The Seattle Seahawks will have thousands of fans at Metlife Stadium on Sunday — and at least one of them will be Canadian.
Vancouver, British Columbia, resident Ryan Strachan and his wife Tamara are part of a club called the "Canadian Sea Hawkers".
The couple are die-hard Seahawks fans and they regularly drive almost three hours from Vancouver to Seattle to watch Seahawks home games. But Sea Hawkers who can't make the long trip across the border meet up, wearing their green and blue jerseys, at a local watering hole.
"Every Sunday we have a viewing party at a pub in downtown Vancouver," Tamara Strachan, the club's vice president, said. "It's nice — they've got a huge projector screen. All the TVs are on our game, the volume is on, which is a big deal in Vancouver." It's a big deal in a city known for being a hockey town. The Vancouver Canucks are the big sporting draw. And there's already a professional football team in Vancouver — the Canadian Football League’s B.C. Lions.
But during the NFL season, there is a hardcore group of Seahawks fans who gather on Sundays to shout at the TV and cheer on their team.
Canadian super-fan and teacher Ryan Strachan thought he would be watching this Sunday's Super Bowl with the rest of his fan club in Vancouver. That plan changed when he received a surprising gift.
"His students found out that he couldn't go because we couldn't afford it," his wife said. "A couple of his ex-students got together with some current ones and they started raising money for him so he could go to the Super Bowl."
They raised $1500.
So Strachan could afford to go to New Jersey, but he still didn't have a ticket to the game.
"The Seahawks organization found out about the kids raising money for [Ryan]," Tamara Strachan said. "They offered him a face-value ticket."
The Seattle Seahawks have been working to develop their fan base in Canada. The Seahawks Canada Facebook page has almost 2,200 likes, and their Twitter account has nearly 5,000 followers. Omar Mawjee, the managing director for the Seahawks Regional Marketing Office in Canada, told the New York Times that about 10 percent of the fans who had attended Seahawks home games the past five seasons had come from Canada, mostly from Vancouver.
A Super Bowl win on Sunday could draw in even more fans to the Seahawks. Tamara Strachan is ready for the big game against the Broncos. She'll be wearing her "trusty, Steve Largent jersey".