12th Man key in Seattle Seahawks’ Super Bowl dominance

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Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson holds the front page of The Seattle Times at the Super Bowl victory parade in Seattle on Feb. 5. 2014.

By Nick Barene, Sports Writer

The long wait is finally over for fans immersed in the Seattle sports scene. The Seattle Seahawks have won Super Bowl XLVIII. After a 35-year drought, the Emerald City owns a championship trophy. As much as hoisting the Lombardi Trophy means to the players on the field, it means just as much to those who support the team.

Since the Seattle Sonics won the NBA Title in 1979, Seattleites haven’t had the chance to point their index fingers to the sky in declaration of their supremacy. The Seattle Storm won the WNBA Title in 2004 and 2010 and the Seattle Sounders went to four straight U.S. Open Cup Finals from 2009-12 and brought home the hardware in three of them.

As meaningful as those championships were to the city, they did not bring respect on the national scale. Forbes magazine even listed Seattle on its list of the most miserable sports cities.

But for fans of the Seahawks there was no better place to be on an autumn Sunday than at Century Link Field, screaming until they were blue (and green) in the face. They didn’t care if national pundits thought their quarterback was “too short,” or that Pete Carroll’s “rah-rah” coaching style wouldn’t work in the NFL.

They believed in the team, believed in the organization and, most importantly, they believed they could have an impact on the way football is played.

The noise generated by the 12th Man has always been a large part of the challenge of playing the Seahawks at home, but one play helped take it to a whole new level. During Marshawn Lynch’s 67-yard touchdown run against the New Orleans Saints in the 2010 playoffs, the crowd noise actually triggered seismic activity.

Since then, the 12th Man has punished opposing offenses. With the noise reaching a world record 137.6 decibels, the players cannot hear the quarterback’s calls or the snap count. Since 2005, there have been 133 opponent false starts at Century Link.

The loyalty of the fans was not just seen at home games, but on the road as well. Fans congregated behind the Seahawks bench and chanted “Sea-Hawks” so loudly that it could be heard on the radio broadcast.

The voice of the 12th Man had no greater impact than in the opening 12 seconds of Super Bowl XLVIII. On the first play from scrimmage, Denver Broncos’ center Manny Ramirez snapped the ball early, sending it into the end zone where Knowshon Moreno recovered. He was touched down, and the play resulted in a safety for the Seahawks.

The Super Bowl is known for being a quiet game as far as crowd noise goes, but the Seattleites who traveled all the way across the country to New Jersey were so loud that Bronco Peyton Manning couldn’t change the snap count.

The Seahawk fans that day were able to force Denver into making a mistake they would never recover from, as Seattle went on to win by a score of 43-8.

With the Lombardi Trophy finally coming to Seattle, fans everywhere celebrated. The team parade through the streets of the city drew more than 700,000 fans. And each one of them is hungry for another title.

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