NEWARK, N.J. — Rooting for the Seahawks was a must, Mike Strahl said.
His mother, Cynthia Strahl, is a Tacoma native who attended Curtis High School. She grew up going to football games in the Kingdome with her parents, who had season tickets.
“Mom pushed me this way,” said Mike, 25. He did admit to liking the New York Jets, but that changed because mom wouldn’t have it any other way.
“He had no choice,” said Cynthia, who has called Staten Island home for the last 20 years.
The Strahls – Mike, dad Brandon, wearing a blue Russell Wilson No. 3 jersey like Cynthia – weren't going to miss a chance to get a glimpse of their favorite players, which is why they were willing to pay $28 to attend Super Bowl media day.
They were among those supporting their team and sporting Seahawks gear – Mike wearing a Richard Sherman No. 25 jersey – at the Prudential Center on Monday. Cynthia said the ring tone for her phone is a clip of Steve Raible callling "Touchdown Seahawks!"
Cynthia said she won’t be at the Super Bowl but did see two games this year. She saw the Seahawks’ win over Jacksonville at CenturyLink Field and the Seahawks’ shutout win over the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium, the site of this year’s Super Bowl.
For the game against the Giants, she was part of a group that hosted a tailgate event that attracted about 800 people. Besides having a super-sized pregame party, the Strahls helped raise about $7,000 for charity that day.
“Giants fans were taking pictures of our party because it was so awesome,” she said.
Mike Gilbin was there that day, too. He said he was in a group of Seahawks fans chanting Seahawks after the 23-0 win over the Giants.
He and his youngest son, Rory, 11, were wearing Seahawks beanie hats. Gilbin, despite living in Manasquan, New Jersey, has followed the Seahawks since the team’s inception in 1976.
“I was 12, the team was new,” he said. “I really liked their helmets; they had Jim Zorn, Steve Largent. They were exciting.”
Gilbin said in 2004, for his 40th birthday, he and his family flew to Seattle to see a Seahawks’ playoff game against the St. Louis Rams. The Rams won, 27-20, that day – the last time a team has beaten the Seahawks at home during the playoffs – but the family was hooked on the experience.
They came back the next year for a game vs. the New York Giants, the game that helped make the 12th Man famous when the Giants committed 11 false start penalties in the Seahawks’ 24-21 overtime victory.
Rory said his friends who root for local NFL teams give him some grief.
“They say I’m a front-runner and some other stuff,” he said. "That's OK."