EXCITED FOOTBALL fans gather in Jerusalem’s First Station to take in Sunday’s late-night Super Bowl showdown between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks..
(photo credit: SETH J. FRANTZMAN)
A somber mood was interrupted by Seahawks’ defensive end Cliff Avril’s jumping offside with only 40 seconds left in the first half of Super Bowl XLIV. What should have been a quiet end to the half turned into a touchdown for the Patriots and then a phenomenal drive by the Seahawks to tie the game just before the break.
Finally Jerusalem-based football fans were getting to see some excitement.
“This is what I came for, to be around friends and see the game, all the other problems this evening are less important,” said a fan from Boston who braved the cold evening in Jerusalem’s First Station, which was hosting its second annual Super Bowl party, in partnership with the Israel Football League and Oberon Computer Services.
A mixed crowd of mostly religious American olim, with some nativeborn Israelis who play for the IFL or AFI flag football league, the mood seemed to reflect the weather.
Downstairs, a stage had been set up and for two hours, local bands played while people trickled in. Amir Tarrab of the First Station said he hoped around 200 would attend the event. A further 50 seats had been reserved for a VIP room on the roof of the station.
Some hiccups affected the event this year, which attendees felt had been scaled back from a successful time last year. Organizers were sick and canceled, the American Embassy, which helped sponsor last year, was not involved.
Dani Deitch, a computer network and systems engineer at Oberon, helped produce the event this time.
“We have a good place here and a central location and we like to have activities like this,” explained Tarrab. Dani concurred, “this place has excellent infrastructure…it is the next best thing to being there.”
While some of the crowd, which had paid up to NIS 200 to attend, seemed nonplussed with the offerings, once the game finally got interesting toward the second half, the weariness and complaining faded away.
Left were the hardcore group that had withstood the cold and long night, at almost 4:30 a.m., to watch their little slice of Americana in the Holy Land.
The Muslim call to prayer would soon waft over the city.
Fans, who were almost all rooting for the Patriots, were not overly enthralled with that team. Cleveland Browns and Bengals fans were there; as was one man who said he had been raised in Seattle and lived 14 years in Boston.
Torn loyalties, but he agreed, “it is nice to spend an evening watching football together with friends.”