TACOMA, Wash. -- More than 1,600 people erupted in cheers and exchanged high-fives Sunday night at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma after watching the Seattle Seahawks win the Super Bowl.
"It's our time," said Christopher Miles of Tacoma. "It's been a long time waiting."
Miles scanned the packed casino event center where the crowd watched the Seahawks defeat the Denver Broncos on one 45-by-25-foot screen and two smaller screens.
"I'm very happy," said Miles, 33. "It's a beautiful day. It's really brought our community together."
Most fans said they expected the Seahawks to win Super Bowl XLVIII, but not by a 43-8 score in a game that was decided well before it ended.
"It just boosts everybody up," said Saer Mohamed, 24, of Fircrest. In the gloom of winter, "it feels like it's summer again."
"I'll never forget this night," Mohamed said. "I'll never forget this team."
Becky Bousquet of Orting said the best part was the victory.
"I didn't expect us to win," said Bousquet, 55. "I'm surprised and happy."
Most fans said the Seahawks deserved to win. Team members worked hard all season and have the 12th Man behind them, fans said.
They were decked out in Seahawks jerseys, and many wore strands of blue-and-green beads.
Staci Hornby even wore "12th Man Army" tattoos just below her eyes.
"I knew we'd win, but this is like a dream come true," said Hornby, 26, of Sumner.
"We deserve this," she said. "We play hard. ... We have the best fans in the world."
Ron Turner was confident after the first half that the Seahawks would win and put the Northwest on the sports world map.
"There's a parade we're going to be going to," said Turner, 58, of Tacoma. "It won't be in Denver."
But Nicolas Klein, 30, hadn't given up. He stood out in the throng at the casino wearing a Broncos jersey.
"It's a little disappointing," said Klein, who moved from Tacoma six months ago to Arizona. "But it's expected. The Seattle Seahawks are a tough team."
Fans broke out in impromptu "SEA-HAWKS!" chants during the game. And they cheered and screamed after every big play.
The Seahawks' journey to their first Super Bowl win has brought people together in the area, said Barbara Scott, 53, of Tacoma.
"Nobody's trying to fuss and fight," she said.
At a pub on Dock Street in Tacoma, a crowd of about 100 people was boisterous from the start of the Super Bowl, watching the game on nine big screens.
At Rock The Dock Pub & Grill, Darrell Klemisch wore a Seahawks jersey that had his nickname, "Pick," and the number 6. "Pick-6" is the term for an interception resulting in a touchdown.
"We're going to win it," said Klemisch, 44, of Kent. "It's all Seahawks. It's better than I thought it would be."
Kimberly Clark, 34, said she was confident the Seahawks would win because of their defense.
Seahawks fans have longed for this moment since the team's inception, said Clark, of Tacoma.
"This is what we've been waiting for since '76," she said. "It's history-making."
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