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Seahawks fans go from devastating defeat to deafening delight

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SCOTTSDALE— Inside the Skeptical Chymist, Arizona Sea Hawkers pushed the decibel level to 115 when their Seahawks completed an improbable comeback to cement a trip to Arizona for Super Bowl XLIX.

But when asked to verbalize their excitement, the notoriously loud 12th Man went speechless.

“I can’t really put it into words,” Seahawks fan and Scottsdale resident Shannon Alton said after Seattle rallied from a 16-0 halftime deficit with some last-minute fireworks for a 28-22 overtime victory.

Aaron King of Graham, Washington was in Phoenix for work and heard the Skeptical Chymist was the place to be for Seahawks games. He wasn’t disappointed.

“When I get back to Seattle tonight, I’m going to Pioneer Square to party before I drive the 50 miles to see my kids and my wife,” King said.

The biggest comeback in NFC Championship history sent the Seahawks back to the Super Bowl in one of their friendliest environments.

Phoenix resident Derek Varley is confident the 12th Man will be well represented at the game Feb. 1, judging from the team’s yearly trip to Glendale for games against the Arizona Cardinals.

“We always like to say we have home field advantage here,” Varley said. “Now we have another game to prove that.”

Alton said she would “find a way to be there,” but Arizona Sea Hawkers president Kenny Bishop has already passed up his shot to attend.

“I’ve been given tickets and gave them away,” Bishop said. “We have the best spot to watch the game right here.”

The North Scottsdale bar has become the most popular weekly meeting spot for Seahawk supporters in the Valley. The Sea Hawkers also congregate at two other locations in the area: Fibber Magee’s in Chandler and the Tilted Kilt in Peoria.

For Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers, the Sea Hawkers filled the Skeptical Chymist early. They were uncharacteristically quiet with nervous energy as their team struggled to find any offensive rhythm, turning the ball over five times, four in the first half.

After Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson threw his fourth interception of the game with about five minutes left in the fourth quarter, the 12th Man contingent fell eerily quiet. Most were resigned to their apparent fate.

But Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch brought the fans back to life when they took the ball downfield on the next possession to close the gap to 19-14. When Seattle recovered the onside kick, the bar exploded.

“I was waiting all game for (the Seahawks) to show up and they finally did after 57 minutes,” Varley said of his team’s late charge.

Suddenly, there was hope, recorded in decibels.

The deafening roar reached a fever pitch as Wilson and Lynch marched back down the field and the clock ticked under a minute. Seattle’s offense was finally dictating play and keeping Green Bay’s defense on its heels.

Lynch punctuated the drive with a go-ahead touchdown, pausing first to pose as he crossed the goal line. Somehow, inside the bar there was a new level of pandemonium.

“I’ve seen games like this before, but never with the Seahawks and with the Super Bowl on the line,” Bishop said.

Spirits remained high even as Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers engineered an efficient and gutsy drive to give his team another life: overtime.

The crowd confidently applauded when the Seahawks won the coin toss to receive the ball in the extra period. It kept buzzing as Wilson again drove into Green Bay territory.

When Wilson threw a deep pass to receiver Jermaine Kearse, his target on each of his four interceptions, the crowd at the Skeptical Chymist held its collective breath.

A 115-decibel exhale ensued after Kearse caught the ball for the conference-winning touchdown.

Another “home” game for the Seahawks, this time in the Sea Hawkers’ home state.