One down. Two to go.
You could call the hoarse, weather-weary fans pouring out of CenturyLink Field Saturday joyous, proud, delighted — even a bit relieved.
But not satisfied.
“I want more,” said Tiana Valdez, of Puyallup. “I want the Super Bowl. I want the title. I want it all.”
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“And they can do it,” added her friend, Hector Nielsen of Seattle.
As time expired on the Seahawks’ 23-15 victory over the New Orleans Saints — leaving Seattle just one win away from the Super Bowl — it capped a long day for fans of the home team, with excitement building by the hour. A review of some fan moments:
9:16 a.m.: The game was more than four hours away when tailgater Joe Loranger and his friends started cooking a Cajun seafood boil at a tailgating spot near the stadium. It’s the dish they make every time New Orleans is in town. But wasn’t he worried that the scent of Cajun cooking could help the visitors?
“Nah,” he said. “We did it for the Monday night game, and we spanked ‘em.”
9:50 a.m.: Jeff Martin and Jeff Mintle, of Seattle, dined on mini pancakes and sausage under a plastic canopy. Asked for a prediction, Martin said, “We’re confident. Maybe too confident. That’s the scary part.”
10:10 a.m.: Scott Meola and daughter Bailey unloaded tailgating gear from a bicycle-pulled wooden “Hawks Box” Meola made. It’s a downhill ride from their home in the Central Area. Riding home is always easier if the Seahawks win.
10:30 a.m.: Saints fans Donald Silcio and Jordan Page showed up in Pioneer Square, having arrived at Sea-Tac from New Orleans at midnight. Their prediction: Saints’ victory 27-24. Were they worried about abuse from Seattle fans? Said Silcio, “No. We were in Philly last weekend and we survived that.”
11:40 a.m.: New Orleans Creole Restaurant in Pioneer Square became headquarters for Saints fans. But there were plenty of Hawks fans there, too. They seemed to peacefully coexist, trying to outshout each other.
12:02 p.m.: Serious rain was turning streets of Pioneer Square into rivers. Plastic-clad fans streamed toward the stadium.
12:40 p.m.: We stepped into CenturyLink Field and saw a turf bathed in sunshine for maybe a half-hour.
12:55 p.m.: Stephanie Fisher, of Renton, said she was ready for anything with her five layers of clothing, including a new $7 poncho.
1:45 p.m.: The crowd went crazy as the Seahawks got on the board first with a field goal.
1:57 p.m.: Seahawks fans sensed a good omen as the Saints missed a field goal.
2:16 p.m.: No cheering in the press box is a long-held tradition, but it was hard to stay quiet after a Marshawn Lynch touchdown run.
2:45 p.m.: Frank Greekas, 13, liking what he was seeing on the field, said, “The Saints aren’t going to score any points whatsoever.” But mom, Jackie, was more conservative, calling for a 34-17 Seattle win.
3:50 p.m.: Seattle never trailed, but a late touchdown by the Saints quieted the crowd. Even then, Mona Stephens, of Port Orchard, said she was still confident.
4:45 p.m.: After the teams traded late touchdowns, the curtain fell on the Saints’ chances, and the Seahawks’ victory was sealed, launching the team into next weekend’s NFC Championship Game. Seahawks fans headed for the exits, pleased — but hungry for more.
Jack Broom: firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-464-2222