Tuesday, December 18th, 6:51 AM – San Jose, CA
Pandora Station: The Killers
38 hrs 51 mins since game ended
I arrived at the hotel around 11AM EST, and knew I wanted to see the early games that started at 1PM. My plan had been to catch a few hours of sleep before heading to the bar, but I was too energized, so I swung by Real Sports Bar & Grill, which is a Vegas-style sports bar that resembles a sports book with a two-story wall of TVs. It was great, but it was also packed. I split and headed for the Fox & Fiddle to meet up with some other Hawks fans.
I highly recommend the place if you are ever in Toronto. It was small, but there was plenty of room. The waitresses are gorgeous, and they had some live music. All great ingredients for football viewing. The place was nearly 100% Seahawks fans, as it sounded like people from the Seahawks.net community had decided to meet there. Great folks, great twelves. We were all expecting a win, but nobody felt cocky about it. I mentioned that the biggest part of the #2 seed equation that I thought people were overlooking was needing the 49ers to lose in New England. Jonathan (pictured above to the left of the two beards) mentioned he felt the same way. We’d sadly find out later we were right.
Football did not fit all that well in Toronto. Half the televisions at Real Sports had hockey or curling on. Even with fewer TVs at Fox & Fiddle, curling was competing with football, and you got the feeling they were just humoring the Americans by having football on at all.
The environment surrounding the stadium was decidedly neutral. There were at least as many Seahawks jerseys as any other. I left Fox & Fiddle about 90 minutes before game time, and headed inside the Rogers Centre. The trend of Seahawks representation continued there. I heard a number of Bills fans mumbling to each other about why so many Seahawks fans were here. The stadium filled in as we approached kickoff and there were more Seahawks fans than Bills fans as best as I could tell. I was sitting on the Seahawks side of the field, for what that’s worth.
The couple next to me were great. The gentlemen was wearing a Bills cap and a Seahawks sweatshirt. He used to live in Seattle, but now lives in Toronto and attends Bills games with some regularity. It was very odd to hear him cheer for both teams.
The Seahawks offense was lethally efficient early on. Buffalo fans seemed ready to capitulate before Fitzpatrick brought the team back to 14-7. A group of Bills fans three rows back were sloshed heading into the second half, and started yelling, “Seacocks! Seacocks suck!” They were yelling it as the ball was snapped and Fitzpatrick threw the pick to K.J. Wright. They stopped mid-word, “Seac…[silence].” With the game over, they turned their attention to this poor guy sitting next to me that had asked them to tone down their language with kids around. They were calling him a “fag” for twenty minutes before a few people reported them to security. Security did nothing, and things got worse. It lasted for a full quarter, and they were reported at least four other times, to no avail. Eventually, they left, but it was surprising to see how little was done to correct the situation.
It was still hard not to feel for Bills fans. Buffalo is a hard-working, blue collar city that loves football. They have an owner that mismanages his leadership team, a GM that makes horrible decisions, and a coach that feels like the guy they could get. They deserve better.
Seahawks fans did a decent job of celebrating respectfully as the stadium emptied out. There was not much resistance from Bills fans. Heck, by the end of the game, there were not many Bills fans around to resist.
Downtown Toronto was pleasant, and even if football was not their sport, it was clear sports matters a lot up there. There were sports bars everywhere, and people were settling in for the late game as I headed back to my hotel. My flight left at 6:40 AM EST, and I needed to be up by 4:30 AM to get a cab to the airport. I went to sleep with the 49ers firmly in control of their game, and my heart sunk when I woke up to see the final score. Although, it made me smile to see my Twitter family had been sending me notes to wake up as the Pats made their comeback attempt.
I had been told that I needed to get to the airport two hours early to account for customs, but there was no way I was going to do that. It should not be that crowded at 5AM anyway. Wrong. I made my flight fine, but lots of people did not.
It was stunning that my flights all went off without a hitch, and I touched down in San Jose in time to make my 1PM meeting. I sat through presentation after presentation while managing to stay awake, and even stayed out drinking with a few colleagues. Finally, by around 11PM, I found that wonderful stuffed square we call a bed, and slept like a baby.
A crazy 36 hours that I hope every Seahawks fan gets to experience at least once in their life.