It was a rough ride for Seahawks fans on Sunday, Jan. 18, but the 30 or so people gathered at Terry and Laura Hartnell’s shop to watch the team face off against Green Bay knew better than to give up early.
After experiencing an emotional roller coaster through the high of a trick play touchdown in the third quarter to the low of a 19-7 Packers count with seven minutes left in the fourth, the die-hard Seattle fans were biting their nails at a playoffs viewing party near Lake Whatcom.
Each of the fans were decked out in full Hawks swag. The youngest guests, not old enough to talk, wore Hawks booties and jerseys; Terry’s sister Shari Hartnell wore a blue ski hat adorned with a bright green yarn mohawk; Dana Werdal wore a green and blue tutu she made and kept on a Seahawks sweater despite the heat in the crowded, memorabilia-filled shop.
The Hartnell family has lined the blue and green shop with Seahawks photos, newspaper clippings, figurines, signs and posters. A massive 12th Man flag hangs near the door, a gift from neighbor Mark Rowden, who flew the flag from the bow of the Holland America Ryndam cruise ship he captained during last year’s Super Bowl.
Even as the agonizing score remained on the board past the five minute mark of the fourth quarter, then past the fourth minute, several of the fans kept saying to one another, “We’re a second-half team. We’re a second-half team.”
Laura and Terry’s son Brennan Hartnell switched between clutching a handkerchief and holding his hands up to his mouth, nervous but hopeful.
“This is brutal,” Brennan said. “But it’ll make it that much more exciting when we win.”
The crowd was quiet, but still clinging to the edge of their seats when, with just under three minutes left, it looked like Marshawn Lynch had scored a touchdown.
With cowbell-clanging and drums beating, the sea of Russell Wilson and Richard Sherman jerseys embraced, high-fived and screamed, only to find out that Lynch’s gold-plated cleat had just barely gone out of bounds before the score.
No problem. Wilson soon ran in the TD, which was quickly followed by the team recovering the onside kick, incredibly setting the Hawks up to start with the ball again, trailing by five points with only two minutes left.
Within a minute, the Hawks managed to score again and get a two-point conversion, taking the lead over the Packers 22-19.
The Bellingham crowd went wild. What had nearly been tears of agony just a few minutes earlier turned to tears of joy, and the whole room exploded in cheers.
But the game wasn’t over yet.
With only 19 seconds left, the Packers’ Mason Crosby scored a 48-yard field goal, tying up the score.
As the teams prepared to go into overtime, each of the local Seattle fans knew that a return to the Super Bowl as defending champs was on the line.
Seattle won the coin toss and took possession of the ball to start.
After making fans wait through two-and-a-half more anxious minutes of game time, Seattle clinched its spot in the biggest game of the year with a 35-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse.
Though it’s not possible for the sound of cheering to carry all the way from Bellingham to Seattle, the fans sure tried their hardest as they took their time reveling in the miracle win they knew could happen.