It must be the flag.
Theres no other way to explain it.
As Kennewicks Andy Stirling and his two buddies Portlands Jeff Blackwood and Seattles Joe Corr have made their way around New York City this week, wearing their Seattle Seahawks clothing and carrying around the 12th Man flag, theyve found themselves as mini celebrities.
At least a half-dozen people have wanted to take their pictures with us with the flag, said Stirling, who has been sharing their trip with Herald readers this week.
The trio found themselves in a Manhattan hotel lobby on Friday night, where NFL great Jerry Rice was hanging out. So was San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick and Vernon Davis, as well as NBA star J.R. Smith.
Stirling and Blackwood had their picture taken with Rice.
We asked him who he thought would win Sundays game and he wouldnt commit, said Blackwood. We were trying to work him. But all hed say was I think its gonna be a great game. He was very nice.
Afterwards, the guys made their way back to Times Square, where they made friends with some guys from Brooklyn, who bought the Seahawks fans drinks.
In fact, the three have found New Yorkers pretty nice.
They tried to cross a street where maybe they shouldnt, when a double-decker bus screeched to a halt in front of them.
The driver rolls his window down, said Stirling. And just when I thought he was going to yell at us, he says Seahawks fans! Go Hawks! You guys go first! Seahawks, youve got the right of way, baby!
Corr says the whole week has humbled him.
It actually has been a powerful experience to hear New Yorkers yelling Go Hawks! he said. Im really proud to be a 12.
The guys had planned to spend much of Saturday at the DirecTV Beach Bowl over near the Hudson River. But Corr said the event didnt appeal to them, so they called an audible.
We decided to do a fly-by at a bar called Jekyll & Hyde Club, and we end up getting our tab picked up, said Blackwood.
We were only going in for one drink, said Stirling. Four hours later, everybody loves us. I dont know if its the enthusiasm we bring or not.
Corr said it was the stories they were sharing with the bartender and the patrons, of their experiences in New York and how much they loved the place.
When it was time to pay their bar tab, the bartender said he quit counting after their first drink.
It worked out for the best, said Blackwood. People were coming up and wanting to get their pictures taken with us.
After leaving Jekyll & Hyde, they werent done.
We got off the subway and went back up to street level, said Stirling. A guy in a Seahawks cape comes up and said Hey, you wanna go to a 12th Man rally? We said sure.
It was at the Copacabana Club, and Richard Shermans parents were at the rally.
The guys took shots with Shermans father before heading back to their hotel to get ready to go out for dinner Saturday night.
The fans showed up in droves Saturday too.
Video of Times Square showed the entire area packed with fans, almost denser than any New Years Eve crowd.
We were on the subway with some Giants fans, said Corr. They were saying they have never seen anything like this. There are so many people, and they cant get around to do the things they need to do.
The guys tried to go 11⁄2 blocks on foot Friday night in Times Square, and it took them 25 minutes. They estimate that the Seahawks to Broncos fan ratio seems to be 10-to-1.
Corr would like the Herald to talk to his boss about needing next week to recover from this trip.
But for now, he, Blackwood and Stirling are having the time of their lives in a city they have fallen in love with.
Everyone in New York, it seems, has fallen in love with the Seahawks, the 12th Man, and the flag.
There have been a lot of amazing people here, said Corr. And that 12th Man flag is gold.
w Follow Stirling on Twitter at @DorsNation. Corr and Blackwood would like people to follow them too at @CorrJoe and @jeffthecoug, respectively.