The Seahawks are in the midst of a thrilling run to Super Bowl XLVIII. Not even their heated rival, the San Francisco 49ers, could stop them from reaching the next plateau in their journey for a Lombardi trophy. This could be what the City of Seattle and the Hawk’s 12th Man have been waiting for after coming so close in 2005. I keep comparing my current thoughts and emotions to the Hawk’s 2005 Super Bowl run, but this just feels different. Eight years later, all new players, coach, and management, all of which are ingredients that have created a different kind of team. This team is energetic, free-spirited, and plays with a certain swagger that oozes from undrafted free-agents playing with nothing to lose, and a coaching philosophy of "always compete."
During the pre-season I was overwhelmed with feelings of cautious optimism and nervousness, signifying that his could be a special year for the team that I grew up supporting. Could this be the year? My first memories of Seattle’s professional football team included cheering on the team with my dad, both at home and while at games in the Kingdome. I feel fortunate to have witnessed the development and progression of the Seahawks franchise during my upbringing. Watching Ricky Waters run in a touchdown from the east endzone stands of Husky stadium, while Quest/Century Link Field was under construction, followed by attending games in the new stadium in the mid 2000’s really blossomed my Hawk’s fandom. When I visualize Century Link Field I picture a sea of navy blue jerseys throughout the stands against the backdrop of an overcast skyline; that light blue #12 flag waving slightly in the misty rain completing the picturesque, Northwest scene.
One of my first jobs was working as a liquor runner at Qwest Field during the home games of the 2003 Season. Those eight days enriched my fandom in a way that I won’t forget, and will remain grateful for forever. Hearing the cheers and boos, ups and downs of every home game that year was truly special. Being on the "field-level" of the action that season, allowed me to experience the pulse of the fan-base in a way not achievable from attending a game as a fan every year or two. I remember pushing around carts of liquor to suites and pantries throughout the stadium with a smile on my face and a little extra pep in my step from listening to the roar of the other 12’s throughout the stadium. The smell of cheap beer, hot dogs, and garlic fries permeates the concrete walkups of hard plastic seats. There’s no place like home.
Still living in Seattle during the 2005 season, I got to feel the infectious excitement that is infused into a city during a Super Bowl run. This year I’ve been able to soak up the storybook season with other Hawks fans in the Washington, D.C. area. After moving away to the East Coast and a seven year hiatus from home games at Qwest/Century Link, I was finally able to attend the Week 16 game against Arizona. It was rewarding to attend the game with my dad, and engage in the 12th Man experience first-hand, something I’ve missed out on over the last seven years. While the game result was severely disappointing - the Hawk’s first home loss in nearly two years - I savored every last minute of it. I knew this team’s journey was not over, and sensed there was magic left.
To be on the brink of only the second major professional sports championship this city has ever known is a truly special opportunity. Regardless of the outcome of Super Bowl XLVIII, John Schneider and Pete Carroll have built something special with this team, and the 12th Man recognizes and respects it by giving the team all the support they can muster. Wearing my #3 Jersey in Russell’s home state of Virginia gives me special pride – just another 12 doing my part. "Get Louder, 12th Man - Go Hawks!"
-Conor Marshall, Arlington, VA