of the job done by John Schneider and Pete Carroll. To see how far this team has come in their four years is incredible. Their knack of finding extremely talented individuals in the later rounds of the draft and in free agency has made this team the deepest in the NFL. That depth showed itself and carried the team through some rough patches throughout the season.
At long last, we 12s can look at each other and know all of the long years spent rooting for this franchise were not in vain. At last, we can say, “The Seattle Seahawks are World Champions!” Take great pride in that, 12s. Many of us have been carrying that burden around for many years. It feels great to be able to say that.
I am especially happy for all the old-timers, like my travel partner Steve, who have been rooting for this team since its inception. To have several old-timers in the area of my seats was especially awesome, and to see them so happy...really made me feel great for them. I know Pete Gross is looking down and smiling.
I am so glad I decided to treat myself to this 50th birthday present. It is an experience that will last (what’s left of) a lifetime. And then, to have the victory parade/celebration on my 50th birthday was just the kicker of all kickers. It just doesn’t get much better than that.
The Seattle Seahawks, Super Bowl XLVIII Champions! That certainly has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
I would like to thank the Seahawks for hosting my videos and letting my voice be heard. They certainly did not have to, and the fact that they allow me to continue to produce these videos makes me feel very special. Thank you, Dave Pearson, Rich Gonzales, and Tony Drovetto for allowing me to keep on making fellow 12s happy with my videos.
And fellow 12s, it is so nice when you recognize me at the game and say, “Hi!” I enjoy meeting fellow 12s, and it makes me feel like I’m doing something worthwhile when I hear how much you like my videos. It busts me up tremendously to see grown men act like little kids when they meet “the guy that does the videos!” And it touches my heart to hear that father and son watch my videos together. That blows me away. All I can say is, “I’m glad you enjoy my videos, and I hope to keep bringing them to you in the future.”
And allow me to apologize for the jumpiness of the video and the sparsity of footage late in the game. It was new equipment I was working with, and it shows here. I was worried about battery life/amount of memory left. I wanted to get all of the celebration after the game.
Thanks for all your support, and GO ‘HAWKS! RE-PETE! RE-PETE! RE-PETE!