'I won my grandson,' LI Seahawks fan gloats as allegiances become key
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Tom Dolan, a Seattle Seahawks fan in Rockville Centre, and his son, a Giants fan in East Rockaway, made a wager over a football game once.
The younger Dolan promised to raise his son, then 2-year-old Aiden, as a Seahawks fan if the Seahawks beat the Giants on their home field in 2011.
The Giants, the eventual Super Bowl champions, lost 25-36.
Aiden's parents now dress him in a Russell Wilson jersey for Seahawks games.
"I won my grandson in a bet," said Tom Dolan, the Great Neck public schools superintendent and a Seahawks fan since the 1990s.
After years of lingering in obscurity and enduring taunts from Giants and Jets fans, the few Seahawks and Broncos fans on Long Island are basking in their moment in the sun. On Sunday, they'll cling to rituals, like standing in a particular spot until a lead is safe, and cheer on their teams playing just across the Hudson on professional football's biggest stage.
"It's kind of cool that it's [the Super Bowl] here," said Broncos fan Mickie Vaden, 48, an Air National Guard master sergeant in Westhampton Beach. "I was telling everybody how tempted I was to go -- that's just my emotion taking over, then my brain kicks in."
Tickets are too expensive, Vaden said. Prices on one ticket site range from a little over $1,300 to more than $600,000.
The Missouri-native who lives in Coram became a Broncos fan in 1991 when she was stationed at an Air Force base near Colorado Springs, Colo.
Some Long Island natives, like the Dolans, have no connection to either team.
Dolan became a fan when two high schools where he served as principal -- H. Frank Carey High in Franklin Square and Cold Spring Harbor Junior-Senior High -- had Seahawks as mascots.
"I felt like this was meant to be," he said. "You buy a hat, you buy a shirt. You start to follow the team. They were not very good back then."
But Tom and Karen Dolan, junior high school sweethearts from Oceanside who had never followed football before, remained faithful.
"It was easy to root for them because they needed some fans," Karen said.
Their son, Tom Dolan II, honored the bet after the 2011 Giants loss.
At his grandfather's coaching, Aiden, now 4, said recently that "the Giants are for girls," his grandmother said.
The Dolans have Seahawks Christmas lights and stockings. Tom Dolan has at least 40 T-shirts; Karen has a Seahawks pocket book and earrings.
She's superstitious and hasn't worn her Russell Wilson jersey yet because every time she wears her 12th-man jersey, the Seahawks win.
"After the kids got older, we had more time on Sundays to sit and watch football," she said.
The Dolans will likely watch the game at Carlow East, a Seahawks bar on the Upper East Side, once Tom Dolan finds the right spot in front of the television.
"I experiment, once the momentum catches on, I don't move," he said.
In Merrick, Erik Spitzer, will shave his beard on Sunday, a game-day ritual. He will wear his Broncos T-shirt that "brought happiness," this season.
As a child growing up in Wantagh, he liked the Yankees. He remembers flipping through scrapbooks of a pictures of an uncle who played in the Yankee's Triple AAA organization in 1930s and 1940s.
Spitzer, 42, briefly flirted with an allegiance to the Oakland Raiders. "I liked black because it was the hip thing to wear," said the computer installer.
The Jets didn't impress him.
In 1981, the Yankees selected John Elway in the Major League Baseball draft; he joined the Broncos two years later.
"I associated myself with the Broncos to be different from everyone else," said Spitzer, who became a fan in junior high school.
He was overjoyed when the team won back-to-back Super Bowls in 1997 and 1998 after several stinging Super Bowl losses.
He was usually the lone Broncos fan. When he met KellyAnn, 35, a Levittown Mets fan, she later became a Broncos fan, and eventually his wife, too.
On their honeymoon in September 2012, the Spitzers bought a Broncos poncho in Mexico.
This year, the couple went to see the Broncos play the Cowboys in Dallas, where KellyAnn has family.
On Sunday, they will watch the game at their apartment in Merrick.
"Am I going to sit here and make the boldest prediction? No, because I'm not a fool. I know how good Seattle is," Erik Spitzer said. "If our offense is on, I think we'll win."