Monday, September 1, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Super Bowl XLVIII: 'Passive-aggressive' Seattle fans only sort of riot after Seahawks win

With all due respect to the Seattle Storm's two WNBA titles and the Sounders' three U.S. Open Cups, Sunday night was the true end of the Emerald City's major championship drought.

Super Bowl XLVIII: ‘Passive-aggressive’ Seattle fans only sort of riot after Seahawks win

A picture from fans´ celebrations in downtown Seattle after the Seahawks won the Super Bowl. Of course there´s a photobomb. (Marcus Yam/Seattle Times/AP)
A picture from fans' celebrations in downtown Seattle after the Seahawks won the Super Bowl. Of course there's a photobomb. (Marcus Yam/Seattle Times/AP)

I initially wrote that the Sonics won the NBA title in 1978. It was 1979. Apologies for the stupidity.

With all due respect to the Seattle Storm’s two WNBA titles and the Sounders’ three U.S. Open Cups, Sunday night was the true end of the Emerald City’s major championship drought.

The Seahawks’ Super Bowl triumph brought Seattle its first big pro sports title since the SuperSonics won the NBA title in 1978 1979. And the SuperSonics don’t even exist anymore, as they moved to Oklahoma City in 2008.

Before the Sonics, Seattle hadn’t won any kind of championship since the Metropolitans lifted the Stanley Cup in 1917.

(Yes, really. They beat the Montreal Canadiens in a five-game series.)

So what the Seahawks did was kind of a big deal.

Sure, Seattle’s drought didn’t span as many combined sports seasons as Philadelphia’s did from 1983 to 2008, because Seattle doesn’t have a NHL team. But in terms of years, I bet that even Fake WIP Caller would have to admit that 36 35 is more than 25.

The drought was so long that for a time last night, none of my friends in Seattle knew what kind of possible parade route could be laid through the city. 

I have been to Seattle often enough for sporting events to know that their fans can get pretty raucous. You’ve probably seen a little bit of it on TV, since the Seahawks have repeatedly broken the all-time record for decibel level in a stadium.

As Pete Carroll and the Legion of Boom started to pile up points on the Denver Broncos, I started to wonder how the Emerald City would react to actually winning a title for once.

Would there be a big party in the streets? Or would Seattle’s legendarily passive-aggressive sports fans find some other way to release all their years of pent-up angst?

Something like what we’ve seen over the years in (just to pick a few examples), Boston, San Francisco, New Orleans, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Boston, Boston

… and… well…

You know.

Heck, in Vancouver - Seattle’s next-door neighbor as far as metropolises go - they rioted when the Canucks lost the Stanley Cup final in 2011.

So when I got into the office this morning, I took a look around some Seattle news websites to see whether the Emerald City would follow the trend, or be its usual iconoclastic self and do something different.

We start with the Seattle Times:

Boisterous street celebrations broke out across Seattle in the wake of the Seahawks lopsided Super Bowl victory, as fans took over intersections, lit fireworks, smashed Champagne bottles and started bonfires on Greek Row near the University of Washington campus.

Police described the celebrations as joyful and mostly peaceful.

Hmm. That’s not much.

But at least one person was arrested in the University District, where students dragged couches into the middle of the street and set them on fire before Seattle police finally cut the party short.

In Occidental Square, panes of glass were smashed on the pergola when fans climbed on the century-old structure. There were reports of vandals stealing street signs near Pioneer Square.

Ah, there we go.

Seattle's CBS affiliate, KIRO, reported that "unfortunately, some of those celebrations are getting out of hand."

"Some people are not being responsible," the station's local news anchor said. "People are not channeling their enthusiasm properly in that area." 

Oh, the horror.

KIRO posted video of the fire. From above it looks a little bit like Frankford and Cottman, except with more trees:

Also courtesy of KIRO, we have fans tearing a bumper off a car, lighting a Broncos hat on fire with kerosene and ripping off a street sign:

Across town, meanwhile...

Hundreds of people gathered at 11th and Pike on Capitol Hill. An electric guitarist came out on the street to play, and the smell of marijuana wafted through the air.

That set the stage for the single greatest quote I’ve ever seen in a story about fans celebrating a championship in any city:

"I don’t even know how to feel - I’ve never experienced this before," said Jonah Bergman, 32, of Seattle, as he stood outside the 95 Slide bar on Capitol Hill after the game. "I kind of feel the urge to flip over that car, but I’m too passive-aggressive to do it."

Yes, you read the quote right. And just in case you didn't, I'm going to put the next sentence in bold. A Seattle fan said he was "too passive-aggressive" to riot.

Give the Times reporter a raise for finding that fan.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer - which referred in print to Seahawks fans as "Twelves" - managed to find some fans who were a bit more blunt than Bergman:

Twelves jumped, waved 12th Man flags and hugged throughout Pioneer Square and downtown, at one point chanting, "F*** the Broncos."

The Post-Intelligencer also posted a photo gallery of fans watching the game and later celebrating. Among the pictures are a Seahawks fan doing a handstand on a totem pole, and this one that I’ll leave to your imagination.

Finally, we have the Associated Press story on the kind-of-sort-of-but-not-really mayhem. Their reporter talked to a fan named Taylor Olcott, who must not have been a Seattle native, because she made the mistake of stating publicly that the Emerald City might be similar to anywhere else in the world.

"This is the first time I've really seen Seattle passionate about anything," she said. "It's, like, East Coast. It's very exciting."

So there you go, Seattle. You so often try to present yourselves as being better than everyone else, but really, deep down, you’re just like us here in Philly.

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