Day of the big game. Super Bowl time. My home town team, the Seahawks are going to be playing. It feels great. This town has been bouncing off the walls for weeks now. This team is good. Really good. Seattle has never been mentioned as a great sports town. Our only championship came in the late 70's from a basketball team that is no longer here. That team was pretty much stolen from us. Us football fans also feel like in our last Super Bowl, the game was stolen from us. It's fair to say this city has a huge chip on it's collective shoulder. To have a team this good (#1 defense in the NFL), we feel this is our time now.
The Green Bay Packers were good this year. They won their division and got into the playoffs. They have been really good for quite a while now. Since I have been following football I have been lucky enough to watch them play in 3 Super Bowls and win 2. It is truly an amazing feeling to have your team, the team you have been rooting on for years, play in the biggest game and take home the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Being a Packer fan was almost a birthright. Part of our family came from the Wisconsin area. I have seen pictures of myself as a little kid wearing Packer outfits. For as long as I can remember, well before I started watching football myself, our family cheered for the Pack. There was also another team on my radar. The Hawks. Being so close to Seattle for most of my life, you hear about them a lot. As I got older I realized that having an NFL team so close was something special. My first (and so far only) NFL game was in the old Kingdome. I got to see the Packers come to town and play. Nosebleed seats. Lots of drunk fans. Tons of Packer fans.
As I got older and more and more into football I was rooting for both teams. These are my teams. My family team and my home team. Things were simple back then. Hawks were AFC and Pack were NFC. They would play but not with any regularity. My hope was always to have them meet in a Super Bowl. Then the NFL moved a few teams around and the Hawks came over to the NFC. I would still root for both. It is a weird feeling, though, when they started playing each other almost every year. I always told myself, "Just hope for a good game and who ever wins, wins." The game were always close and really competitive. At the time, Favre was playing really well and the Pack were in the playoffs just about every year. The Hawks were just about average, struggling to sell out home games, there might have been a play off game or two but nothing major. Still, it was fun to have a team close by.
The Pack had a couple of really good runs into the post season, winning a bunch and losing a few too. Great players and a lot of fun to watch. Then Seattle started to turn the corner a bit. They started winning more games, got a new stadium and more and more fans started turning out for the games. They started to play better and it seemed like the players were having more fun playing, and they started winning bigger games. Watching them make their playoff run and get into that first Super Bowl was great. They should have won that game. It was a real treat to have them make it that far, to have the fans here feel that excitement. After the loss, the fans still stood by the team. I really feel the fans of both the Packers and Seahawks will always have that in common. We love these teams and, win or lose, we will embrace them with open arms.
Brings me to this season. Sometimes you can just feel a team. You can get a sense of who they are and their confidence. Seattle was good last year. So were the Pack. The Packers will always have a really good chance to make it to the Super Bowl and now I feel that same way about the Hawks. They both compete and play hard every game. My hope for this season was to have both of my teams playing in the NFC Title Game. A last minute drive from the 49ers squashed that dream. The Packers played hard but came up short. I thanked them for a good season, thanked them for the fun of watching them play and not giving up. The Pack had a feel this season. I really thought they could do it. They didn't feel like a complete team, not as good as when they won the Super Bowl a few years back, but still really good. I know they will bounce back next season. They always do.
These was also a feel about these Hawks. From the very beginning of the season, we (Seattle) felt like this was our time. The players are just so fun to watch and they are good. They have had to work hard for everything. They don't get much coverage in the national media and not much recognition for the good things they have done. Underdogs. Like always. After all Seattle is not a Championship town. No expectations. We totally feel like this game will change that. It is time for this Hawks team to change that.
Many people know this feeling but a lot will not understand. To love 2 teams. It's weird to cheer for the Hawks and have people look at you and say, "Aren't you a Packer fan?". Then also root for the Packers and have other people say, "Aren't you a Hawks fan?". I will always answer both, yes. They never used to ask those questions when, of the two, only won was winning. Now they are both winning teams. Why should I change how I feel about these teams now? Yes, they are both winning and they will likely meet each other in the playoffs - often. Who do I cheer for then that happens? Both. I can't help you understand that. I feel really lucky. As a fan of the NFL I know it's hard to a team just to make it to the post season. To play in the Super Bowl is special. I have two teams that will have a great chance to play in the game every season. Packers win, great, I'm happy. Hawks win, great, I'm happy. Both teams work hard, develop talent and don't take short cuts. They earn it. To still be emotionally invested in a team in the very last game of the season, that's an amazing feeling.
It feels different this time. When the Packers won their Super Bowls, I was cheering them on. But I also felt like I was in the minority. Sure, others in the room wanted them to win but not as much as I did. It's totally different to have everyone in the room, in the state, cheering for the team that I want to win. This is the Hawk's time now. Bring it home. Change this city. Why can't I love two teams? I do. Which one of your children do you love more? Can't decide? Don't want to? Interesting.....