Dave Honga has been behind enemy lines for 14 years now, but he’s never been afraid to show his true colors: blue and green.
“I’ve been getting picked on for years down here in Phoenix,” said Honga, 35, who grew up in Kelso. “I bring my Seahawks stuff all over the place out here. It irritates the hell out of (my bosses), and I love it.”
He irritated even more Arizona Cardinals fans this week when he, his brother and a few other Seattle fans climbed Camelback Mountain outside of Phoenix to hoist a giant 12th Man flag. (The Cardinals are bitter division rivals of the Seattle Seahawks, and their stadium will host the Super Bowl on Sunday.)
A local TV station covered the stunt with a helicopter, and the video found fame and infamy online.
“On Facebook we got so much hate mail,” Honga said by phone Thursday. “It was pretty funny scrolling through the comments. They were pretty brutal.”
It wasn’t a totally one-sided display of fanhood though.
“(The station) said to bring a Patriots fan — we could only find one to go up there with us,” he said.
Honga, a baggage handler for American Airlines, had previously made the trip up the mountain when the Seahawks walloped the Cardinals in the regular 2013 season. His brother Travis organized the hike this time, enlisting a few other fans and a helicopter pilot who happens to work for a local news station.
Honga is the 14th of 19 children born to the late Wil Honga, who died in 2009 and was known to many locally as “Mr. Ernst” because he worked at the old Ernst hardware store at the Triangle Mall.
Dave Honga said he has no doubts about what is going to transpire on Sunday afternoon.
“We’re definitely going to dominate. We never quit, I tell you that much.”