Super Bowl spirit hits Wellington

Wellingtonians cheer on US sporting spectacle

Last updated 14:55 03/02/2014
Superbowl fans
KEVIN STENT/Fairfax NZ

AMERICAN DREAM: Seattle fans Kim Silva and Gareth Green watch the Super Bowl at Chicago bar in Wellington.

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The Chicago Sports Bar on Wellington's waterfront is crammed full of American football fans this afternoon as the biggest annual event in US sports, the Super Bowl, takes place.

The Seattle Seahawks are taking on the Denver Broncos and fans from both sides were well represented among a crowd of neutral American sports aficionados.

Some had even taken the day off work for the big event.

Sports store manager Gareth Green and engineer Kim Silva were among the Seattle boosters who watched their team push out to a 22-0 lead at half time.

Green, who was born and raised in Wellington, said he fell in love with the Seahawks on a visit to Seattle. "I love it - the fans are mental," he said. "It's so different from rugby. Super Rugby or an All Blacks game has nothing on football."

Comparing football with rugby is interesting, but he believes the multi-million-dollar superstars of football would make superb All Blacks.

His favourite Seattle players, defence man Kam Chancellor and Marshawn "Beast Mode" Lynch, may actually be better in rugby, he said.

"Marshawn Lynch would be quicker than any rugby player, and if he got tackled he'd just keep going and going and going."

However, All Blacks have to keep going and going - they have to get straight back up from a tackle and get back into it. 

"Football players make a tackle and they're like 'that was the best thing I've ever done,'," he said. "Put Liam Messam in pads and have him hit a guy and he'd think 'is that all I have to do'."

The All Blacks have to make hundreds of tackles a game which might be worth $200 a hit. Someone like the outspoken Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman could be making US$500,000 a hit, or even more, he said.

Silva is from Las Vegas but has supported Seattle since she went to college there. She has lived in Wellington for the last year. "I've been to a few rugby games but I enjoy games a bit more when I know the rules and I'm still in that learning process," she said. 

"I think the players are tough in different ways but rugby players are probably fitter."

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