It wasn't to be.
The Seattle Seahawks' long, glorious run to the top of the pack in the NFL came to a disappointing end Sunday, Jan. 5, as the "team of destiny" lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 21-10, in Super Bowl XL in Detroit.
At the Boxcar Alehouse, upwards of 100 fans crowded the neighborhood bar to root for their hometown team. Steve Welch, who opened the tavern three-and-a-half years ago, said the day went well despite the game's final outcome. "Everybody was pretty disappointed," said Welch, a longtime Magnolia resident who played wide receiver at Pacific Lutheran University from 1983 to 1986. "Everybody wants to find the bright spot at the end of the tunnel. You just gotta look ahead to next year."
He said he'd always heard about the so-called East Coast bias, which asserts that the Seahawks - due to Seattle's distance from media-monopolized New York-fail to get the respect they deserve from national sportscasters as well as fans in other cities. "We just got completely jimmy-jammed on calls," Welch said of what many are calling uneven officiating during the Super Bowl. "It was really lopsided."
Welch said he prepared for the big day by "doubling up" on his beer and liquor orders, as well as customizing the bar's food menu, which read at the bottom: "If you are a Steelers fan, we apologize in advance for any ill will that you may experience while at the Boxcar today."
Beyond the menu, Welch offered his patron an all-you-can-eat buffet for $15 that included an 87-pound full pig roasting on the Boxcar's patio. Welch's friend Dave Bratteiger, a licensed veterinarian, was given the honor of cooking the hog, which was named "Porter Pig" after Steelers linebacker Joey Porter. Bratteiger, who also went by the moniker "Dr. Dave" on Sunday, said he started cooking at 5:30 in the morning.
"The stars were out, the sky was clear," he said of his early start. "It was very peaceful." Bratteiger said the trick to cooking pig is roasting it away from the coals, so the dripping fat doesn't cause flaring flames to scorch the meat; the rate of roasting is 10 pounds per hour, he added.
For a little extra flavor, he sewed pieces of chicken inside the roasting hog. Also, he added, "you have to have beer."
One of the folks enjoying the Boxcar's Super Bowl party was Karen DeStefano, who traveled to Magnolia all the way from Sammamish. Prior to the game, DeStefano - who showed her support by wearing a football helmet adorned with Hawk stickers - claimed not to be nervous about the outcome. "I'm confident," she said of a Seahawks victory.
That confidence seemed to characterize the mood of most fans at the Boxcar prior to the game. Todd Vicencio, a Magnolia resident of 38 years, said he wasn't nervous in the least. He said he's been sitting at the same table for Seahawk games for the past seven years; in fact, the Boxcar at this point reserves the table for him and his friends.
"This is my hometown," said Vicencio, who back in the day played Magnolia/Queen Anne youth football. "This is my love."
Another patron of the reserved table was Michael Hersey, who showed his support by getting himself up in full zebra stripes. "Every Super Bowl I pull out the uniform," he said. "I'm the official's official."
Hersey, who claims to have been a Seahawks fan "ever since they were named," predicted a tight game with a 3-to-7 point spread. Not nervous at all? "I'll be nervous at halftime when the [Rolling] Stones play," he joked.
One of the few people pleased with the final score was Boxcar employee Shawna Mimna, a Pittsburgh native who proudly wore her Steelers jersey to the Sunday gathering. Mimna said she rooted for the Seahawks during the course of the regular season, but when push came to shove, she had to go with her hometown team for the big one.
"It's such a win-win situation, absolutely," she said of her personal enjoyment of the Super Bowl, seeing as she loves both teams. However, she added, she was "a little embarrassed" at the way Pittsburgh won the game. "It shouldn't have been quite that way," Mimna said of the poor offi-ciating.
Jill Metz, who was a Sea Gal - a Seahawks cheerleader - from 1991 to 1994, and then again in 1997, said this year's team was the best she'd ever seen, no question. Before the game began she was predicting a close game (27-24 was her guess), and that expectation was giving her the heebie-jeebies. "My stomach already has the jitters," Metz said.
Even if the game didn't quite turn out the way everyone (except Mimna) wanted, Welch said the day was a success. "We are the Seahawks spot," he said, adding that at one point yesterday he predicted almost 150 people at the bar, including the people hanging out on the patio. "We had our sort of core, local people, but we had some new people from on top of Magnolia that I'd never seen, and they really had a great time.
"It was a good game," he added. "I like where we're [the Seahawks] going."
As they used to say in Boston, there's always next season.