MANATEE -- Super Bowl fans in Manatee County ranged from pastors, deacons and choir members from a Palmetto church wearing football jerseys at a special 11 a.m. "Super Sunday" service to a diehard Peyton Manning fan claiming her reserved stool at 4 p.m. to root to the bitter end at the Lost Kangaroo Pub on Old Main Street.
The Spiritual House of Praise in Palmetto harnessed the Super Bowl spirit of the day seven and a half hours before kickoff. The church drew a crowd estimated at 200 for its Super Sunday Neighborhood Empowerment Service.
Church officials all wore football jerseys representing their favorite football teams -- any team was fine -- as they gave away bicycles and other toys and treats to children,
Church member Shirley Brinson wore the No. 45 of
former Lakewood Ranch High School star Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, now of the Denver Broncos.
Seattle Seahawk jerseys were nowhere to be seen but some youngsters did have their faces painted Seahawk colors.
Mother Florine Boston wore a Tampa Bay Bucs shirt as did Randall Terry, who wore former Buc receiver Kellen Winslow's No. 82.
"The idea was to help the economically disadvantaged by throwing them a pass of hope so they can succeed," said Pastor Cory Brinson.
Church member Will Crummer threw small footballs into the crowd and beach balls were legally bounced in church. Dolores Lee did her version of a touchdown dance that lasted 30 minutes and involving handing out treats.
"He was one of the neighborhood kids who I followed," Brinson said proudly of Rodgers-Cromartie. "I watched him grow up here."
Patti Smith of Palmetto, known as Manatee County's greatest Peyton Manning fan, has watched virtually all of his games dating back when he was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts.
At the bar, she was wearing a red, white and blue Peyton Manning No. 18 Pro Bowl jersey from his Colts' years.
"I started liking him because we lived in Columbus, Ohio, three hours east of Indianapolis, and I became a Colts' fan when Peyton played for them," Smith said. "He's in the mold of Johnny Unitas."
Win or lose, Smith indicated she is a true Manning fan and the Lost Kangaroo management appreciates her loyalty. She and her husband, Larry, have been given their own stools on the far western edge of the bar.
"She's loud," Larry Smith said of his wife.
At the other end of the bar Sunday, Seahawks' fan Max Phillips looked confident before the game.
Asked why he was predicting Seattle to win 27-21, Phillips said: "They are younger, meaner and better."
Behind a stifling defense, Seattle won 43-8 and it really wasn't that close.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7072 or contact him via Twitter @ RichardDymond.