CHARLOTTE, NC - Sporting a Seahawks tattoo on his arm, and decking out his car with the same logo, Michael Russell isn't exactly shy about his fandom, especially in the days leading up to the Panthers-Seahawks playoff game.
"On my way over here today, I was getting fingers, I was getting cussed at," Russell said. "I could see people fussing at me."
Russell, along with friend Bernard Bickerstaff, are members of the Carolina Sea Hawkers, a regional fan group based in Charlotte.
"It's a bunch of people from Seattle," Bickerstaff said. "It's fun to go watch a game with people who are actually from the city, who know the city, who've lived there for a while. There's a lot of comradery."
"To be able to meet up with 150 plus fans, to share a game with them, it's exhilarating," said Russell.
The Sea Hawkers got the result they wanted last year, when Seattle eliminated Carolina from the playoffs. Members of the group respect this year's Panther team, but expect the same result.
"I didn't think the Panthers were ready last year," Bickerstaff said. "They have a way better team this year, so I think it'll be a better game. I like the Panthers. I think they have some injuries that are going to hurt them, especially with their DBs. I think that's going to be the difference."