Last Thursday I went to trivia night in a Renton bar where one of the categories was all things Kansas City. The choice was obviously made in the spirit of the impending Super Bowl, but there were no questions related to San Francisco. The Bay Area did, however, get a shout-out from the emcee — which elicited the loudest cheer of the night.
“(Screw) the 49ers!” he said.
And the mood was universally jovial.
I bring this up because, while the Seahawks didn’t get a chance to compete for the Lombardi Trophy on Sunday, their fans did get a victory. They saw the 49ers, their division rival, blow a two-score lead, a brash ex get toasted and a type of game that, with a couple more pieces, could be won next season.
What took place in the Chiefs’ 31-20 victory Sunday is exactly how a 12 would have fantasized a Super Bowl playing out if Seattle wasn’t involved. They were the second-happiest fans of the day.
Yeah, I get the argument that you’d want to root for the team that bested you, as the 49ers did the Seahawks in the NFC West this season. But nobody actually does this — particularly when it’s a pro sports rival.
It’s not like this is college football, where a conference’s reputation will have an impact on voters. The Niners’ pain is Seahawks fans’ pleasure — and they were swimming in smiles Monday.
There was, for starters, the blown 10-point lead — tied for the second-biggest squander in Super Bowl history. And it came on the heels of decisions that will douse San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan in cold sweats for months.
Why not use those timeouts at the end of the first half, when you had three of them and the ball with a minute left? Why settle for a field goal on fourth-and-2 against a Patrick Mahomes-led offense (or fourth-and-5 on the opening drive, for that matter)?
I know hindsight is 20-20, but Shanahan is going to be thinking about 24-20, the score of the game before the Chiefs added what was basically a garbage-time touchdown to seal the win.
But Shanahan isn’t the 49er most Seahawks die-hards are thinking about right now. That honor goes to future Hall of Fame cornerback and former Seahawk Richard Sherman.
Sherman will always drink for free in the Emerald City based on what he accomplished here. And I think many fans around here are happy he found success elsewhere.
But do you think any of them were rooting for Sherman, who routinely blasted Russell Wilson, to win a Super Bowl with the Seahawks’ chief rival? No. They wanted exactly what happened Sunday.
With 3:44 left and the Niners up by three, Chiefs receiver Sammy Watkins blew past Sherman for a 38-yard catch that set up Damien Williams’ go-ahead touchdown catch and run from the 5-yard line. Doesn’t take away from the All-Pro season Sherman had, nor should it affect his chances to reach Canton on the first ballot. But it was a conspicuous burn that turned the normally raucous Sherman reticent.
“He made a play,” Sherman told reporters.
Yeah, a darn-near immortal one.
It wouldn’t be sportsmanlike for any Seahawks to bring up that play unprompted, but they’ll always have it. Sherman’s torching Sunday was as infamous as his tip six years earlier was indelible.
As much as anything, though, I imagine Hawks fans looked at that Super Bowl as one their team could have won. Seattle beat the 49ers in California, was an inch from beating them at CenturyLink Field and watched them nearly beat the Chiefs.
There was never a moment Sunday where a knowledgeable 12 would have gone, “Whoa, we’re just not there yet.” It was more like, “We could, maybe even should, be there next year.”
So no, there won’t be a parade downtown this year or a reason to take off work. There wasn’t a sit-down-with-the-grandkids story, and won’t be any intimate reminiscing.
This past Super Bowl won’t be cemented as part of Seattle’s sports history. But it was worth watching — and worth celebrating, too.