Super Bowl 2014: Fans flock to streets as Seattle celebrates Seahawks' win

Seattle Seahawks fan surfs through crowd in middle of 1st Avenue in Seattle on February 2, 2014; hundreds of people flooded streets of downtown Seatle after Seahawks defeated Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl
David Ryder, Getty Images

SEATTLE -- With shouts, cheers and fireworks, Seattle residents celebrated a dominant victory in the Super Bowl - the city's first major sports championship in more than 30 years. 

Thousands of people took to the streets throughout the city and Seattle police had an increased presence in many neighborhoods Sunday night. 

The Seahawks beat the Denver Broncos, 43-8. The last time a major Seattle sports franchise won a championship was in 1979, when the Supersonics took the NBA title. The WNBA's Seattle Storm have won two championships, in 2004 and 2010. 

Fans blared horns and launched fireworks - and in the University District, near the University of Washington, fire crews extinguished at least one bonfire as rowdy fans were out in force. 

 In Occidental Park in Pioneer Square, near CenturyLink Field, where the Seahawks play, people waving "12th Man" flags took to the street, and others climbed trees and sculptures. Some fans got on top of a pergola, breaking glass. 

Fans in some neighborhoods blocked traffic, and in downtown a line of cars stretched for blocks as people cheered and horns blared. 

Seattle police spokesman Mark Jamieson said Sunday night the biggest concentrations of people were downtown and in the University District. He said no major disturbances had been reported. 

Senayet Woldemarian, a 29-year-old physical therapist from the north Seattle Suburb of Shoreline, shrieked giddily and waved her Seahawks flag at honking cars on a North Seattle street: "We got our first Super Bowl!" 

Her friend, wedding photographer Taylor Olcott, 28, said it reminded her a little of being in Boston in 2004, when the Red Sox won baseball's World Series for the first time since 1918. 

"This is the first time I've really seen Seattle passionate about anything," she said. "It's, like, East Coast. It's very exciting." 

Mayor Ed Murray said in a statement that a Seahawks victory parade would happen Wednesday. 

About 30 people watched the game at the Outlander Brewery in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood. It was such a blowout that by the fourth quarter, employees had switched one of the three TVs to Animal Planet's "Puppy Bowl." 

"We're all in euphoria right now," said Steve McVay, a 43-year-old Seattle IT worker. "It's a huge deal for the city. Since the Sonics we haven't won anything." 

John Caro and his wife, Corina, both 59, whooped their way down Lake City Way in North Seattle, high-fiving passersby. 

"I was born here, I was raised here! This is my ultimate dream!" Caro shouted. "We have waited so freakin' long for this!" 

With that, they stepped across the street, with Caro waving his gray Seahawks conference championship hat to stop the traffic.

Naturally, the scene was quite different in Denver.

A few disconsolate Broncos fans popped orange and blue balloons decorating the patio of a downtown restaurant as they left Sunday's Super Bowl party early. But Cliff Cho and his friends were among the many who lingered to the end. 

"I stayed because I am a fan, we are Coloradoans and we love our Broncos," said Cho, who works in Colorado's nascent legal marijuana industry as a "bud tender." 

Other fans were too downcast to speak after Seattle's 43-8 victory. A bartender reported seeing some customers in tears. 

Gov. John Hickenlooper was another fan to the end, tweeting: "Congratulations Seahawks! Congratulations Broncos! Two great teams walked onto the field; two great teams walked off the field." 

The Denver Police Department had braced for trouble, deploying heavily downtown. But the crushing defeat and icy weather - it was well below freezing when the game ended - worked together to keep the mood subdued. 

It was a far cry from 1999, when the Broncos beat the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl. Celebrations deteriorated into violence. Crowds smashed downtown Denver store windows and overturned cars. Police responded with tear gas. 

On Sunday, some news outlets switched quickly from game coverage to previews of the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi or focused on top Super Bowl commercials. 

Chef Chad Howard called it a bittersweet evening. He and his two partners had worked hard to ensure that opening night for their restaurant, Krewe, coincided with the Super Bowl. 

Their decor was heavy on TVs, with at least a dozen wide screens mounted around the bar. 

Howard said business was brisk most of the evening, and that he didn't blame fans for leaving before the final whistle. Some had come in as many as four hours before kick-off to secure a table, he said.

"I can understand not watching a blowout, which is what this was. But at least it wasn't a shutout," Howard said. "With the season we had, we should've won this game. Or, at least made it a game. 

"I would've loved to have seen them win. But to fill a bar that I'm a part of, I'm ecstatic."