“We are 12” resonates through Seattle. As you walk through Sea-Tac Airport, you pass the “12” restaurant. But, nowhere does the fan support speak more loudly than the stadium the Seahawks franchise calls home. CenturyLink Field is home to the National Football League team. A tour of the stadium reminded me how involved the fans are with the team.
It starts in a concourse near the main entrance. A map of the state of Washington with hundreds of football helmets creating the shape of a football. The helmets come from each high school in the state that plays football. The Seahawks wanted to ensure fans knew they appreciate the love they have for the game.
As visitors stroll around the stadium, you can see the “12s” recognized by the team with “Home of the 12s” placed high around the ring of the stadium. Seattle’s fans cheer loudly during games. At one time, the stadium was considered the loudest in the NFL on game day (until the Kansas City Chiefs took the honor). Something the Chiefs can’t do on game day is cause an earthquake. During a game between the ‘Hawks and the New Orleans Saint, Marshawn Lynch took a handoff and broke tackles en route to a 67-yard touchdown run in a key playoff game in 2011. Officials believe the crowd caused what registered as a 1.0- or 2.0-magnitude earthquake, based on nearby seismographs. Seahawk fans caused another tremor on seismographs three seasons later.
The Seattle Seahawks came into the NFL as an expansion team in 1976, along with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers made NFL history with a 0-28 start. Seattle, however, came out a little more competitive, going 7-21 during that time.
The Seahawks made the playoffs for the first time in their eighth season, advancing as a wildcard team to American Football Conference championship game. Coming up one game short of its first Super Bowl, Seattle battled back the following season, to post a 12-4 record and advance to the second round of the playoffs, again as a wildcard team.
The Seahawks broke through to their first Super Bowl during the 2005 season, losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Seattle has a 1-2 mark in the Super Bowl, with a National Football League title in the 2013 season.
Along the way, some players shined for the team. Two former Seahawks are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame – Cortez Kennedy and Steve Largent. Eleven players, coaches and announcers encircle CenturyLink Field as part of the Ring of Honor. Among my favorites include quarterbacks Jim Zorn and Dave Krieg.
Behind the scenes look
The thing I love about stadium tours is that you get to see parts closed off to the public on game day. As a former sports journalist, excitement rushes through me when we reach the press box. In other stadiums, I’ve sat in the same spot as famous columnists and sports writers. No such luck on this tour. Nevertheless, I took a seat where I had a great view of the field.
Checking out a company’s game day suite excites me, yet depresses me. I’m excited about the view and the perks. Then, I’m depressed because of the view and the perks these folks have while I’m usually sitting out in the elements, holding my too-expensive drink and eating my too-expensive unhealthy superlong footlong bratwurst.
Tours usually include a look at a team’s locker room, but for some reason, we didn’t get to see the Seahawks’ room during our tour. Instead, we visited the locker room where the Seattle Sea Gals (the team’s cheerleaders) dress. Not as thrilling as seeing the Seahawk logo and maybe the locker that Russell Wilson uses, but it was interesting nonetheless. Not many teams show you where the cheerleaders change clothes, so, there’s that.
Getting over the lack of seeing the ‘Hawks locker room, we moved on to the field. CenturyLink Field is one of the most impressive stadiums I’ve seen. The view of the Seattle skyline past the south end zone is breathtaking. Seattle on a sunny day allows for beautiful views.
Major League Soccer team
In addition to being the home of the Seahawks, CenturyLink Field hosts Seattle Sounders games in Major League Soccer. The Sounders routinely compete for postseason action, including winning the MLS Cup for the 2016 season.
I respect the Seattle Seahawks. I enjoyed my tour of CenturyLink Field. I encourage you to take a tour when in Seattle. It’s a fun 90 minutes or so (our tour was on the so side of almost two hours. No complaints).