From the damp and dismal Olympic Peninsula I watched my first games as a child, when the Kingdome was our stomping grounds and players and coaches dreaded the loudest stadium in NFL history (the highest decibel level unofficially recorded at 137, the equivalent of a jet engine, but more on that later on); so much so that we actually acknowledged the power of our presence by giving us a team number and retiring it on Dec. 15, 1984. From there on in, 12 became the most significant number in my life.
I was there for all of the greats: Franco Harris, Jim Zorn, Steve Raible (before he became the voice of the Seahawks) Steve Largent, Manu Tuiasosopo, Michael Jackson, Kenny Easley, Curt Warner, Norm Johnson, Eugene Robinson, Rufus Porter, Brian Blades, Mack Strong, Walter Jones, the Twin Towers of Cortez Kennedy and Sam Adams, Chad Brown, Warren Moon, Itulu Mili, Shawn Alexander, and believe me, I could go on.
I was there for our busts: Brian Bosworth, Jeff Kemp, Rick Mirer, John Freisz, Joey Galloway, and so on.
I witnessed every changing of the guard of leadership: Patera, McCormack, Knox, Flores, Erickson, Holmgren, Green, and Carroll.
I watched my team through thick and thin, from our darkest record of 2-14 and our best record of 13-3 (TWICE, thank you very much). I witnessed 1984 and our first run at glory, losing to the Raiders and lived through the drought of 10 years following our 1988 season. I saw Steve Largent’s 100th TD catch, ALL of Shaun Alexander’s 100 TDs, our triumphant NFC Championship game and our dismal loss of Super Bowl XL. I was there through it all, witnessing multitudes more of pain and sorrow than joy, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Come Hell or high water, I watch my Seahawks play the full 4 quarters every time I watch them play. Good, bad or downright ugly, I stand by my team until the very end.
Pete and his crew will be standing on the biggest stage for all of the world to see: a resilient Seattle team purged through the furnace of injuries and all other forms of adversity, but coming out victorious in the clutch games to send them through the playoffs, defying all odds and even defeated our most heated rival, the 49ers, with resounding confidence to take the NFC Title. I’m no football prophet, but I expect my team will never be out of the reach of victory in the matchup with Peyton Manning and his Denver Broncos. Hell, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Seattle dominates the majority of the game. After all, this is what we do best on the big stages (note: our 19-8 record-topping stats on MNF and our outstanding performances on nationally covered games in the past): the Legion of Boom has dismantled future HoF QBs, RBs, and WRs with not only season lows, but career lows as well over the past two seasons. I see no reason why this game, in which Carroll has trained them for this to be played like every other game this season, should produce different results. Add the brawn of Beast Mode, the brains and agility of RW3, and the constantly underestimated “Pedestrian” receivers we have, and you have the potential makings of an all-out route (and for those who say that they have no home field advantage, please note that the Seahawks had a shutout win against another future HoF inductee, who also happens to be a Manning, and have already claimed this to be a “home-away-from-home” in their own eyes).
This Sunday, the 12th Man will be out in full force at Met Life Stadium and in pubs, parking lot tailgate parties, and living rooms across the nation and the entire world, and the 12th Man Warrior (kilt, face paint, and all) will be yelling as only we know how (as proven twice by the folks at Guinness World Records) to help our boys the Lombardi Trophy for the first time of many to come. I call them our boys not as a term of friendship, but as family. We laugh, cry, love, live, and die with each one who has had the honor to wear our colors into battle.
For us, the 12th Man, it goes so much deeper than football. We’re held together by common threads: passion for our team, our family, our community. We never expect outsiders to understand our devotion. We expect the criticism and opposition to come at us in droves. It fuels us and we’re ready to stand for our Seattle Seahawks. This is who we are and this is who I am…
…I am a Seahawks fan.