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Take 2

A different spin on sports by The Seattle Times staff and readers.

January 10, 2014 at 12:14 AM

Seahawks vs. Saints: 24/7 coverage and 10 nuggets you may have missed

Right now, it’s Seahawks 24/7 at The Seattle Times Sports Department.

Most of our time these days is spent reporting, writing, editing and planning our Seahawks playoff coverage. With an NFC divisional playoff game against the New Orleans Saints on Saturday, we’re producing a 10-page special section previewing the playoffs for Friday. And even our regular Sports section looks like a Seahawks special section because of all the coverage.

Stories and blog posts also are being written and edited not only by Sports staffers, but by Metro, Business and Features reporters and editors for every section of the paper and our Website. Our crack photo and graphics departments also are turning things up a few notches for the Seahawks.

Friday, for instance, you’ll find all this in our print edition: what fortune tellers and palm readers predict about the game, travel tips for the Super Bowl, a former soldier who handles the American flag for Seahawks games, local bartenders’ mixing drinks for Seahawks players – and we’re asking readers to do the same for coach Pete Carroll.

And then there’s our Sports content, which includes the 10-page special section and several pages of Seahawks content in the regular Sports section. There are too many highlights to name here, but all of that content is online and will be in the paper Friday.

We also have plenty of online and print promotions that allow readers and Seahawks fans to have some fun while showing their spirit. We published our Hawks Fan Flags over four days, and fans are vying for a $500 Bartell’s gift certificate for the best entry. We also have an online map for fans to tell us (and show us) where they live while following the Seahawks, and another to map favorite Seahawks bars here and elsewhere. We’ve also asked readers to write Hawks Haikus.

And while all that is going on, we’re working hard to make sure we’re ready with stories leading up to next week’s NFC Championship game, which would be played in Seattle if the Seahawks win. It’s not as easy as you’d think. We have to plan coverage and another Friday special section without knowing the opponent. It could be the Carolina Panthers or the San Francisco 49ers.

We also have to look ahead to the Super Bowl. We’ve chosen an impressive team of reporters, columnists, photographers, videographers, editors and photo editors that will go to New York City/New Jersey if Seattle advances that far. We’ve already bought most of our airline tickets, knowing we can use them later for other trips if necessary. It’s cheaper to buy them now and pay a change fee than to wait until the Seahawks qualify.

Yet during all of this, there are a few Seahawks tidbits that you didn’t read because we couldn’t find a place for them in the paper or they were buried by all of that  other Seahawks coverage.

So, in no particular order, here are 12 things you may have missed about the Seahawks this week:

12) Our Seahawks preview section cover features a great illustration honoring the 12th Man by Seattle Times artist and page designer David Miller. Miller includes caricatures of several Seahawks players – including Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, Marshawn Lynch and Earl Thomas – protecting CenturyLink Field, which is drawn to look like a castle. The headline: “Kings of their castle” was written by assistant sports editor Ed Guzman. The cover story was written by Seahawk reporter Bob Condotta. Check it out in Friday’s Seattle Times.

11) Saints coach Sean Payton is going all out to beat the Seahawks. First, he had the Seahawks’ logo painted on the team’s practice field, presumably to try to help his players focus on the NFC top-seeds. Now a New Orleans TV station reports that two speakers were blown out blaring music during practice this week in an effort to replicate CenturyLink’s record-setting crowd noise.

10) 12th Man flags are flying all over town. The biggest may be a 50-foot by 70-foot flag painted on the roof of the warehouse at the site of the proposed NBA arena in the Sodo District. KING-5 reports that John Phillips wanted to show his spirit and he hopes that Saints players and fans will see his artwork when they fly in for the game.

9) The Seahawks are one of the NFL’s most popular teams. Here’s  proof: They rank No. 4 among NFL teams for merchandise sales from April 1 to Sept. 30, 2013. The top three: 1) San Francisco 49ers; 2) Dallas Cowboys; 3) Denver Broncos. That means the Seahawks rank ahead of the New England Patriots, who were No. 5. More on that in a story about Seahawks merchandise scheduled to run in Saturday’s print edition.

8)  Russell Wilson is one of the NFL’s hottest properties. The Seahawks’ quarterback ranked No. 3 in jersey sales for the same period. No. 2 was Peyton Manning of the Broncos. No. 1 was – wait for it – Colin Kaepernick of the 49ers. Drew Brees of the Saints ranked No. 10. Marshawn Lynch was the only other Seahawk on the list, at No. 18.

Marshawn_Lynch_Burger_The_Beast_Burger_Skittles_Onion_Rings_HAM7)  Lynch may not be talking  much, but his fans can eat well. A new burger called The Beast will be sold Saturday at CenturyLink, and it lives up to its name.  The Beast includes two slices of bacon and cheese, two burger patties, several slices of ham, onion rings, a slice of tomato, lettuce and red onion. It’s served with a side of fries – and Skittles.

6)  Bring your rain gear to the game Saturday. Heavy rain, with gusting winds, is predicted in Seattle that day, though the worst of it could end before the game starts. An inch of rain is in the forecast for Seattle, with winds of 15 to 25 mph. No word on whether Payton and the Saints turned on sprinklers and fans during practices.

5) Don’t you just love all the wagering that politicians make on big games? Washington’s two U.S. Senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, are betting oysters and beer with Louisiana’s Mary L. Landrieu. Not to be left out, Port of Seattle CEO Tay Yoshitani and Port of New Orleans’ Gary LaGrange laid down bets. Yoshitani would pay up with a seafood sampler of crab, salmon and halibut. LaGrange bet boiled crawfish, wild alligator and New Orleans-style barbecued shrimp. Of course, the mayors made a wager, too. New Orleans’ Mitch Landrieu bet King Cake from Sucre, crawfish boil. Murray countered with Top Pot Doughnuts. Finally, here’s the most creative bet I’ve seen. Washington Rep. Suzan DelBene, Derek Kilmer and Denny Heck placed a wager with New Orleans Congressman Cedric Richmond, betting a basket that includes Woodinville wine, smoked salmon, Almond Roca candy, Fisher Fair Scone mix and a bag of Skittles. Rep. Richmond countered with Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey, a Randazzo King Cake and New Orleans Pralines.

4) The last time the New Orleans Saints were in town for a playoff game, Lynch ran for a now-legendary 67-yard touchdown that whipped CenturyLink fans into such a frenzy that scientists were able to measure a small quake, which was dubbed Beast Quake. Are you ready to rumble again? Seismologists from Pacific Northwest Seismic Network have installed two seismometers for Saturday’s game, one in the stands and one on the field, according to KIRO-FM.

3) What’ s the best place to watch the game? Not sure, but the quietest place may be the Seattle Public Library’s Central Library. The library, at 1000 Fourth Ave, will show the game on its 15-foot wide projection screen at Microsoft Auditorium. There are 275 seats, with room for 100 more. Doors open at 1 p.m. Football-shaped cookies, Seahawks buttons and 12th Man placards will be available.

billboards2) The battle of the billboards is over. Seahawks fans don’t have to worry about 49ers fans taunting them with a sign near CenturyLink Field. Clear Channel Outdoor said in a release Thursday that they will dedicate 20 billboards they own within two miles of the Seahawks’ home field to pay tribute to Seahawks fans. Clear Channel is calling it a “12 Zone” in honor of the 12th Man. Sin nearby towns will also display Seahawks fan messaging.

1) Full disclosure: Our headline of the week wasn’t written by one of our talented desk editors. It was suggested by a reader. Headline writing in an age dominated by search engines and straightforward wording is a lost art. But it’s hard to imagine a better headline than the one at the top of our Sports section Friday to go with a story on Marshawn Lynch talking to the media after being threatened with fines from the NFL. The headline, which plays off Lynch’s Beacon Plumbing commercials says it all in four words: “Stop freakin’, start speakin”. Thanks to reader Jim Miller for sending us the suggestion. We’ll  ask readers to suggest headlines via Twitter and Facebook after all Seahawks playoff games.

Want to be a reader contributor to The Seattle Times’ Take 2 blog? Email your original, previously unpublished work or proposal to Sports Editor Don Shelton at dshelton@seattletimes.com or sports@seattletimes.com. Not all submissions can be published. The Times reserves the right to edit and publish any submissions online and/or in print.

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