Washington state may be going 12th Man crazy, but many Denver Broncos fans think Seahawks fans are amateurs when it comes to team dedication.
And for all the Seattle bragging about sophomore sensation Russell Wilson, Broncos fans are quick to point out their quarterback is already a Super Bowl MVP, and arguably the best ever at his position.
Dozens of Broncos fans in Whatcom County volunteered to share their orange pride with The Bellingham Herald. Here are a few of their stories. Even more Super Bowl coverage can be found online at bellinghamherald.com/seattle-seahawks.
REAL NFL LOVE IS FOREVER
Some local Broncos fans are a bit timid about wearing their gear in public, but whenever someone claims Seahawks fans are the most intense in the NFL, Bellingham's Joann Pattern asks if they've made the ultimate, permanent show of support: getting a tattoo of the team logo.
No? Well, Pattern will say, it looks like she, as a die-hard Denver Broncos fan, is more intense than you.
Pattern got the Broncos team logo, a fierce white horse with orange hair rippling behind it, tattooed on her left forearm three years ago.
"That's how much I love my team," Pattern said. "That usually shuts (Seahawks fans) down."
Pattern's memorabilia collection includes boxes filled with keychains, pajamas, jewelry, a signed photo of John Elway, and of course, her day-to-day wardrobe is sprinkled with Broncos logos.
For a time before she moved to Whatcom 30 years ago from Aurora, Colo., Pattern worked for a company that would decorate the team's clubhouse.
"I met John Elway and all them at training camp in the clubhouse but have never been to a game," Pattern said.
In her younger years, Pattern said several of the better players would catch her eye.
"I'd joke, 'I want to date him, I want to marry him,'" Pattern said. "Now I'm 53. When we got Peyton Manning I was just as happy as could be. Now I'm saying, 'I want to adopt him.'"
PEYTON MANNING, YOU'RE MY HERO
Recently retired Samish Woods Montessori teacher Sheri Ayubi is looking forward to the Super Bowl for one reason: Peyton Manning.
"I think he's the best quarterback of all time," Ayubi said. "I think he's a living legend. I think we'll all be impressed to say we were alive when he was playing."
Ayubi, who also happens to root for the Seahawks when they're not playing against Manning, has followed the now-Broncos quarterback throughout his NFL career.
"I love the Seahawks and I love Peyton Manning," Ayubi said. "The fact that they're both in the Super Bowl is a win-win."
When Ayubi went to the preseason game between the Seahawks and the Broncos last fall at CenturyLink field, she wore a bedazzled Peyton Manning shirt she got on the craft site Etsy.
"Some of the fans were yelling at me and throwing beer cups at me," Ayubi said. "It got to me and I had to leave early."
Despite that, Ayubi said she and some girlfriends (all Hawks fans) still will make their way to Seattle this weekend to watch the game from a sports bar.
"They can throw beer at me all they want, but I won't take my Peyton gear off," she said. "I think it's going to be close, but I do think Peyton and his offensive line are going to outplay the Seahawks defense."
KICKED OUT OF THE KINGDOME
Blaine's Christie Rector claims her husband, Casey Rector, is the biggest Broncos fan in Whatcom County.
Casey Rector was raised in the small town of Rye, Colo. While playing high school football, he started to tune in to the Broncos.
"Probably about 1978 when they went to the Super Bowl with Dallas, the year leading up to that they started having the Orange Crush defense," Rector said. "I was in school, and that's what our emphasis was as well - defense."
When the Broncos and Seahawks were still playing together in the AFC West, Rector used to go to Seattle to watch the two teams play at the Kingdome. At one such game in the early '90s, Rector said, he started riling up the Seahawks fans sitting around him by telling them to be quiet and taunting them.
"The police decided to escort me out of that situation," Rector said. "I heard a roar and turned around, and I was on the Jumbotron, so I took a bow. The crowd erupted - I got a standing ovation."
Though he's sure the crowd initially cheered for his ejection from the stadium, Rector proudly remembers the game.
"I think I'm probably one of the only people in the history of the Kingdome to be escorted out," he said.
Throughout the team's ups and downs Rector's blood has remained orange. Along with his regular superstitions, which include rubbing a troll doll with bright orange hair for luck, Rector will make a big step for Sunday's game by wearing a Neil Smith jersey he last wore during the Broncos-Falcons Super Bowl in 1999, the last time the Broncos were NFL champs.
"I haven't worn it or washed it since, but I'll bring it out of retirement for the big game," he said.
Reach Samantha Wohlfeil at Samantha.Wohlfeil@bellinghamherald.com.