New York, Part One: 43-8?!

To every other trip I take in the future: Good luck topping this one!

There’s something most people outside of Seattle don’t understand, and that is the way we as a city expect to be disappointed, especially by our sports teams. Oh, the Mariners won 116 games in one season? Of course they’ll go to the World Series. Nope. So when we’re watching our team—the one we’ve been following for years, through the good and the bad—not only beat everyone’s expectations, but completely annihilate them, disbelief is a pretty natural reaction. Is this a trick? Is this really happening? Is nearly every play going our way, on offense and defense? Amazing. That’s the only word for what happened. We knew they could do it, and they did. The Seattle Seahawks are the champions of Super Bowl XLVIII, and I was there. I saw it happen in person, without colorful commentary provided by east coasters who love to fawn over the Mannings and Bradys of the world, who said choosing Russell Wilson in the 2012 draft was the worst decision Pete Carroll could have made.

But let’s back up a bit, and go through the full trip. (Warning: This will be long!)

On (Blue) Friday, after some car2go trouble and dropping off my dog with the sitter, I made it to the airport (with no time to spare) and to a gate completely made up of fellow 12s. I think everyone on the plane was Super Bowl-bound, excited to be making the trip to support the team. Chants of “Sea!” “Hawks!” filled the plane, and pictures were taken. Once we’d been in the air for a while, the pilot announced that despite stocking twice the amount of alcohol as they would normally have on a flight, we’d gone through it all. They did placate everyone with bags of Skittles, though, so the trip was off to a great start!

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After we landed in Newark and I managed to find my way to the train into the city, I met up with friends at Penn Station: Raj’s flight got in that morning, and Jessica (coincidentally) had just moved to New York three days earlier. Raj had heard about a Seattle bar on the Upper East Side, Carlow East, so we headed there after I dropped my bags off at the hotel. Let me just say that based on the turnout at this bar, I was confident the 12s were going to be in full-force all weekend. There were Seahawk jerseys, Skittles, and 12th Man flags as far as the eye could see, and everyone became fast friends, comparing seat locations and offering tips on where to go for all things Super Bowl.

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After finishing our beers, we walked next door to Mimi’s Pizza. Several other 12s had the same idea, because the whole back section became a little Seattle party. People even wanted to buy my awesome hat, with offers ranging from $50 to $100. And no, I didn’t take anyone up on it. Later, Jessica left for Brooklyn, while Raj and I got one more beer at The Thirsty Fan in Midtown before heading back to the hotel.

The next day started with our first New York bagels, and then we met up with Mariana and Luther at Super Bowl Boulevard along Broadway. That place was insane. So many people. I’m generally not too bothered by crowds, but it’s a little different when those crowds are literally not moving. Still, we walked around and saw what we could, sometimes conceding to take pictures from far away.

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Once the sea of people became more overwhelming, we decided to get drinks at a dive-y bar, Jimmy’s Corner, where I soon discovered that I’d lost my driver’s license. I frantically called Mimi’s Pizza, where I’d last been carded (because, yes, I get carded 90 percent of the time I order alcohol), but they couldn’t find it. I had to transfer the Super Bowl tickets from my name to Raj’s (priority number one), and then Mariana and I headed to the police station to file a report for lost property. I felt terrible that she was doing such a not-so-fun thing with me when she came to enjoy the Super Bowl festivities, but I was glad to have the company and the chance to catch up in person while we walked block after block. (Side note: It was a little too meta that the cops were watching Law & Order: SVU.) After taking care of the ID issue (as much as was possible, anyway), we met back up with everyone else amid a huge crowd at FOX Sports. I still don’t know why Andy Roddick was commentating on football, but we were excited to see him, regardless. The night ended with some delish burgers at Shake Shack and two for $5 PBRs a block from the hotel. Who can say no to that? Certainly not us!

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Super Bowl Sunday started early with a free breakfast at the hotel before bundling up for hours spent outside. Would six layers be enough?! Did I need snow pants? How about a blanket? No, I would need none of that, but with the exception of the snow pants, I brought it all, only to find that it was nearly 50 degrees at kick-off. Once we were all Seahawked up, we headed to Secaucus to pick up our tickets from StubHub. Along with the ticket purchase we were given entrance to their SubZero Experience “tailgate”-like event, and thanks to someone who was either very gullible or really didn’t care, Mariana and Luther were able to get in, as well. We all drank beer and Cokes diluted with whiskey, watched pre-game footage on giant TVs, and met former Seahawks receiver Steve Largent before finally heading to MetLife Stadium.

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More crowds. More lines. A bit of unorganized chaos. But we eventually got into the stadium and found our seats (Mariana and Luther on one side of the stadium, Raj and I on the other). Being on the Broncos sideline, there weren’t too many other 12s near us, but we made friends with those we did find. As for the game, well, I don’t even know what to say. From the opening safety to the multiple turnovers, all four quarters went in our favor. Russell Wilson was never sacked, Marshawn Lynch got a touchdown and a Skittle shower, and Percy Harvin, who was out of commission for almost the whole season, blew past every deflated Bronco to score on a kickoff return 12 seconds into the second half. 43-8. Just amazing. Amazing! While the Broncos fans started leaving during the 3rd quarter, the Seahawks fans just kept looking at each other in disbelief, trying to comprehend the fact that our team was about to win the Super Bowl. For real. And they didn’t just win, they completely dominated in every aspect of the game. No one expected such a blow out, including us, and that just made it even sweeter. After the fireworks ended, I met up with my cousin Adam for a quick celebratory picture, and then rejoined Mariana and Luther. We all made our way to the 100-level to get closer to the celebration and gather up some confetti.

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Leaving the game was a bit of a disaster due to the train situation. I’m not sure what time we left the stadium, but we didn’t get back to New York City until after 1am. With such a long time between then and the actual end of the game, it was hard to muster up the energy to celebrate properly (like the people going insane in the streets of Seattle), but we made the effort and ended up at Carlow East again, which was still completely packed with Seahawk fans after 2am. It was good to be around our people, including several dudes shedding happy tears.

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We left the bar at 4am as it started to snow, and headed to an all-night diner for a very early breakfast where we found even more 12s, a couple Seagals, and some sad Bronco fans in a corner. After eating the worst eggs benedict of my life, we went back to the hotel and finally made it to bed by 6am. It was a long day and night (and morning), but well-worth the money and sleep-deprivation for such a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I am so glad I listened to everyone who said I should go, and that all the pieces came together, not to mention the fact that the SEAHAWKS WON THE SUPER BOWL. Saying that will never get old.