There’s nothing quite like watching the Super Bowl in paradise, surrounded by swaying palm trees and crashing surf.
Especially when you’re on the winning side.
But that’s where I found myself a couple of weeks ago as I enjoyed the Seahawks’ 43-8 rout of the Broncos in an idyllic setting on the island of Oahu. Talk about the perfect vacation.
However, my wife Margaret and I were surprised by all the orange that greeted us when we arrived in Hawaii. Broncos fans outnumbered Seahawks fans two-to-one, perhaps three-to-one, and they weren’t exactly bashful.
Attired in neutral colors, we were often asked where our loyalties rested. And when we proudly announced that we were from the state of Washington and Seahawks to the max, Broncos backers almost felt sorry for us.
No way was Peyton Manning to be denied, they proclaimed. The Denver QB had just completed a regular season for the ages and it was his destiny to win Super Bowl XLVIII.
Even one of our sons who lives in Littleton, Colo., was on the Denver bandwagon despite his Pacific Northwest roots. When we reminded him that the Seahawks had a pretty decent quarterback of their own, his response was “Russell who?”
Well, Russell Wilson showed them all who he was, along with a truckload of help from the NFL’s No. 1-ranked defense that turned Manning’s fourth Super Bowl appearance into an all-game-long nightmare. In an era when offense has been on the rise in pro football, the Seahawks proved beyond all reasonable doubt that defense still does win championships.
This Super Bowl was over almost from the start. A bad snap from center on the first play of the game resulted in a safety and a 2-0 Seattle lead, and the Seahawks never looked back.
When Percy Harvin returned the second-half kickoff for a touchdown and a 29-0 Seahawks advantage, the look on Manning’s face on the Broncos bench told it all. This game was over.
Especially so if you believed in symbolism, which another of our sons pointed out to us in a quick text message. The safety, he reported, occurred 12 seconds into the game and Harvin’s return came 12 seconds into the second half, absolute proof in his mind that the Seahawks’ 12th Man was fully involved.
I must confess that I was somewhat apprehensive in the days leading up to the big game. And by kickoff my palms were actually beginning to sweat, because I hadn’t been that emotionally invested in a football game in quite some time.
Besides that, my personal Super Bowl record was a dismal 0-5.
As a longstanding Minnesota Vikings fans, I had suffered through painful Super Bowl defeats in 1970, ’74, ’75 and ’77. Then, in 2006, the Seahawks lost to the Steelers in their first appearance in the title game.
So I was a bit worried that the black cloud that had lingered over my head all of those years might still be there, ready to rain down on Seattle’s faithful fan base. Too much responsibility, I thought.
Not to worry.
As Seattle took control of the game in such short order, I was almost speechless. It was a completely different Super Bowl experience. And as the Seahawks’ lead grew, my fears dissipated.
I will say that I probably felt a little more empathy for the other side than the average Seattle fan. The long faces, the disbelieving looks, the slumped shoulders were all too familiar.
So bright and early Monday morning, I was out on the beach checking for disoriented Broncos fans in need of consolation. There wasn’t a thread of orange to be found.
In fact, we didn’t see another sign of Broncos colors the rest of our stay. But the Seahawks’ silver, green and blue were proudly on display.
Two weeks later they still are.