Queen Anne resident and Seahawks fan Cynthia Papich was wearing her lucky jeans, and she was sitting with her boyfriend, Brad Anderson, at their lucky table at Floyd's Place while they watched the Super Bowl game on Sunday. She said they showed up in Queen Anne's premier TV sports bar almost three hours before the game started so they could snag the same table they sat at when the Seahawks won the two earlier playoff games. She had also worn the same pants during the two earlier games.
But neither the jeans nor the table made much difference by the end of a disappointing football game for fans of a local team that had never made it to the Super Bowl before.
On top of everything else, there were all those gloating Pittsburgh Steelers fans packing the place to contend with. That's because the popular joint in Lower Queen Anne was listed on the Internet as the number-one bar in Seattle for Steelers fans, said bar manager Mike Clarke. "It was listed on Google as Steelers headquarters."
That news prompted a huge group of Steelers fans to come in early and stake out tables at the back near an enormous projection-screen television that was added to the dozen TVs already in the bar, he said.
Because of its unusual status as a de facto Steelers bar, Floyd's was also fielding calls all week from Pennsylvania media. "We had a [TV] reporter come in here from Pittsburgh," Clarke said.
Bret Sanborn, Floyd's kitchen manager and a big Steelers fan, said he was one of the staff members interviewed by the Pennsylvania TV crew. "I made it a Steelers hangout," Sanborn beamed. "This has made it probably the best football season [at Floyd's] ever."
Clarke agreed. "It is the biggest sports-history day in Seattle ever," he said. Clarke also noted that the majority of people in the bar on Sunday were Seahawks fans, but he didn't think the potentially volatile mix of opposing sports factions would lead to trouble. "Seattle's a pretty mellow place," Clarke observed.
Besides, he predicted before the game even started, Steelers fans would be crying so much at their loss to the Sea-hawks that they wouldn't want to fight.
Steelers fan Josh Sampson, a Queen Anne resident who hails from Pittsburgh, scoffed at the idea that the Seahawks would win and that Seattleites would be all that upset if they lost.
There are more football fans in Pittsburgh than there are in Seattle, he said. "We understand football." Sampson also dissed one local daily for an editorial about Seattle not depending on a football team for a positive self-image. "It comes from years of losing," he said of the sentiment. "You don't expect much more from losers."
Not everybody in Floyd's on Sunday cared much one way or the other who won. "I'm a Packards fan," explained Ray Luedtke from Capitol Hill. But he did appreciate the moment.
"It's pretty awesome being in a city that's in the Super Bowl ...," Luedtke said. "I actually like the Seahawks to win," he added as the crowd cheered and booed in equal measure during the first half as the home team made one of its many mistakes during the game.
Brian Vandehey, a friend of Luedt-ke's who flew up from Los Angeles for the game, said he's also a Packards fan. But though Vandehey may not have been a Seahawks fan or placed a wager on the outcome of the game, he did bet $150 a pop and won twice when the Seattle team won the coin toss and later scored the game's first three points in a field goal.
Others in the bar, like Papich and her boyfriend, Anderson, were anything but neutral. "We sure hope they win," she said. Anderson confirmed that. "I'm true blue; I've always been a Seahawks fan," he said.
But the presence of fans for the opposing team clearly rankled the couple. "I don't like the Steelers fans being invited here," Anderson groused. "I'd rather go where there were more Seahawks fans," Papich added. But since they'd already scored some good seats at Floyd's, the couple decided to stay, she said.
Papich also claimed that her boyfriend was more of a Seahawks fan than she was. "I'm kind of like riding on his coattails," is how she put it. But both Papich and Anderson jumped up and down, clapped and shouted encouragement when the Seahawks actually pulled off a play.
Still, the time leading up to the game was rough on Anderson, Papich said. "He's been on pins and needles for three weeks." Asked before the end of the game what she'd do if the Seahawks lost, Papich wasn't sure. "I'll have to give him a sedative or something," she joked.
In the end, though, Papich and her boyfriend shared the same kinds of long faces worn by a huge number of Seahawks fans as the game wound down to what was a disappointing conclusion for most people in the neighborhood bar.
However, Papich did try to put a positive spin on the defeat. It was an honor just to make it to the Super Bowl, she said. She wasn't the only one saying that at Floyd's after the game. Some of them sounded like they actually believed it, too.