Don’t talk to Charlie Sax of Redmond about the so-called Super Bowl hangover.
Don’t tell him the Seahawks — if they follow the path of previous Super Bowl winners — are more likely to miss the playoffs this year than to advance to Super Bowl XLIX.
“That doesn’t worry me at all,” said Sax, 30, in his 10th year as a Seahawks season-ticket holder. “Some of those other teams came completely apart after their Super Bowl wins. But we have a solid core of the right players in the right positions.”
Another longtime fan, Christina DeJesus of Yakima, agrees. “This team has something special,” she said. “This team can make history.”
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As the Seahawks prepare for Thursday’s regular-season opener against the Green Bay Packers, the optimism of the 12th Man is palpable.
It rocked CenturyLink Field in the Seahawks’ two home exhibition games, in which Seattle dismantled the San Diego Chargers and Chicago Bears by a combined score of 75-20.
Seahawks loyalists shrugged off exhibition losses in Denver and Oakland — games in which Seattle starters saw little action. “It was frustrating,” Ruth Soto of Bothell said of the Oakland game. “But it didn’t show what our guys can do.”
Fan fever showed in responses to a Seattle Times online query inviting fans to rate their confidence, on a scale of 0 to 10, that this year’s Seahawks will make it back to the Super Bowl.
In 118 responses, the average level of confidence was 7.9. And while that’s not a scientific survey, it does offer a peek into the passion of Seahawks Nation.
“If anything, I could see them being even better this year,” said Chris Hernandez of West Seattle. “They’ve tasted success and now they want greatness.”
Hernandez, 29, is a season-ticker holder who saw the Hawks’ Super Bowl win in New Jersey in February, and he hopes to see them back in the big game next February in Arizona.
History has not been kind to Super Bowl victors.
Among winners of the previous 47 Super Bowls, only 11 got back to the big game the following year, with eight repeating as NFL champs. Twenty-one more made the postseason but stumbled before reaching the championship.
And 15 missed the playoffs entirely.
The spotty record of past champions does not diminish the confidence John Mills of Mill Creek has in the Seahawks.
“These guys are different,” he said. “This is an actual team. They don’t play separately; they play together.” He rates their chances of reaching Super Bowl XLIX at a 9 on the scale of 0 to 10.
Mills has been a Seahawks season-ticket holder since the mid-1990s, back to Kingdome days. And he has never felt more optimistic going into a season.
The Times query also asked what people might be willing to risk on a bet the Seahawks make it back to the Super Bowl.
Mills said he would bet his house. Sax would plunk down his $200 Super Bowl fan ring. And Hernandez would put up $500 in cash.
Fans who expect the Seahawks not just to reach the Super Bowl but to win it might want to scurry down to Las Vegas, where oddsmakers have listed the Seahawks and Broncos as 6-1 co-favorites to take the NFL crown.
Fan fever for this year’s Seahawks showed up in the fact that 99 percent of season-ticket holders renewed, a franchise record. And 31,000 reservations just to see a Seahawks practice were snapped up in 45 minutes.
Gene Hushak of Auburn, president of the Sea Hawkers Central Council, a team-authorized fan-club network, said he’d be inclined to put the Seahawks’ chances of returning to the Super Bowl at 10. But he worried that might jinx them, so he settled for an 8.
“I believe we are cultivating another great team. But, even so, it is a long season and a few key injuries could greatly affect the way the season goes,” Hushak said.
So far this year, the fan-club council has grown from 26 chapters with 5,600 members to 45 chapters with 7,000, Hushak said.
Patrick White, 28, of West Seattle has painted his house Seahawks blue and green to show his allegiance. But he conservatively gives the team a level-6 chance of getting to the Super Bowl.
“It’s hard to get back,” he said. “A lot of things have to go right.”
Part of the challenge of returning to the Super Bowl lies in the NFL’s interest in parity, limiting a team’s payroll.
After a great season, star players want more money. But they may have to look elsewhere to find it as their team bumps up against the NFL salary cap.
Photo illustration by
Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times
Photo illustration by
Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times
At CenturyLink Field, noisy Seahawks fans help confound the opposing quarterback, a key reason the Hawks have lost just one home game in the past two seasons.
Jason Viglianco of Marysville said even though he is hearing-impaired, he can hear and feel the roar of fans at CenturyLink Field. He turns off his hearing aids and urges those around him to make as much noise as possible.
A 17-year season-ticket holder, Viglianco rates his confidence in a Seahawks Super Bowl return at 10.
In part, he said, that’s because of the return of receiver Percy Harvin, out most of last season recovering from hip surgery. Harvin came back in time for the Super Bowl, returning the second-half kickoff for a touchdown, sealing Denver’s fate.
The Times’ online invitation triggered responses from Hawks fans not just from the Puget Sound area, but from as far away as Florida, Atlanta, Canada — even England.
Not all respondents were Seahawks fans, and a couple gave the Hawks zero chance of getting to the Super Bowl. One of those said they planned to root for the San Francisco 49ers harder than ever this year.
Meanwhile, the Seahawks’ success is spawning the next generation of fans.
The exhibition game against Chicago was the first Seahawks game ever attended by Cyrus McGahan, 13, of Pocatello, Idaho, a fan since he was 6.
Getting his face painted before the game, Cyrus said a Super Bowl return for the Seahawks is certain, “because we are an awesome team.”
He wears his Seahawks jersey in his hometown, even though many of his schoolmates are fans of the Broncos or 49ers.
“But lately,” he said, “they’ve been pretty quiet.”
Social Media Editor Evan Bush contributed to this report.
Jack Broom: firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-464-2222.