I won't go into my many years as a Seahawks fan prior to the summer of 2012, as that would require a traditional publisher, I'm sure.
That summer, my family and I took a cross-country trip on transfer from Florida back home to Washington State. On this trip, we made a stop off at the Pro Football Hall Of Fame. This wasn't a negotiable detour; Cortez Kennedy had just been inducted, and although our trip was too late to enjoy the enshrinement ceremony, as someone who was able to cheer him on in person and had the good fortune to meet him on the sideline in the Seahawks last game in the Kingdome, I wanted at least to be some small part of welcoming him to Canton...and I really wanted to see his bust up close and personal.
(I don't know if we're supposed to touch these.)
(Even the kiddo couldn't contain her excitement.)
(Okay so this one actually went to the Ravens, but it gets the point across.)
Fast-forward through a somewhat surprisingly successful season that ended on a heartbreaker in Atlanta, and there was a very large, very real feeling of hope. For the first time in my life as a Seahawks fan, I thought, "wow! This team could win a Super Bowl!" (Even the 2005 team felt like more of a 'wishful thinking' experience than anything from beginning to end.)
The meat and potatoes:
I'll be honest. Football season is never really over for me. I actually watch much of the NFL Combine, the draft, and basically just enjoy it from February through February.
I realize the term "magical season" is thrown around way too often, especially this time of year, but I assure you; it has been nothing short of magical. There's just no other way to describe it.
The excitement started in early August for me, when, through my job, I was presented with the opportunity to attend training camp with a gentleman who is great friends with Coach Pete Carroll. I've been to training camp before, and it's always a good time. However, this time I was not only in the "VIP" section (where I got to enjoy free Starbucks coffee, snacks, soda, water, and even hot dogs and burgers, as well as taking home loads of free souvenirs) but I also got to wander out onto the practice field and "analyze" a bit. There's something pretty amazing about the head coach of your favorite NFL team asking you, "What did you think? How do they look?" It was incredibly difficult to remain professional and not fall into fangirl mode, but I managed.
(I'm at the far left of the pic, standing by the guy in all white)
(My crazy kiddo, feeling silly because we forced her to wear the free earplugs they were giving to the fans on the streets outside of the stadium.)
As you can tell by my "From the Armchair" articles,
Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Week 6, Week 8, Week 10, Week 13, Week 17...
The "Bigger, Faster, Stronger, Louder" thing came out at the beginning of the 2012 season, but it seems like not only the Seahawks, but we 12's really grabbed ahold of the philosophy this season and ran with it.
"Crazier" should also be in there somewhere. There was no shortage of "wtf" plays like this in 2013 (so far in 2014, for that matter):
Probably my favorite moment on special teams this season - maybe ever (minus the Josh Brown WWE tackle a few years ago):
I got an email from the Seahawks after the NFC Conference Championship game letting me know that my name was picked in the season ticket holder lottery for FV Super Bowl tickets...so then this happened:
Go to the next page for my Super Bowl experience!
Epilogue? Not Quite:
We flew in to the Philadelphia airport, so of course the first order of business was to enjoy an authentic Philly Cheesesteak at the corner of Pat's & Geno's (Not the official name, I know.) We were driven around by a friend of ours who grew up in the area and he said he prefered Tony Luke's to either of these, but that the first Cheesesteak experience should always be one of these. We eenie-meenie-miney-moed it and ended up here.
"Sugar" was the ridiculously large candy store there - it was love at first sight.
Walking out through the Pier at Caesar's, I couldn't help but notice this little treat, the likes of which I've never seen on the west coast (up here in the north where we "goosebumped beach bums" live, it would be extremely useful!) Between the little fence and the window overlooking the beach and ocean, there is a strip of sand, with lounge chairs and tropical flora, where you can kick off your shoes and enjoy the warmth of the sand. I want one!
Also at the Pier was a fountain - right behind the photo posted above, actually. I heard water doing its thing and I looked down to see what was going on. Whaddaya know? Even the fountain was cheering for the Seahawks!
I know this is just any ol' statue in any ol' Caeser's casino, but this one was special. Why? Because right before we left, I decided to throw a penny in and make a wish...only, I didn't have a penny. So a quarter it was - I flipped it in, closed my eyes, and wished for something I never wish for: A Seahawks win. Thanks for delivering, statue dude!
Sunday morning, bright and early (even though the game didn't start until 6pm) we were geared up and ready to get on the road, for the 2.5 - 3 hour trek up to East Rutherford!
I'd never been to a train station before; certainly not one the likes of Secaucus Junction in New Jersey. This place was out of control! I don't think there was anybody there who wasn't going to the Super Bowl, and it was about half-half Broncos/Seahawks fans. Broncos fans chanting "M. V. P!" and "ZE-RO RINGS!" while the 12's chanted, "L. O. B!" and "SEA!! HAWKS!!" it was all good-natured and fun. And LOUD! Really, really loud.
This just made me giddy. Thought I'd share...
Coming up on MetLife after leaving the train, everything just seemed larger than life. As many games as I've been to, and even the Pro Football HOF, I've never seen anything like it...
See Deion's bald head in there by the Pizza Hut logo? Yea, that happened.
This also made me giddy...I was there!
When we found our way to our seats, these were sitting on them - puffy cushions with pockets. The pockets held a "Warm Weather Kit", with all sorts of stuff - hand warmer, earmuffs, radio, travel mug sleeve, radio, chapstick, kleenex, hand warmer packets, a hair wrap thing that makes me look like a pirate (I love it), and of course the Pepsi Halftime Show LED lightup hat that we all wore during Bruno's show. (I didn't take this pic - I stole it from the interwebs.)
The view from our seats. As usual, it always looks smaller in pics - we had a great view and could see everything that was going on, on the field - from end zone to end zone, sideline to sideline. Fantastic.
The celebration! Ever wonder what the confetti looks like from above while showering the players?
Pretty awesome to see this IRL rather than on Madden...
Last, and certainly most importantly, this thing of absolute beauty. The point of my entire trip that I would have enjoyed even if this went home with Denver. But I'm so very glad it didn't! What a ride. (I didn't take this pic either.)
(Notice CLink in the gleam! Gorgeous.)
Well folks, that's it and that's that! I hope you enjoyed this crazy journey through my eyes. Hopefully I can do it again sometime soon!