Mobility issues might keep Kennewick man from Super Bowl

By Ty Beaver, Tri-City HeraldJanuary 21, 2014 

A Seahawks fan from Kennewick has won the football equivalent of the lottery: tickets to see his team in Super Bowl XLVIII.

But Fred Petragallo, 72, might not be able to go, because he has a hard time getting around and might not manage to reach his seats.

"There's no way I can walk up all those stairs," he said of MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

He's been a Seahawks season-ticket holder for 12 years and has four disabled-accessible seats, for which he paid $5,400 this year, in the third-level overhang on the 50-yard line at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.

"They're swell. You're close to the food, you're close to the bathroom," he said.

Petragallo only attended the regular-season victories over the San Francisco 49ers and Tennessee Titans and the playoff win against the New Orleans Saints, partially because of his mobility issues, he said.

He wore a Seahawks hooded sweatshirt to those games, adorned with signed buttons of his three favorite players -- former quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, former running back Shaun Alexander and former cornerback Marcus Trufant.

After winning the Seahawks' Super Bowl ticket lottery, Petragallo went to Seattle on Monday and paid $1,600 for seats 15 and 16 in section 340, row 22 of MetLife Stadium, he said. That puts him on the western side of the uppermost level, only a few rows from the top.

Petragallo can walk on his own but he's "just worn out" after working for years as a plumber, he said. He uses a scooter when he attends Seahawks games. Accessible seats at MetLife Stadium would have cost him another $400 a ticket and would still be far from the field.

Petragallo hasn't decided yet whether he'll try to attend the game, but time is running out. Mobility influenced his decision to sell his tickets to the 2005 Super Bowl, when the Seahawks lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, he said.

"Someone would have to help me," he said. "I'd rather someone be able to go to the game and enjoy it."

He's considering selling the tickets on Craigslist. Either way, it's been a great season for his team.

"I'm just lucky enough to have (the tickets)," Petragallo said.

His home, along with collections of driftwood and ivory, is filled with Seahawks memorabilia, including cleats and a helmet handed to him by Hasselbeck and a commemorative ticket from the 2005 Super Bowl signed by Alexander.

"I've been collecting Seahawks stuff for years," he said. "I used to go to the training camps every year."

w Ty Beaver: 509-582-1402; tbeaver@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @_tybeaver; Google+: +TyBeaverTCHerald

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