"Mea Lanakila" = "Champion" in Hawaiian
But the Seahawks’ Hawaiian-born center was not able to play in the NFL all-star game in Honolulu on Jan. 26 because he was en route to New Jersey to prepare for his team’s Super Bowl XLVIII matchup against the AFC Champion Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium on Feb. 2.
As the players were getting off the bus on that last Sunday evening in January to enter the Westin Jersey City, which the Seahawks would call home for the week, Unger was asked if he missed not being able to play in the Pro Bowl.
His response? First, there was one of those Unger-esque glances that screamed, “Are you kidding?” That was followed by, “No, I’m just fine right where I am.”
But the significance of the Pro Bowl being played in Honolulu is not lost on Unger, who was born and raised in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island.
“Just being able to have the best football players in the world be in Hawaii and having the fans be able to come out and see these guys and kind of interact with them at the practices and finally at the game, it’s cool,” Unger said, standing at midfield at Aloha Stadium after the 2013 Pro Bowl. “It’s kind of trippy seeing everybody here in Oahu.”
Just as being voted to and playing in the Pro Bowl is an extra-special trip for the Hawaiian-born Unger. Not as special, however, as helping his team win the first Super Bowl in franchise history.
So for everything Unger did to help the Seahawks do just that – and especially the way he did it – we wish him Hau’oli la Hanau (Hawaiian for Happy Birthday) on his special day.
And today adds another candle to the cake. Thanks for the Bday love everyone! 28 years young and many more to go— Max Unger (@MaxUnger60) April 15, 2014