So many people often ask me how can I be a Seahawks fan, also known as 12s or 12th man and also live in Arizona. They ask how come I am not an Arizona Cardinals Fan, whose fans are known as “The Bird Gang.”
To get that answer, one must rewind back in time. One of my earliest recollections of the Christmas holiday was when I was about a little kid about 6 or 7. That year I had so desperately wanted a Gobots or Voltron toy for Christmas. I wanted to be coolest kid on the block by having one of those. Instead, I was given a white pearly Frisbee with a silver Seattle Seahawks logo in the center of it. The logo was a bird made of blue and green. The Frisbee wasn’t a cool Voltron robot that I so badly wanted, maybe my parents couldn’t give me much at the time, but it was probably at that time that I became a Seahawks fan. I was a semi-fan of the Miami Dolphins, probably because my own father was a fan of Dan Marino and I always wanted to make Papa proud! As I went on to grade school, my school classmates, well they were Cowboys, Raiders, and 49ers fans. Phoenix did not have a team yet. So I rooted semi for both the Hawks and Dolphins.
So my memories at the Seahawks at that time? I had plenty! Kenny Easley was the 1st player I remember from the Seahawks. He was a safety and was #45. Oh does Brian Bosworth name ring a bell? He signed a 10-year $11 million rookie contract. I clearly remember that. Anyways, some guy named Bo Jackson on Monday Night Football embarrassed him on a 90+ yard touchdown run, as Bo ran in to the locker room tunnel. I didn’t mind because Bo Jackson also played Major League Baseball and he embarrassed everyone in both sports, but I especially Bosworth, because “The Boz” as he was known, kept saying how much he was going to contain Bo Jackson. Oh, the fans nicknamed them the Seattle Sea-scabs because of a player strike shorten season.
Other players bring me memories who bring some memories back were Cortez Kennedy, Rick Mierer, David Krieg, Joey Gallowway, I remember the Seahawks drafting Mark McGuire’s tall 6 foot 8 inch tall brother, Dan McGuire. My friends and I still get a chuckle every so often when we mention that him.
The 1992 team? Oh, that was brutal. Only 2 wins! They played a Monday Night Football game that year in Seattle and won in overtime. 14 losses that year! Oh yeah, the Seahawks beat the Phoenix Cardinals that year in Tempe as well. The Seahawks wouldn’t be back on Monday Night Football till 1999, and Monday Night Football would not return to Seattle till 10 years later in 2002. Tough times because everyone at school tuned in to Monday Night Football no matter who your team was, but sometimes I felt alone knowing my team was not being shown on tv. When the Seahawks won their first Super Bowl I thought a lot about that 1992 team. I remember being taunted and made fun of at school. In school, people still liked all those other teams, the 49ers, the Raiders, The Cowboys. If you didn’t have a starter jacket with one of those teams, you weren’t cool.
Somewhere in those years, Phoenix got a team going through an identity crisis.They were named the Phoenix Cardinals, played in the NFC East, and played in Tempe Arizona. I remember going to one game in a half empty stadium. I only went to that game because an AFC team was playing an NFC. My dad wanted to see Dan Marino and the Miami Dolphins. I stopped watching professional football around then, I had fallen in love with baseball. Actually baseball had always been my first love, but I still remembered my Seahawks from Seattle from time to time and watched them play whenever they came out on TV. Later the Phoenix Cardinals would become the Arizona Cardinals and move to Glendale. I told you they went through and identity crisis. Glendale already had a Cardinals team though, The Glendale High School Cardinals, the high school I went too.
I remember several days after my 18th birthday, in December 1998, watching on tv a fake TD by Vinny Testaverde and getting robbed of a playoff spot by The Jets. This brought back the instant replay because of this incident. Oh, can’t forget the logo being updated in 2002, then to be updated again 10 years later.
I had a lot of fun ragging on my brother in law team, the Cowboys, when Tomy Romo botched that extra point snap giving us the win in the playoffs in 2006
I remember losing Super Bowl XL against the Steelers, and the Refs. In fact, NFL has named that calls of that game being #8 of the Top 10 controversial calls ever, by refs. Four years later, the referee Bill Leavy admitted and apologized to Seattle for messing up several calls during that game. Thanks Leavy, it was only the biggest game yet to Seattle. I think the biggest controversial call though was in 2012 when replacement refs were being used, Seattle was playing Green Bay in Seattle and Russell Wilson threw what many now refer to as called a “Fail Mary” ! Both Green Bay’s Jennings and Golden Tate from the Seahawks caught the ball in the air, was it a touchdown or interception? The call went towards Seattle and the refs rushed out of the stadium. Ha, the refs owed The Seahawks one and it seems to give them that one. I think though, had the game been in Green Bay the call would have gone the other way. No way were the refs getting out of Seattle alive if they didn’t side with The Seahawks on that call.
Later that year, The Seahawks played the Cardinals in what was supposed to be a bird fight. The Seahawks won 58-0 which was the biggest margin of victory in Seahawks franchise history, and it was also the biggest margin of defeat in Cardinals franchise history. Guess what? I was there in person, as the game was played in Seattle. It was the 3rd largest margin victory in the modern NFL.
People now a days call me a Seattle bandwagon fan, many not knowing I have a long time relationship with the Seahawks team as I consider myself 12th man. There fans who keep it classy with me, like my cousin Hector Sandoval who is a season ticket holder for the Cardinals since the 1980s who always wishes me and my team well, he knows how long I’ve been a fan. Occasionally, when I’m in Seattle, I’ll wear a red Cardinals hoodie, but the Arizona Cardinals are not my team. I did go to Glendale High School in the city of Glendale Arizona, home of the Glendale Cardinals. I do recall a lot of Cowboys, Raiders, and 49ers fans jump up on that Arizona bandwagon in the 2000s. I don’t hate you or your team, maybe you weren’t old enough to decide for yourself what team to root for, and just because they are not my team don’t mean I won’t cheer for them. In 2008 I rooted for the Arizona Cardinals in the Super Bowl against the Steelers. Yet, becoming an Arizona Cardinals fan now would make me a bandwagon fan.
The Seahawks winning the Super Bowl in 2014 was the pinnacle point for the football team I cheer for. Today, the Seahawks return to the Super Bowl, in my hometown of Glendale Arizona, after hosting an extremely exciting comeback win in overtime against the Green Bay Packers. My friends know how much I hate having facial hair, but I haven’t shaved since the Seahawks last lost over 9 weeks ago. People say the Seahawks fans are obnoxious, when it comes to our team, and people fail to realize that it’s been years full of pent up frustrations, many of us have been behind a team who has had a bunch of downs and now that we are winning we are all making noise in many ways. We can’t get loud when our team is not performing, but it is beautiful to know the pieces have been coming together as of late. I’ve been a Seahawks fan for a long time, there have been many sad seasons for me, lots of downs and very few ups. I am also critical of my Seahawks, if they lose, no excuses, they just didn’t perform or execute. As they always say “Any given Sunday!”
To think that a Christmas gift when I received that Seahawks Frisbee would start a chain reaction of memories that I still have with me today. Thank you Mom and Dad.