Interested in rooting for one of the NFL's 32 teams -- but don't know where to start? Adam Rank has you covered with this series, which will present a handy guide to becoming an instantly rabid fan of each organization in the league. Below, find out why you should root for the Seattle Seahawks.
What you need to know so you don't sound stupid
If you want to become a Seahawks fan, you can gain instant admission to the 12s (we will touch on this momentarily) by just randomly shouting, "Why didn't we run the ball?!!" And then everybody will solemnly raise their Rainier beer bottle into the air and cheers you. You'll be the Emperor of Emerald City. The Sultan of Starbucks. The Prince of Pike Place Market. All right, we might have flown too close to the sun, but what does this all even mean?
Well, the Seahawks were a single yard from the go-ahead score in the closing moments of Super Bowl XLIX, with one of the best power backs in NFL history (Marshawn Lynch) at their disposal. And then coach Pete Carroll called a pass play. Yeah. It was intercepted by Malcolm Butler, and the Patriots won another Super Bowl to give those long-suffering Boston fans something good in their sporting life for a change.
Why did Carroll make this call? I don't know. Fans of "The Simpsons" will remember the famed episode in which Montgomery Burns builds a softball team of MLB ringers. After Darryl Strawberry had carried the team all day, Burns pulls him for Homer Simpson because he wanted to play the percentages with a righty-lefty matchup. The move worked out perfectly for the Springfield 9, even though the ball hit Homer in the head. Seahawks fans were left scratching their heads. Or worse.
Super Bowl XLVIII
The Seahawks destroyed the Broncos (and mostly Manning) in one of the most lopsided Super Bowls in NFL history. Super Bowl blowouts were a thing in the 1980s and part of the '90s before a long stretch of competitive games. And then the Seahawks happened. The Broncos were doomed from the first play from scrimmage, because Manning had another one of his patented playoff pratfalls that became the hallmark of his career. I mean, I sat there before the game with one NFL scout, and the broadcast went to Manning walking into the stadium. The scout said, "He looks like this is the last place on Earth he wants to be." Of course, we were in New Jersey, so there was probably some truth to that. But it really showed up on the field.
I even remember standing next to one of the KOA guys during the first play. I leaned over to him and said, "It would be the most Peyton Manning thing ever to throw a pick-six." He let the snap go over his head, to which I replied, "Or that." Then I congratulated him and walked to the bar. I mean the press box.
But it was a culmination of emotion for the 12s, who were finally able to celebrate a championship.
What's the deal with the 12s?
Everybody thinks of the 12s as these front-runners who just magically appeared in the Pete Carroll era. That's not accurate -- that sentiment stems mostly from the jealousy of opposing fan bases.
Now, to be fair, any team that experiences success will enjoy new-found interest from people who weren't fans of the team. I was at Disneyland the other day, and the amount of Golden State Warriors gear was staggering. But make no mistake about it: This is a legit fan base in Seattle. In fact, the 12s thing started when the team was formed back in 1976. The Seahawks played their first year in the NFC, before landing in the AFC (where they'd stay until 2002, when they returned to the NFC due to divisional realignment). They were competitive pretty quickly. Reached the 1983 AFC Championship Game. And all along, the fans created a pretty hostile home-field advantage in the old Kingdome.
In fact, the Seahawks retired the No. 12 in 1984 (that's right; 1984, fools) for the fans. So don't act like this is some fly-by-night fan base. They have been there for the long haul.
Don't ever talk about ...
"We knew it was going to be tough going up against the Pittsburgh Steelers," Holmgren said to fans who had gathered at Qwest Field to welcome the team home after the loss. "I didn't know we were going to have to play the guys in the striped shirts, as well."
I'm not going to take a side here. Let's just say it's still a sore spot.
Also don't ever talk about ...
The most iconic NFL moments of Bo Jackson's career happened on Nov. 30, 1987 in a "Monday Night Football" game against the Seahawks and rookie linebacker Brian Bosworth, a polarizing linebacker from Oklahoma who promised to shut down Bo.
Yeah, Jackson blew by him for a 91-yard touchdown in the second quarter, the last image of that run being the disappearance of Bo as he ran up the stadium tunnel. That's not all. Bo ran over Bosworth on a short touchdown, bulldozering (is that a word?) into the end zone in the second half. Bo ended with 221 rushing yards. Boz went on to film the movie "Stone Cold" (which, to me, is kind of an underrated flick).
Another fun fact about this game: The Seahawks were division winners at 7-9 and played host to the 11-5 Saints. So all of the talking heads were yapping about how this was unfair and that the seeding should be changed (because it was a West Coast team that benefitted, of course). The Seahawks would finish 11-5 in 2012 before having to travel to D.C. to play the 10-6 Redskins in the playoffs. Funny. Nobody cared about that.
Is Pete Carroll really that crazy?
Come on. He's enthusiastic.
Carroll doesn't get enough credit for what he has accomplished during his coaching career. Fired too quickly by the Jets (how very Jets of them) and never given a fair shot by the Patriots, he really nailed it at USC. That program was in the dumps. I mean, Oregon State had moved past them. But Carroll created one of the best college football dynasties of my lifetime.
And people didn't think he was going to be successful at Seattle. Especially after he and general manager John Schneider made like 498 transactions in their first week on the job. (I exaggerate for effect.)
But he's done pretty great for himself with USC and the 'Hawks.
Of course, two plays will forever haunt him. That fourth-down play against Texas in the Rose Bowl. (Right to go for it, brutal play call.) And the Russell Wilson pass in the Super Bowl -- which, again, we're not going to talk about. He's two plays away from an Associated Press Three-Pete at USC (I'm not counting that forfeit bullstuff) and back-to-back Super Bowl championships.
U mad, bro?
Not even a little bit. If you've kept up with this "Why you should root for ..." series, you know I proclaimed Steve Smith as The Rock of NFL trash talkers. So I guess this would make Richard Sherman "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. Sherman trashed-talked Tom Brady after the Seahawks rallied to beat the Patriots a few years ago. (But he did offer his hand to Brady immediately after they lost in Super Bowl XLIX. So, that was cool.)
I know, a lot of people get turned off by this. But compared this to the interviews Russell Wilson conducts, and I'll take Sherman. Then again, I like Nic Cage movies.
And please don't take that as a knock against Wilson, whom I love. Great player. It's just that watching his interviews is like watching "The Today Show." I'm sure it plays to a lot of people. Not me.
The franchise's best
Steve Largent. Retired with many NFL receiving records. Not drafted by the Seahawks. In fact, he was drafted by the Houston Oilers and traded to Seattle for an eighth-round pick. BTW, it was awful that Jerry Rice made Largent pull his No. 80 out of the rafters during his dubious stint with Seattle. But Largent was the Seahawks' lone Hall of Famer for a long time.
Franchise's best II
The best defensive player in Seahawks history was Cortez Kennedy. Sadly, he died at 48 years old last month. The Seahawks selected Kennedy third overall in the 1990 NFL Draft. He was a beast who dominated the AFC West. His career came before NFL Sunday Ticket really was a huge thing, but I remember seeing him twice a year making life miserable for the Raiders. He went to eight Pro Bowls and was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012. He was beloved by just about all who played against him. You can read more here.
Not given enough credit
Steve Hutchinson and Walter Jones. I know: Jones is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But people don't give these two enough deference, because they comprised the best combo of their era. And the Seahawks surely didn't give Hutchinson enough credit when they let him walk prior to the 2006 season. Probably coincidental, but Shaun Alexander went from 1,880 rushing yards and 27 TDs in 2005 to 896 and seven in '06. Just providing you the information. You can digest it as you will.
Dave Krieg. But, really, through no fault of his own. Krieg was a fine quarterback. Played on some rough teams, and if he had been given a better opportunity, blah, blah, blah. But back in the day, they used to have media guides that were printed books with stats and other superlatives for the players. Well, the Seattle PR staff devoted more pages to Krieg than the Dolphins staff gave to Dan Marino. And I hate to be the one who breaks this to you, but Marino was pretty great. So that's all. It has nothing to do with his play on the field or anything.
I really love the old jerseys of the Seahawks. That blue and green was sharp. And it's especially nice when you see them on those throwback Starter jackets. But if I'm going for a jersey of that era, please give me the No. 45 of safety Kenny Easley. He played just seven years, but was one of the best at his position.
Closing fun fact
The original owner of the Seahawks was Lloyd W. Nordstrom. Yep, that's the same Nordstrom family that operates those stores with the clothes you can't afford. (That said, Nordstrom Rack is great.)
If you choose to follow the Seahawks, you will be selecting a great team. They have a franchise quarterback who will be there for years. A fun head coach. Plenty of colorful characters. An amazing stadium experience in a pretty remarkable city. Realize that people will tell you that you are a bandwagon fan. But this team does check a lot of the boxes.