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Originally published February 1, 2015 at 8:38 PM | Page modified February 2, 2015 at 5:12 PM

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Fans in Seattle cheer, despair

Fans gathered early to watch the Super Bowl, but the elation was replaced with gloom when the Seahawks came up short.

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Seattle Times staff reporters

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The crowds that gathered throughout Seattle to watch the Super Bowl dispersed quickly after the game ended, their cheers doused when the Seahawks failed to overtake the Patriots.

Emotions changed multiple times throughout the game — with a stark shift at the very end, with the elation following Jermaine Kearse’s catch, followed shortly by gloom after the Patriots’ interception.

At the Quality Athletics bar in Pioneer Square, fans first had a communal groan and then they all went quiet. Guys shook their heads in disbelief; young women’s eyes turned glassy with emotion.

The crowd then shuffled to their cars to make the agonizing drive home, maybe listening to the radio analysis explaining that crushing interception.

“It was hard to watch,” said Amanda Barber, 28, of Marysville. She and her husband, Shay, a contractor, had driven down to Seattle to watch the game.

Nicolaus Hoertkorn, 30, and his wife, Stefanie, struggled to absorb the loss. They came from Richland to be with the crowds in Seattle.

The interception that killed the Hawks’ hopes was “so hard to swallow,” Stefanie Hoertkorn said.

By 8 p.m., Pioneer Square was pretty much empty.

Seattle bicycle cops assigned in case of trouble were biking by themselves. The sidewalk hot dogs stands were doing a little business from people heading to their cars.

The talk was one of why, why, why.

As in, “Why did Pete Carroll call a passing play so close to the end zone, when he had Marshawn Lynch?”

Why, why, why?

Earlier Sunday, people lined up two hours before kickoff to watch the game from some Pioneer Square bars.

In Occidental Park, a group of men played touch football. Rick Johnson, wearing a San Francisco 49ers cap and bright red sweatshirt, said wandering into enemy territory to watch the most important game of the year was a no-brainer.

“If there’s one place to be today, it’s in the middle of Seattle,” said Johnson, who grew up in Sacramento, Calif., and took the ferry from his home in Bremerton.

Brandon Jones, a lifelong Seattle sports fan, was ready to celebrate win or lose.

“Two years in a row? It’s something you couldn’t have imagined,” he said. Losing would be a letdown, but “at the same time, we made it.”

As a Seattle fan, you have to “hold the bad years close, too,” he said. “It’s great to be here, line up and support the team.”

At Seattle Public Library’s downtown branch, about 270 people watched the game in the Microsoft Auditorium. In the normally quiet building, even patrons who weren’t in that room could get an idea of how the Seahawks were doing based on the crowd’s cheering, which could be heard on multiple floors.

At Seattle Center, most eateries inside the Armory building were closed for the game, but that didn’t stop crowds from gathering to watch on a big-screen television. Dressed in their jerseys, sweatshirts and stocking caps, people cheered, cursed and yelled at the TV.

Seattle police, preparing for potential outpouring of joy or despair, erected chain-link fences around the pergola in Pioneer Square and statues in downtown parks. Revelers celebrating the Seahawks victory a year ago caused about $25,000 in damage to the pergola.

Police were also on watch in the University District, where they removed some sofas and recliners piled in a heap on UW’s Greek Row, concerned about the fires that occurred after last year’s Super Bowl.

Despite a greater police presence, a group came together in the intersection of 19th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 47th Street shortly after the game ended, with some people igniting fireworks.

But that crowd dispersed quickly, too, nearly gone by 8:30 p.m.

One officer watching the college students and others said they made no arrests and had no major problems, other than having hundreds of people crowd the street. The officer said he believed the crowd was so mellow because of the loss.

“They’re sad. We’re all sad,” the officer explained.



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