They projected confidence throughout the big game, but Seahawks fans admitted afterward just how important it was for the team to secure home-field advantage for the entire playoffs.
“It had to happen,” said Ben Ropka, a 39-year-old Snohomish investment analyst with a blue 12th Man flag draped around his shoulders. “We knew it would happen, but it had to.”
Ropka and other fans said after the Seahawks beat the Ram 27-9 on Sunday that the just-clinched advantage would benefit not only the team but the region, too.
Fletcher England, 42, a geologist from Wenatchee, said the home game — or, he hopes, games — will rally the entire Pacific Northwest to the Seahawks’ cause.
England noted there are no NFL teams in Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming or Utah.
“Seattle supports a lot of people’s hopes and dreams when it comes to football,” said England, moments after donning a brand new t-shirt commemorating the team’s NFC West Division championship.
“Ah, this feels good,” he said.
Other fans took a more practical approach to the fact that all other NFC teams will have to come to Seattle to play the Seahawks.
“It’s hard to win on the road in the playoffs,” said Rocco Liace, 50, of Seattle.
The business owner referred to 2005, when the Seahawks had home-field advantage and made it to the Super Bowl, and last year, when they didn’t and lost to the Falcons in Atlanta in the second round.
He also mentioned one specific team.
“San Francisco always buckles when they come here,” he said, referring to the possibility that the rival 49ers will match up against the Seahawks in the playoffs.
Seattle’s ability to win at home is well known; the Seahawks won 14 home games in a row before last week’s narrow loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
“I’m confident we’d do good on the road anyway,” said Edgar Lopez, a 25-year-old Seattle restaurant worker, “but you know playing at home is better.”
“There’s no place like home, man.”