ROXBORO — For Vicentia Brooks, the atmosphere at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium during last month’s Super Bowl was “electrifying.”
For husband David, “it was a chance of a lifetime.”
For son Michael, a Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle, “it was a little surreal.”
They gathered last week at the McDonalds restaurant in Roxboro where Michael Brooks once worked to relive the experience. His old boss, Roy Holler, stopped by for congratulations.
“It was fun,” said Michael Brooks, whose Seahawks beat up on the Denver Broncos 43-8. “I’ve watched it since I was seven or eight and to be there was a cool experience.”
Michael Brooks, 22, a former Bartlett Yancey and East Carolina defensive standout, joined the Seahawks last Spring as an undrafted free agent. The 6’3”, 295 pounder spent most of the season on the team’s practice squad, simulating opposing teams so roster players could prepare for upcoming games.
He traveled with the team to the Super Bowl, put on a jersey and stood on the sidelines with the other players. Together they watched the game unfold much as they had expected.
“We had, statistically, the best defense in the NFL,” Michael Brooks said. “We had two weeks to prepare for them. You give us two weeks to prepare and we can figure out anything.”
At halftime, with the Seahaws up 22-0 and the Broncos floundering, Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll told his team “we knew it would be like this and we know how it’s going to end,” Michael Brooks recalled. “He didn’t want them to score.”
He described the feel on the sideline as “businesslike” despite the runaway.
“We didn’t get too excited the whole game,” Michael Brooks said. “We just played our game throughout.”
Even though her son’s team was going up against legendary quarterback Peyton Manning, Vicentia Brooks said she was confident of the outcome all along. She sat beside a Broncos fan from Canada and had a good time getting to know him.
“I told him we have to convert him to Seahawks,” she said. “He said he was a diehard Broncos fan.”
David Brooks wasn’t nearly as certain. He liked the way the first half went, but didn’t begin breathing easier until the kickoff starting the third quarter. Seahawk Percy Harvin grabbed it, knifed through Broncos defenders, scampered the length of the field and scored. That pretty much broke the back of Denver’s turnaround hopes.
“It’s a thing about older people and experience,” David Brooks said, referring to the aging Manning. “You can’t count them out.”
Michael Brooks, happy to be done with his rookie year, is looking forward to next season with the Seahawks. He will be living at his parent’s Person County home until he heads back to Seattle in April for offseason training.
These days he’s working out daily at a private gym in downtown Yanceyville and expects to begin working out on the Bartlett Yancey track later this month.
The Seahawks have signed him to a two year contract, but he won’t know for a while whether he’ll be on the team’s roster or remain on its practice squad.
He had a small taste of the big time when he was promoted to the roster for a November weekend and played against Atlanta. He nailed Falcons running back Steven Jackson at the line, earning a pat on the back from Carroll.
“It was real fun,” Michael Brooks said of his time in the game.
And Carroll: “He talked to me after the game and told me I did a good job. Pete’s a cool guy, great coach. He’s really a players’ coach.”
As far as the Brooks know, they’re the only family from Caswell or Person counties who’ve ever had a son on a Super Bowl team.
“It’s a big thing,” David Brooks said.