East Rutherford, N.J. — When Rachel Horvitz took her seat high in the corner of the end zone for Super Bowl XLVIII late Sunday afternoon, her blue Seahawks sweatshirt was rendered invisible in a sea of Denver Broncos orange.
By late in the third quarter, when most of the Broncos fans enveloping her had departed, subdued by their team’s ultimate 43-8 shellacking by the Seahawks, the Richmond Beach resident moved down from her nosebleed seats into the welcoming embrace of blue and green. Approximately 3,000 miles from Seattle, she was home.
Who better to celebrate with than Seahawks fans as they watched coach Pete Carroll, team owner Paul Allen, and quarterback Russell Wilson hoist the Lombardi Trophy for the first time in Seahawks history?
“It was everything I hoped it would be,” Horvitz, 29, said of the scene. “I was so happy to see my team bring home a championship.”
Horvitz works as a paralegal for a Seattle law firm, but for the past eight years has held a boffo game-day gig painting Seahawks and “12” logos on the faces of fans at CenturyLink Field. So once she scored Super Bowl tickets — “It was within what I was willing to pay” was all she’d reveal of the financial hit involved — Horvitz was intent on getting more than her body to the New York area.
She also schlepped her painted glitter and stencils to appropriately prepare Seahawks fans’ faces for the biggest game of the year. At MetLife Stadium here, she tallied 46 faces stenciled — like in Seattle, at no charge. Each look was more modest than normally, because Horvitz left her airbrush behind, figuring she wouldn’t easily be able to get it through the air-tight security checks.
That meant no complete face painting, a colorful endeavor she estimates takes just 45 seconds to complete.
In the rail station in nearby Secaucus, where Super Bowl-bound fans waited more than an hour for the day’s first train to the game, Horvitz applied a “12” (to signify the legendary support bestowed by the Seattle crowd) and a Seahawks logo, respectively, to O’Connell siblings Seamus, 11, and Addison, 9, of West Hartford, Ct.
The brother and sister’s father, Peter, who runs a Seahawks fan club, pronounced himself happy with Horvitz’s handiwork.
The 2013 season was a banner year for Horvitz’s Seahawks artistry. Including preseason, regular season and playoffs, she tallied nearly 8,000 faces, about double the number of recent years, she said. When the Seahawks defeated the San Francisco 49ers on Jan. 19 to advance to the Super Bowl, the scores were 23-17, Seattle, and 978, Horvitz — a record, she said.
Horvitz reached New Jersey last Thursday, along with her parents, Garry and Lynn-Dee, New York natives and long-time Seahawks season-ticket-holders, who won the right to buy two Super Bowl tickets of their own. The trio stayed with Garry’s brother in Fair Lawn, N.J., a few neighborhoods from Sunday’s sports epicenter.
Jewish Seattleites at the game included Rand Bellar, a music producer who lives in the Greenlake neighborhood, who watched in style in a first-deck suite thanks to his cousin, Max Gorelick; the latter’s mother knows the Tisch brothers, co-owners of the New York Giants, in whose home stadium the Super Bowl was played.
Not that the suite was free. The cousins’ tickets cost $1,500 each. Their parents helpfully paid it all.
Bellar booked his flight east even before the Seahawks beat the 49ers in the NFC championship game.
“I had faith,” he said. The whole experience, he reflected, was “an absolute treat.”
On the train to the game, Bellar and Gorelick chatted with a fan decked in Broncos gear who sported a kippah. Turned out the Denver dude knew a guy named Ari who’d be sitting in the Bellar-Gorelick suite, and that’s where the Seattleites found him in full Seahawks regalia, his face fully painted and hawk plumes exhibited.
Jewish geography also was responsible for JTNews’s luck in identifying Horvitz, because her long-time music teacher in Temple Beth Am’s Hebrew school, Wendy Marcus, had just seen her and learned of the Super Bowl trip.
Horvitz’s first two customers on Sunday morning were her parents — her dad sporting safety Earl Thomas’s No. 29 jersey, and her mom a blue Seahawks sweatshirt.
Garry stands out in this way, his daughter said: He consented to be painted.
Hours later, as Horvitz settled into her spot high in Section 322 for a last pre-game chat with a reporter, a young man arrived to claim the adjacent seat. Horvitz offered to apply either of her two team-decal specialties. He declined.
“One of our sayings,” she said, “is: Real men wear glitter.”
All that glitters is not gold. This week, it’s blue and green.