By Seattle Times staff reporters Katherine Long, Lynn Thompson, Alexa Vaughn and Paige Cornwell
Boisterous street celebrations broke out across Seattle in the wake of the Seahawks victory in the Super Bowl, as fans took over intersections, lit fireworks, smashed Champagne bottles and started bonfires on Greek Row near the University of Washington campus.
Pioneer Square quickly filled with chanting, dancing fans, and drivers blasted their horns in celebration of the Seahawks’ first championship. By 7:30 p.m., a half-hour after the game ended, hundreds of people had gathered outside CenturyLink Field, under the watchful eye of Seattle police in riot gear.
Seattle police said the biggest street celebrations happened in the University District, Pioneer Square and Capitol Hill, but as of mid-evening, there were no reports of serious problems.
“I’ve been waiting all my life for this,” said Jim Jorgensen of Normandy Park, who attended the very first Seahawks game, when he was 12. “Now I’ll die a happy man.”
Fans leaned out of car windows waving 12th Man flags at Occidental and King streets, and crowds of people streamed up the middle of the street, high-fiving strangers and screaming for joy.
Marcus Reed joined jubilant Seahawks fans in Occidental Square, which became a sea of blue jerseys after the game.
“I’m on Cloud 9 right now,” Reed said. “It was a hell of a game!”
Hundreds of people gathered at 11th and Pike on Capitol Hill. An electric guitarist came out on the street to play, and the smell of marijuana wafted through the air.
For 3 1/2 hours, fans across the region gathered around TVs in bars, living rooms and coffee shops, watching in amazement, then delight, as the first-half shutout turned into a second-half rout.
“I don’t even know how to feel — I’ve never experienced this before,” said Jonah Bergman, 32, a lifelong Seattle resident as he stood outside 95 Slide bar in Capitol Hill after the game. “I kind of feel the urge to flip over that car, but I’m too passive aggressive to do it.”
Spencer Harwood made the trip down from Vancouver, B.C., with three friends. Watching with a packed crowd at F.X. McRory’s in Pioneer Square, he used words like “trounced” and “landslide” to describe the game.
“All of Vancouver is part of the 12th Man,” he said. “We’re so proud and happy!”
Lisa Beyer, a Kirkland native, traveled from Pittsburgh with her husband Joe, a Wallingford native, to watch the game. At the sports bar Fuel in Pioneer Square, she said, “I wanted to be in my hometown for the game. There’s nowhere else I want to be.”
Teshale Reta, originally from Ethiopia, joined the crowd in Occidental Square. “Yesterday Manning was everything. Today we kicked his ass,” he said.
At Hilliard’s Brewery in Ballard, where brewers created the 12th Can brew in honor of the Seahawks, the owners rented a set of bleachers to fit more people in the cavernous brewery, and encouraged people to bring their own camp chairs. Taproom manager Stephen Peterson occasionally led the room in a call-and-response cheer: “Sea – Hawks! Sea – Hawks!”
After halftime, when the Seahawks ran the second-half kickoff back for a touchdown, the brewery erupted in ear-splitting celebration, and people hugged each other and pumped their fists in the air.
Sam Tek of Seattle, wearing a No. 29 Earl Thomas jersey, said many fans remembered the Seahawks’ only other Super Bowl appearance, a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers that many blamed on bad calls by the officials.
“In ‘06 we were cheated,” Tek said. “This is making up for ‘06. The city needed this.”