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Vickroy: Southland fans back Super Bowl teams from afar

Mokenneighbors Suzi Voss Seattle Seahawks fans Rick McGinn Denver Broncos fan engage some good-natured ribbing over Sunday's Super Bowl. |

Mokena neighbors Suzi Voss, a Seattle Seahawks fans, and Rick McGinn, a Denver Broncos fan, engage in some good-natured ribbing over Sunday's Super Bowl. | Supplied photo

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Updated: March 3, 2014 5:24PM



After the Super Bowl, can Mokena possibly be big enough for both of them?

Seattle Seahawks fan Suzi Voss’ back yard adjoins that of Denver Broncos fan Rick McGinn. All season long, there has been shouting, cheering and speculating over the fence — and on Facebook, of course.

And while it’s all in jest, McGinn admits he’s prepared to get out of town once the Super Bowl is over.

OK, OK, hyperbole aside, McGinn and his wife, Jane, had planned to move to Florida long before Peyton Manning wowed the football world with his incredible comeback from a serious neck injury and running back Marshawn Lynch balanced the sweetness of a longtime Skittles habit with the gruff nickname, Beast Mode.

“I joke that if we lose, we’re gonna sell the house and move away,” McGinn said. “But actually, that’s a done deal.”

The McGinns plan to move to Naples next month. And, Voss said, she’s sure going to miss them.

“We throw comments back and forth,” Voss said. “But whatever happens Sunday, I will still love my neighbors and I will still love my Seahawks.”

McGinn grew up in Westminster, Colo., just outside of Denver. When the Broncos got their start in 1960, it was the only major sports team in the city. His wife is from the Chicago area. The two met while she was living in Denver for a time, and they moved to Mokena in 1981.

“We’re also Bears fans,” said Jane, a former Mokena village clerk and trustee. “We were thrilled to death when the Bears got (Jay) Cutler and (Brandon) Marshall. Cutler’s a good quarterback, but he’s no Peyton Manning.”

Rick, a maintenance work for Mokena School District 159, can’t say enough about Manning.

“I was a little skeptical when we got him, coming off that neck injury. But today, Denver has the No. 1 offense. I think he’s gonna light it up on Sunday. There’s going to be some scoring for sure,” he said.

Not by the Broncos, if Voss’ team’s No. 1 defense has anything to say about it.

“It will be a good game, for sure,” she said.

Voss, who works in the weather catastrophe department for Hartford Insurance, never liked football while growing up, mainly because she didn’t understand it. In the mid-2000s when her oldest daughter, Amanda, became a cheerleader for a local football team, she vowed to learn the game and did so by watching the NFL on TV.

“I kept coming back to Seattle,” she said. “They have an energy like no other team.”

Although today Amanda couldn’t care less about football and Voss’ husband, Scott, is a Bears fan, she pays $300 a year to subscribe to Direct TV’s NFL Sunday Ticket, which airs the Seattle games. It seems like a lot of money, she said, but it’s less than she used to spend eating and drinking every week at Buffalo Wild Wings, where the games also air.

Voss has become such an ardent Seahawks supporter that she and her younger daughter, Kaitlyn, toured CenturyLink Field during a visit to Seattle. “We got to see the locker room, run on the field and learn how they make the turf,” she said.

Any time the Seahawks come to Chicago, she discreetly heads to Soldier Field to root them on.

“I keep my jersey in my bag for the bus ride. I’ve been sworn at and spit on,” she said, which makes the backyard rivalry over Sunday’s game seem tame.

The McGinns and Voss plan to watch the Super Bowl in the quiet and comfort of their homes.

“I always said I’d have an epic party if we got to the Super Bowl,” Voss said. “But I really like to watch and concentrate.”

“We like to watch and scream and yell but not trash talk,” McGinn said.

Whatever the outcome, Voss said, it’s all good. Somebody will be happy.

“I like Denver, too, so I won’t be terribly upset if they win,” she said.

Stan Bockwoldt, of Manhattan, is 70 percent confident that his beloved Broncos will emerge victorious Sunday.

“The challenge will be whether or not Denver can stop Marshawn Lynch,” he said.

Bockwoldt said Bears fans sometimes give him flak, especially about Cutler.

“I wish Cutler would have stayed with the Broncos,” he said. “He was better in Denver than he is in Chicago.”

It will be interesting to see how Denver and Seattle fare in what looks as if it will be the coldest weather ever for a Super Bowl.

“Peyton Manning is not a great cold weather quarterback,” Bockwoldt said. “But I think football is a cold weather game.”

Bockwoldt, assistant pastor at Peace Lutheran Church in New Lenox, grew up in western South Dakota. The Broncos were considered the hometown team. His fiance, Gail Kryzaniak, is a Bears fan.

“But she has a Cutler jersey,” Bockwoldt said. “So she can claim both teams.”

Their informal engagement photos reflect their team loyalty. Though Bockwoldt said he’s not a fan of dressing up dogs, they did put a Broncos jersey on their Cairn terrier, Emory, for the photo shoot.

While the rivalry between Denver and Seattle is nowhere near as passionate as that between Chicago and Green Bay, Bockwoldt said Seattle and Denver used to be in the same division and there still are remnants of that antagonism.

Scott Johnson is general manager of the Newport Bar and Grill in Chicago’s Lakeview community. Before the start of the NFL season, he was approached by a group of Seahawks fans who call themselves Hawks Nest Chicago.

“They were looking for a place to air the game,” Johnson said.

He agreed to dedicate a few TVs to the Seattle games, maybe even a separate room if the crowd was big. Some 20 to 30 fans showed up for the first game. By the Sept. 15 match-up between Seattle and San Francisco, it had grown to about 150.

“Ever since, they’ve been coming in and blowing the roof off this place,” he said. “They’re a great group — nice, polite, they take care of everybody.”

He expects Sunday’s turnout to be just as robust.

“You know how Bears fans go nuts over a touchdown?” Johnson said. “Seahawks fans go nuts over a first down.”



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