Seahawks Playoff Insider
Q&A | Loving Seattle and the Seahawks in a city full of Bears
Posted by Stephanie Clary
Seahawks fan and University of Washington alum Michael Kormanik stands under a Husky flag outside Gamekeepers in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. Gamekeepers acts as an alumni sports bar for several universities, including UW.
Thursday night, I met up with Michael Kormanik, who works in marketing in Chicago but has deep Seattle sports memories from living in the Northwest.
Although he admitted to being more of a Mariners fan than a Seahawks fan, he was still a fan. The University of Washington alum wore his Seahawks sweatshirt proudly and shouted "Go Seahawks!" in the city's Lincoln Park neighborhood.
He remembers when the city acquired the Seattle Seahawks in the early 1970s and when Kingdome construction began. He also says he was the voice counting down the stadium's implosion in 2000.
As his current city gets ready to host the city he hopes to move back to, we talked about how Chicago and Seattle's football cultures and teams match up.
Below is our conversation, edited for space and clarity.
What is your Seattle background and how did you end up in Chicago?
My dad was an Air Force officer for 33 years, and we moved all over the place. But when I was young, he was a professor of aerospace studies at the University of Washington. We were there quite awhile. Probably four to five years, and that was quite a long time for me as a kid, and I loved it. So I went into the Air Force myself, and then when I got out I wanted to go to grad school and I went to the University of Washington. I was back there for 10 years, and then the company I worked for transferred me out to Chicago ... So I've been here ever since.
What made you become a Seahawks fan, even though you weren't born and raised (in Seattle)?
Well I was not born and raised there. However, as a military brat, you kind of have to decide things. When people say, "Where are you from?" I'm like, "I dunno?!" But I loved (Seattle) as a kid, it was my favorite place. And then of all the places after I got out of the Air Force that I could choose to live in, I picked Seattle because I love the Northwest. I just love everything about Seattle. I love the weather there, even.
When I was a kid there, it was when Seattle got the team — when we found out that (Lloyd W.) Nordstrom was going to get the team. Then they started building the Kingdome when I was a little kid. The year after I moved, it finally opened. So I didn't get to see them at all ... I didn't see their glory years. And then when I moved back in '91, they were [pauses] pretty not great. But the town always was way more of a football town than anything else. The 12th Man and the noise and the Kingdome. The Kingdome was an incredible place to see a football game and was a terrible place to see a baseball game.
What's your favorite Seahawks memory?
The best Seahawks game that I ever went to was after the tiles fell — I was at the Mariners game when that happened in '94. The football (moved to) Husky Stadium, so I got to see the Seahawks play the Steelers outdoor football, which I loved.
Seeing the Kingdome getting built (is another memory). I also am the voice of the implosion. The company I was working for handled media relations for the implosion, so I got to do the countdown, which is my big claim to fame.
So I got to see the beginning and the ending. I actually had a chunk of the Kingdome I got while it was still warm.
What were your thoughts after the Saints game?
Leading up to it, everybody was giving me a hard time. If you're living in Chicago, you are a Bears fan. And if you're not a Bears fan, they don't care ... They politely listen to you talking about the Seahawks, then go, "Well anyway," and it's all Bears.
They were saying, "Well I hope Seattle wins so we can face you." So up until this week, everyone was supporting me. Now all bets are off.
What's really funny is everyone wants to just talk about the Packers match up, because they're convinced that it's going to be Packers-Bears. I'm kind of hoping the team is looking past the Seahawks, too.
The big trashtalk, the best I can do is, "We're going to even up our record on you! You're going to be the 9 in the 9-9!"
What is football culture in Seattle vs. football culture in Chicago?
Well I've lived in Chicago now almost 10 years, and it is an awesome city, but I'm not a city guy. I love the Northwest because I love outdoors stuff and everything. So what I loved about Seattle was, I'm not a sports geek kind of guy. I love the sports, I love rooting for our team, but if it's nice out, I'm going to be skiing. And Seattle was like that. They support the team ... but it's not the be-all-end-all that it is here.
When I would be in Seattle, I could kind of pick out who I would talk football with. Here, it's everybody. Here it'll be little old ladies who will talk Bears with you.
They take it seriously. It's really good natured though. There is a lot to do in Chicago, so it's not like some of these places where that's it, and (football) is all they got. But they just love the Bears. And it really is a football town. It's a real sports town, though. They hunker down on Sundays, people call in sick if there's a big game.
When I think about Seattle, people went to the games and they played sports ... but I don't remember a lot of sports bars in Seattle. Here, there are as many sports bars as coffee shops on the corners of Seattle. They love watching sports. They won't miss a Bears game. That's what they do Sundays.
Do you have any predictions for the game on Sunday?
Yes. I'm calling 10 points, Seattle victory because we're 10-point underdogs, so I think that will be ironic. It's going to be karma there.
I'm going to stick by that. I think they can do it. There are some things on paper: They could shut down special teams, easier said than done; they could shut down Devin Hester; if they could get the running game going like they did; if they can neutralize Brian Urlacher. These are all what-ifs ... but it's doable. And I would love to see it happen.
Living here, I'll root for the Bears if it doesn't happen. And my life will go on as is has since 1976!
Jan 16, 11 - 2:52 PM
Video | Dynamic Duel: The bitter end
Jan 16, 11 - 2:22 PM
Raw video | Hasselbeck congratulates Bears, participates in post-game prayer
Jan 16, 11 - 2:20 PM
Video | Pete Carroll speaks to media after Seattle's loss to Chicago
Jan 16, 11 - 1:47 PM
Raw video | Matt Hasselbeck congratulates Chicago players after playoff loss
Jan 16, 11 - 12:57 PM
Halftime show in Chicago