By now you know that our region’s favorite team, the World Champion Seattle Seahawks, start their regular season tomorrow. Now, for those of you who either just moved to Seattle or aren’t huge football fans, we have provided answers to 12 questions that will help you be part of any office water cooler conversation.
1) 12 questions? Seriously, what’s the deal with all the 12’s?
Ever since the Seahawks moved into Century Link Field in 2002, the Seahawks have honored their fans by calling them the “12th man.” This represents the idea that when other teams come to play the Hawks, the crowd is so loud and has such an impact that the opponents are essentially playing 11 on 12. Hence, the 12th man. Right before every home game, the Seahawks have someone from Seattle raise the “12th Man flag” which turns an already loud stadium into utter chaos.
2) What is Beast Mode?
It was Jan 9, 2011 – Coach Pete Carroll’s first year with the team. Even though the Hawks only finished with a 7-9 record that year, it was enough for them to win their division (NFC West) and thus get to host the heavily favored New Orleans Saints in the first round of the playoffs. Late in the 4th quarter, the Saints were mounting a comeback and the Seahawks were trying to hold on to the ball, up by four points. That’s when running back Marshawn Lynch took a hand-off and ran through just about everyone on the Saints defense on the way to the end zone. Lynch was said to go into “Beast Mode.”
3) What’s with the animosity between us and the 49’ers? San Francisco seems like such a friendly place.
Believe it or not, the Seahawks vs 49’ers rivalry does not go back too many years. The Seahawks switched divisions from the AFC West to the NFC West in 2002, long long long after the 49’ers dynasty of the 1980’s and 1990’s when they won five Super Bowls. But 49’ers head coach Jim Harbaugh and Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll have both recently joined their teams, Carroll in 2010 and Harbaugh in 2011. And both had coached against each other in the Pac-10, Harbaugh at Stanford from 2007-2010, and Carroll at USC from 2000-2009, so their NFL rivalry spilled over from college. It reached a fever pitch in the NFC Championship game last January when the Seahawks narrowly won the game to go to the Super Bowl. The 49’ers built a new stadium about 40-50 miles outside of the city this year, so a favorite insult is to refuse to call them “San Francisco” any more, and refer to them as the “Santa Clara 49’ers.”
4) Can I date Russell Wilson? He’s dreamy.
Well, Russell Wilson is single after separating from his wife in the spring. Rumors of him with a current girlfriend are sketchy at best. But keep in mind that he’s known for being in the Seahawks film room at 5:00am, being the last guy to leave the training facility and spending most of his Tuesday afternoon free time at Children’s Hospital talking to sick kids. That’s right, he’s not just an NFL star, but he’s a super nice guy to boot. So, even if you do nab him, don’t expect too much wining and dining from the gallant QB.
5) I’m going to the game. Where should I go before hand?
Oh wow, that’s a tough question. Once you are in Pioneer Square, every bar and restaurant is going to be filled with 12th men and women. Most Seahawks games are Sunday at 1:15pm, which gives you the chance to get down early for breakfast, watch most of the 10:00am NFL games, and then head over to the stadium about 12:15. You want to get to the stadium a little early so you can get settled in, and to let your ears slowly adjust to the mountain of noise that is building up towards kickoff.
6) Who is Richard Sherman and why does he bother fans of other teams?
When you are a leader of the Seahawks defensive secondary that calls itself the “Legion of Boom,” you are bound to ruffle the feathers of opposing fans. Sherman has always been known as an outspoken character, but his popularity (and anti-popularity) reached new heights at the very end of the NFC Championship game after he defended a pass that won the game. Either you think he is overly aggressive or you love his emotion. He kind of polarizes people one way or the other. If he played for Santa Clara, we probably wouldn’t be able to stand him.
7) What’s the deal with the phrase “Win Forever” and where did it come from?
This is Coach Carroll’s mantra. In fact, he has a web site and has written a book of the same rallying cry. Coach Carroll’s program for youth “develops a culture of high performance that is in a relentless pursuit of a competitive edge – for individuals and teams to become the very best they can possibly become.” He brings that same competitiveness to every Seahawks practice and game.
8) How should my friends or I get to the stadium?
Lucky you! You live 100 yards from the stadium! Your friends can come meet you for a pre-game bash at your place, or you can met them downstairs and enjoy the festive Pioneer Square environment. Like we said above, just wander around, find a place that suits you, and enjoy a leisurely build up to kick-off. If you have friends joining you who will be cutting it close (and aren’t lucky enough to live in Stadium Place), the bus or light rail are pretty good options. Have them park somewhere along the line and zip into the International Street station. They’ll avoid the parking headaches and traffic jams.
9) By the way, when are the games and who do we play?
Good question. Here’s a technical answer to wow your friends with. The Hawks play 16 games. 6 are against their NFC West rivals Santa Clara, Arizona and St. Louis (3 at home, 3 away.) This year, all of the teams in the NFC West will also play the 4 teams in the AFC West; Denver, Oakland, San Diego and Kansas City (2 at home, 2 away) and NFC East; Washington, New York Giants, Philadelphia and Dallas (2 at home, 2 away.) The divisions they play against rotate every year. Finally, because the Seahawks were the winners of their division last year, they play last year’s winners of the 2 other divisions in their conference; Carolina and Green Bay (1 home, 1 away.) Got it? Well here’s the full schedule with actual dates and times.
10) When’s the last time a team won Back to Back Super Bowls? Can we do it again?
So far there have been 48 Super Bowls, and Back to Back titles have only happened 8 times – Green Bay (1967, 1968), Miami (1973, 1974), Pittsburgh (1975, 1976 and 1979, 1980), San Francisco (1989, 1990), Dallas (1993, 1994), Denver (1998, 1999) and New England (2004, 2005). Looking at the trends, this is the longest the league has gone without a repeat champion, so it does seem like the time is right.
11) Since we won it last year, will the Super Bowl be in Seattle this year?
No, that’s not how it works, sadly. The Super Bowl location is chosen years in advance – usually in a warm weather city, unless there’s a brand new stadium the league wants to show off. This year’s Super Bowl is in Phoenix, and then the next ones are in Santa Clara (NOT San Francisco), Houston and Minneapolis.
12) I want to buy a jersey. Whose number and name should I get?
Excellent, excellent question. Good for you for your team spirit. The easy and popular choices are Russell Wilson (3), Marshawn Lynch (24) or Legion of Boom standouts Richard Sherman (25) and Earl Thomas (29). Now these are great choices, and Wilson, Sherman and Thomas will be with the team for years, so the jersey won’t be out of date for a while. If you like something less trendy and like little guys, two sophisticated choices would be wide receivers Percy Harvin (11) and Doug Baldwin (89). Less trendy choices for big guys would be the quiet but tough center Max Unger (60) or left tackle Russell Okung (76). Or maybe you want to pick someone from your college. Check out the roster here. And there’s always just the #12. That’s always a solid pick.
Have more questions about the Seahawks? Let us know in the comments below.
And just in case you can’t get tickets, check out the view from the roof deck of The Wave!