By Brian Lester
Meagan Hughes and her fiancé, Jeff Knutson, have a New England Patriots flag and Seattle Seahawks flag flying in front of their home.
Late Sunday night, once Super Bowl XLIX in Arizona has been decided between the Patriots and the defending champion Seahawks, one of those flags will have to come down until next season.
The couple, who is hosting a Super Bowl party, made it part of the wager for the game.
Hughes, who moved from Massachusetts to Florida in 2008, is a New England fan. Knutson, a Seahawks fan, has been in Florida since 2005, moving here from the state of Washington. They met in 2008.
“We are having a house-divided Super Bowl party, and it will be pretty crazy,” Hughes said. “We both keep saying we aren’t going to talk smack about the other team, but it comes out. I assume the talking will continue until the end of the game.”
Hughes watched both the AFC and NFC championship games from her home two weeks ago while Knutson, whose parents fly the Seattle mascot, Taima the Hawk, was at the NFC title game in person. He watched the Seahawks rally from a 16-0 deficit and beat the Green Bay Packers 28-22 in overtime.
The Patriots rolled to a 45-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts to punch their ticket to the Super Bowl.
Most of the fans attending the party don’t favor either team, although to enter the party, they must pick a side. Hughes said her friends will pull for the Patriots. Knutson’s friends will root for the Seahawks.
Knutson’s older daughter, Kylie, will be cheering on Seattle. The couple’s daughter, Lillian, will be a Patriots fan.
The Patriots, winners of three Super Bowls since 2001, have stirred up their share of controversy despite being one of the most successful teams in the league. In the AFC championship game, they were accused of cheating because they used underinflated footballs.
“It’s just another excuse to hate on the Patriots,” Hughes said. “Jeff gave me a hard time about it. We actually had a full-on argument over it and stopped speaking to each other for the night.”
Talking won’t be in short supply Sunday as the Patriots and Seahawks battle for NFL supremacy.
“We are both pretty nervous for the game,” Hughes said. “Both teams are great and have really great offensive and defensive lines. There’s been a lot of smack talk from both teams, but it’s going to be one heck of a game.”