It’s an exciting time to be living in Seattle with the Seahawks on the cusp of a possible Super Bowl victory. But at the same time, the collective ego of the Seahawks fan is becoming a bit out of control.
Coming from Wisconsin, where we filled the Packers stadium through 20 years of mediocrity, prior to the Favre/Rodgers era, and our season ticket waiting list is well into the 70,000 person range, it’s becoming difficult to stomach the constant refrain of the “12th man” being the number one fans in football. Perhaps they’re the NFL’s number one fair weather fans.
Just one short year ago, it was easy to get tickets to a Seahawks game, and there wasn’t a season ticket sellout. The season before that was even easier. That’s never been the case in Wisconsin, where you always had to know someone to find tickets (aside from same-day scalping).
They’re very proud of themselves here now, with the Super Bowl in reach. But it’s a bit embarrassing that they’re paying the Texas A&M Aggies licensing money to even use the “12th man” refrain. They can’t even come up with their own thing?
And if you’ve ever been to a game, you’d know that stadium has more thugs and malcontents than any other football stadium in the NFL. There are many stories from people who’ve been hassled and harrassed at that stadium.
Sure, in every NFL stadium, if you’re wearing the opposing team’s jersey, you can expect some grief. But in Green Bay, whether we win or lose, it’s far more good-natured ribbing than it is insulting. Ask someone who’s seen their team play in Green Bay, we they’ll tell you. And if the Packers lose, the fans will acknowledge the superiority of the winning team.
In Seattle, the fans will hassle anyone – including children. There’s a pretty famous story, in these parts, from a pack of 49er’s fans who were hassled beyond acceptability, and their kids were even on the receiving end. I’ve been to three games at their stadium, and each of those experiences is consistent with those in the story.
The people around me wearing other jerseys (which I’ve never done) were all hassled beyond boundaries with several fights ensuing. For one of those games, I was accompanied by my friend’s son who was wearing a Packers jersey. He took him home after the 3rd quarter because it became too much.
I think the noise adds to their attitude. They take great pride in how loud the stadium is – as if Seattle residents are somehow louder than their human counterparts in other stadiums. It’s the shape of the stadium that traps the sound, not how loud the fans are.
Thoughtful fans know how to go to a stadium and appreciate good football. Many of the Seahawks fans are there for the desire to drink with others. And that leads to classless behavior like throwing food on Navaro Bowman after he tore his ACL and MCL.
I love the City of Seattle, and the Seahawks make an excellent adopted home football team. And being in the Super Bowl is great excitement – I was in Green Bay for the 1996 victory. But it’s possible to be great and enthusiastic fans while still having some class. The class comes from having been there before and knowing you’ll be there again.
Maybe if the Seahawks fans get a Lombardi trophy under their belt…
But then again, at least they’re not the Denver Broncos, who are trying two slogans for this Super Bowl – both of which are pretty weak…