Super Bowl rematch bringing out the best fans of both Seahawks and Broncos
Two area fans show their love for the Seahawks or the Broncos
Seattle Times staff reporter
Longtime NFL fans Michael McKinley of Auburn and Shane Krueger of Lake Stevens gladly will tell you who’ll win the rematch Sunday between the Seahawks and their Super Bowl XLVIII opponent, the Denver Broncos.
But only one of them can be right.
“I say Seahawks,” said McKinley, a Spokane native and PE teacher at Auburn’s Pioneer Elementary School. “It won’t be a blowout like the Super Bowl (which the Seahawks won 43-8) but they’ll be fine.”
His prediction: Seattle 27-17.
“It’s the Broncos baby. This time it’s revenge,” smiled Krueger, a Colorado native and career Navy man stationed in Everett.
His call: Denver 32-21.
Oddsmakers have called Seattle a five-point favorite in the premier NFL game of the week.
McKinley says a victory at CenturyLink Field on Sunday would help Seahawks fans recover from the “hiccup” last weekend in San Diego, where Seattle wilted in triple-digit heat and lost 30-21.
Responses to a Seattle Times online survey indicate readers side with McKinley, but far from unanimously. Of 106 responses, 64 percent said the Seahawks will win Sunday, and most of those said the Hawks will win by seven or more points.
Of the 36 percent of respondents who picked Denver, most foresee a Broncos victory by seven or more points.
The questionnaire, not a scientific survey, went online Sunday shortly after the Seahawks’ defeat in San Diego, an outcome that took many Seahawks fans by surprise.
“I wanted to see them go undefeated, but that’s out,” said McKinley.
He now foresees a 12-4 regular season that will put the Seahawks back in the playoffs and launch them toward Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Ariz., in February.
Krueger, born and raised outside Boulder, Colo., is confident his beloved Broncos, now 2-0, also are on their way to that Super Bowl, bouncing back from the team’s meltdown at Super Bowl XLVIII in New Jersey.
“To be honest, Seattle gave us an ass-whuppin’,” Krueger said.
It’s possible that both of these teams could return to the Super Bowl this season, but unlikely.
Only once in the Super Bowl’s 48-year history has the game been a rematch of the two teams that played the previous year. (For trivia buffs, that was when Dallas beat Buffalo in 1993 and 1994.)
As loyal fans of their respective teams, McKinley and Krueger have solid credentials.
McKinley, though he can afford to go to only a couple of games a year, can’t remember the last time he missed a game on television, and has more than two dozen items of Seahawks apparel.
He was a season-ticket holder for several years in the 1980s when the team played in the Kingdome.
“I wish they had been this good back then,” said McKinley, 49. “We saw some scary-bad Seahawks.”
These days, the school where he teaches, Pioneer Elementary, has an auditorium alive with Seahawks pennants, posters and a 12th Man flag.
Two years ago, several Seahawks players, including receivers Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate (now with Detroit), came to the school when it received $20,000 through the NFL for the school’s emphasis on fitness and health.
McKinley, a drummer and vocalist for the classic rock-cover group Neverhazbeen, has been a teacher for 18 years, 17 of that at Pioneer.
Some of the pocket money from his music gigs has helped him purchase Seahawks jerseys he had signed by players at training camp and then given as incentives to students.
While McKinley is surrounded by like-minded Seahawks fans, Krueger, based in Everett for the past three years, often is a minority of one as he wears his orange Broncos jersey all over the Puget Sound area.
Some people strike up a quick “SEA-HAWKS” chant when they see him, while others simply holler “43 to 8” as if to sear that humiliating score further into his psyche.
A few days ago, however, Krueger happily mingled with a couple dozen other orange-clad Bronco-lovers at St. Andrews Bar & Grill near Green Lake.
The occasion was a photo shoot for a Denver TV station, and the fans on hand were members of the Meetup group of Broncos fans in Seattle that watches Broncos games at that bar. (But St. Andrews owner Mark Wall is quick to point out that Hawks fans also are welcome.)
Krueger, a Broncos fan “since I was in Mama’s womb,” grew to maturity while quarterback John Elway was attaining near-deity status in Denver, leading the team to five Super Bowls, winning the final two.
Krueger, in his 19 years in the Navy, has taken Broncos flags to 36 countries, and decorated each of the 23 houses he and his family have lived in with the Broncos logo.
His isolation as an orange fan in blue country is conveyed in an ESPN promo for its Sunday NFL Countdown show.
Krueger said almost all of the ribbing he takes from Seahawks faithful is good-natured, and he can tolerate it, “because ultimately we’re all football fans.”
Social Media Editor Evan Bush contributed to this report. Jack Broom: email@example.com or 206-464-2222