Seattle Seahawks fans still party like champions.
Seven months after the team won Super Bowl XLVIII, the streets of Seattle swelled Thursday as the NFL brought what felt like a slice of the Super Bowl to CenturyLink Field for the season opener.
The party started early, the tail end of a week of NFL sanctioned events.
Four hours before kickoff, the beer garden at Pyramid Alehouse was overflowing with people and the restaurant had a line out the door waiting for a seat.
Tailgaters were already indulging in drinking games and street-side barbecuing.
The nearby Seattle team store was crawling with fans purchasing last-minute merchandise, though many didn’t need it. Fans roaming around the stadium blanketed the streets with blue and green – some with a creative twist.
Kiely D’Intino of Shoreline taunted Green Bay fans with her interpretive nun costume: Dressed in a habit covered in Seahawks logos, she called herself “Sister Fail Mary.”
She said it was a play off of the infamous (and disputed) reception by former Seahawks receiver Golden Tate against Green Bay in the teams’ last matchup two years ago.
Football-season weather was nowhere to be found. Fans paraded around in shorts and tank tops as temperatures crept into the 80s. Some fans even hid in the shade wherever they could find it.
Workers at downtown Seattle businesses took advantage of the NFL distraction, with many skipping out on work early to be a part of the hoopla.
Bryant Lau of Everett and Patrick Hasseries of Bremerton went straight from work to the stadium to catch a glimpse of hometown rockers Soundgarden at the free NFL kickoff concert.
Lau said he was in Pioneer Square the night the Seahawks secured their champions status. He said Thursday’s kickoff events were cool, but nothing compared to that night.
“That was organic,” he said. “This is still amazing.”
As fans waited for the nationally televised pre-game entertainment, many enjoyed a screening of the film “America’s Game: 2013 Seattle Seahawks.” They re-lived the biggest moments of the Hawks’ championship season, cheering as hard as they did the first time around.
The Hastings family of Bothell came to the kickoff concert from Gameday Village, which had obstacle courses and meet-and-greets with former Seahawks players.
Colby Hastings, 11, was starstruck after getting his jersey signed by Walter Jones, somebody he considers an idol.
“I play a little left tackle,” Colby said, adding that he got to pick Jones’ brain on how to be the best.
Colby started coming to games about four years ago along with dad, Darrin, who has been a season-ticket holder since the Seahawks’ inaugural season.
Darrin Hastings said he’ll come to games win or lose, but starting the season off as champions feels pretty good.
“We’ve waited a lot of years for this,” he said. “It’s a feeling I don’t ever want to end.”
If fans weren’t warmed up already (yeah, right), the NFL kickoff concert did the trick.
Soundgarden cranked up the volume with hits such as “Spoonman” before Pharrell Williams took to the stage and made everyone of all ages dance with songs such as “Happy” – the understated anthem of the day.
Streamers shot into the air following Pharrell’s performance in a flurry of blue, green and white; sound familiar?
Guests in between performances included Hall of Famers Largent and Jones, as well as former running back Shaun Alexander. All drew enthusiastic applause from die-hards in the audience.
As soon as the final set ended, Seahawks fans practically sprinted from the stage toward the stadium.
They’d waited long enough for Seahawks football to begin.
Amanda Ness of Marysville didn’t have tickets to Thursday night’s game, but she dressed for the occasion and came to the stadium to enjoy the spectacle.
But, she said, the real party hadn’t started yet.
“When we beat Green Bay,” Ness said, “it will be good.”