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A version of this story first appeared in the Feb. 7 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Who would be crazy enough to fly into the polar vortex? For some Hollywooders, the chance to watch their team play in the Super Bowl just can’t be missed (tickets, from $1,500, are still available online).
“If we win, I’ll be holding up my finger, No. 1, and then I’ll just break my finger off and throw it on the field,” says Joel McHale, who grew up in Seattle. Adds record producer Mike WiLL Made It: “I like the energy of the Seahawks. I like the quarterback. He talks good shit.” They’re part of an entertainment contingent of the Seahawks’ “12th men” that includes Macklemore, Chris Pratt, Rainn Wilson, Kyle MacLachlan and Raising Hope actor Garret Dillahunt, who will take a break from shooting his Fox comedy to see his team make its second Super Bowl appearance. “I’m going to wear my Hawks colors; I have an extensive assortment,” Dillahunt says. “And maybe wear my snowsuit.”
Like Dillahunt, Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D. showrunner Matt Olmstead was raised in Washington, but by the time the Seahawks franchise began in 1976, he had already pledged his allegiance elsewhere: to the Denver Broncos, which also count Don Cheadle, Jessica Biel and South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone among their industry fans. “As soon as they won [the AFC title], I got on the phone,” says Olmstead. “I was gonna pay any amount to go.”
Also in attendance: Dylan Wiley, senior vp at Entertainment One’s U.S. film unit. The Denver native, who watches Broncos games “very intensely by myself,” will be joined by contacts from marketing agencies, “so there will be some work getting done in between my maniacal screaming.”
That’s what The League co-creators (and Seattle fans) Jeff and Jackie Schaffer will be doing, too. “There’s no better thing to do in the middle of writing a show about football-obsessed fans,” says Jackie.
Of course, there will be the regulars, including Harvey Weinstein, who’ll be sitting in the Jets owner’s box, Paramount’s Rob Moore and Jerry Bruckheimer, who explains why he won’t be bothered at all by the cold: “I grew up in Detroit.” Katie Couric will attend, as will A+E Networks CEO Nancy Dubuc, who is on the host committee and will bring about 40 local military veterans as part of History channel’s mission to support vets. The site makes it easier for notables like Soledad O’Brien and Mehmet Oz, who lives 15 minutes from MetLife Stadium, to be there. Both Giants fans, they’ll be on opposite sides come Sunday.
“I love Peyton Manning‘s story,” says the good doctor, who is inspired by the Denver quarterback’s record-breaking comeback from neck surgery. Meanwhile, O’Brien will be cheering on Seattle, particularly fullback Derrick Coleman, the NFL’s first legally deaf player. “My son Jackson is also deaf,” she says, “so the way Derrick talks about his disability — how he can’t hear the crowd, the critics; how his disability can be an advantage — is so inspiring.”
Additional reporting by Gary Baum, Jimmy Im and Brandon Kirby.
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