12th Man (and a Bears fan) get early start on flight to Chicago

12th Man (and a Bears fan) get early start on flight to Chicago

Credit: Travis Pittman

From left, Joe Corr, Mallory Peterson and Andy Stirling.




Posted on January 15, 2011 at 12:34 PM

Updated Saturday, Jan 15 at 4:57 PM

EN ROUTE TO CHICAGO – Even at 6 a.m., before many of them had their morning coffee, the representatives of the 12th Man on American Airlines Flight 2060 from Sea-Tac to O’Hare were wide awake and supremely confident that the Seattle Seahawks will win Sunday’s NFC Divisional Game against the Chicago Bears.

“We got a great chance to win this game,” said Dan Small, who has been a Seahawks season ticket holder since the team’s first season.

This isn’t the first time Small has traveled to support his team in the postseason. He was there when the Seahawks lost in OT to Green Bay. He also went to Super Bowl XL, another loss. He’s hoping for better fortunes this time.

“I think they’re just playing up to the caliber they can right now and they have nothing to lose,” said Small.

About two dozen Seahawks fans were sprinkled throughout the plane.

Friends Andy Stirling, Mallory Peterson and Joe Corr had their blue Seahawks jerseys already on for the flight. These are among the hardest of the diehards. They were sitting in the nosebleed seats at Qwest Field for Marshawn Lynch’s Beastquake run against the New Orleans Saints.

They have no doubts about a Seahawks win Sunday.

“It’s (going to be) a victory, isn’t it?” said Stirling. “I guarantee victory. I’m thinking 27-24.”

“I always head out (to the playoff games),” said Corr. “I think (Matt) Hasselbeck is going to pull through. I’m thinking 32-26. I’m hoping for a Marshawn-(Justin) Forsett combination of about 140 yards rushing."

Peterson concurs with that score.

“Definite victory. Absolute victory,” she says. Why? “Because we pulled it together last week and we kicked some serious (expletive).”

Not all the fans on this flight are lucky enough to go to the game. Charles Ewel is on his way back to Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. But he’s got his No. 80 Steve Largent jersey on. He’s playing his prediction a little closer to the vest.

“I’m trying to stay grounded but I think the Seahawks have a really good chance of winning,” said Ewell. “(The Bears) put up 3 points against the Packers in Week 17. (Bears quarterback) Jay Cutler has never been to the playoffs in the pros or in college.”

Even staying grounded, though, Ewell predicts a 33-21 final score, Seahawks.

There was one man on this flight who stood out in this group. I’m not sure if I noticed his orange Chicago Bears t-shirt, or his mug that reminded me of Bears great Dick Butkus.

His name is Ben Michaelson. He lives in Seattle, but calls Chicago home. Unlike many Bears fans who have said this week that the Seahawks have no chance, he knows better.

“I give them a good chance to win, but I think it will be the Bears,” said Michaelson. “The spread is 10 points, but I think it won’t be by more than a touchdown.”

Not surprising that most of the 12th Man thinks Seattle is going to win. As for all the other Seahawks naysayers in Chicago who think this will be a walk in the park for the Bears?

“That’s Chicago fans for you,” said Small.

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