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Take 2

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

January 26, 2014 at 6:58 PM

Seahawks’ Super Bowl blitz: What’s coming for Seattle Times readers

If you can’t go to New Jersey for the Super Bowl, we’ve got you covered.

The Seattle Times will be giving you wall-to-wall coverage of everything Seahawks and Super Bowl over the next eight days.

Our team of 16 journalists will be in New York and New Jersey this week to cover the premier event of not only the NFL but all of sports. Our first wave of reporters, photographers and videographers arrived Sunday to cover the Seahawks’ arrival. The rest of the reporters will arrive with me Monday, and most of our photographers and photo editors join us Thursday. Read a column by my boss, Seattle Times editor Kathy Best, about our coverage here.

For the record, we’re sending six reporters, four photographers, three photo editors, two columnists and one very proud and grateful sports editor. I know what you’re thinking: Do we really need 16 people to cover the Super Bowl? My bosses asked me the same question.

My short answer is yes. Let me explain.

This is a huge national and regional story,  one that transcends Seattle sports and has captured the attention of a city and a region, not to mention the country. You can’t go anywhere without seeing 12th Man flags and Russell Wilson jerseys or without hearing Richard Sherman debates and Marshawn Lynch commercials.

Only two recent recent Seattle sports events compare to this – the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010 and the Seahawks’ only other trip to Super Bowl in 2006. Our coverage teams were of similar sizes both times, with 15 making the trip to Vancouver and Whistler in 2010. At the time, I thought that would be the biggest coverage team The Seattle Times would ever assemble for a sports event. I’m glad I was wrong.

But neither the last Seahawks’ Super Bowl or the Vancouver Olympics generated this kind of buzz in Seattle. The only thing I can compare this to is the fan frenzy that surrounded the Mariners’ improbable 1995 late-season run to the American League West title. That, of course, saved the Mariners franchise.

And I still think this Super Bowl is bigger.

Of course, we’ll cover all the fan fervor both in Seattle and New Jersey, and we’ll give you a lot of inside information about both teams. But we’re going to go beyond that to tell you some of the stories that haven’t been told about the Seahawks,  Broncos and the Super Bowl.

Let me break down our game plan for you.

We’ve assigned Jack Broom, a top Metro reporter and gifted feature writer, to be the voice of the 12th Man back east.  He’ll write twice-daily “12th Man post cards” that profile Seattle fans and tell you what they’re up to. We’ve even created a Seahawk Fan Zone channel that will be part of our Seahawks blog to include photos, video, stories and updates on what the 12th Man is up to. Jack will also write longer profiles and features to capture the excitement of Seahawks fans.

Bob Condotta will be our main Seahawks reporter, as he has been throughout this historic season, writing several stories a day and blogging. Bob’s first major feature this week will be a story about the old AFC West rivalry between the Seahawks and Broncos in Monday’s editions.

Jayson Jenks will have Condotta’s back covering the team, and also write longer profiles. First up this week is a piece on Richard Sherman for Tuesday that will take you beyond The Rant and explain who No. 25 really is and where he came from.

Joshua Mayers will switch this week from his role as Sounders FC beat reporter to will cover the Broncos all week, and also be one of our main bloggers.

Columnists Jerry Brewer and Larry Stone will provide not only their own insights and opinions with their daily commentary, but also enterprise stories and profiles that take you behind the scenes. Brewer has a major profile coming on Marshawn Lynch, for instance, and Larry is working on  a piece about trash-talking in sports.

Geoff Baker, our enterprise and investigative sports reporter, will cover the money and business side of Super Bowl, as well as concerns about the weather. He just returned from Virginia, where he caught up with the star of the last Seahawks Super Bowl, Shaun Alexander. That feature ran in today’s print edition.

All of our reporters will also be posting multiple times per day on the Seahawks Fan Zone and Seahawks news blogs as well as on Twitter, and will be featured in video reports.

Videographer Genevieve Alvarez is documenting it all, starting with today’s arrival in New Jersey, as well as stand-up, on-the-scene videos with reporters and columnists, and longer in-depth documentary-style video.

Photographers John Lok, Dean Rutz, Bettina Hansen and Mike Siegel will shoot the Super Bowl hoopla, including today’s arrival, the craziness of media day Tuesday and, of course, the game itself.

Photo editor Danny Gawlowski will be coordinating photo and video, and he’ll be joined by photo editors Ken Lambert and Kevin Martin for the crush of images coming your way on Super Bowl Sunday.

Oh, and there’s me, the sports editor who gets to orchestrate this talented team. Don’t tell my boss, but this group is so driven, it’s more like pointing them in the right direction and staying out of their way. I really have been doing a lot of planning, working behind the scenes the past few weeks with deputy sports editor Bill Reader to make sure we have everything covered, and everyone had flights, credentials and hotel rooms.

I’ll be filling in wherever needed on coverage, too – blogging, posting on Twitter (#STdonshelton) and Facebook, editing stories, fine-tuning our game plan and communicating with editors in Seattle to make sure our online and print coverage makes you feel like you’re there. If you have a suggestion or question, though, please email me directly at dshelton@seattletimes.com.

A few more highlights you can expect this week. We have a series of live online chats that allow you to ask questions of former Seahawks stars and our reporters. We kick that off with a doubleheader Monday featuring ex-Seahawks quarterbacks Jon Kitna (noon) and Warren Moon (1 p.m.) Bob Condotta will answer your questions Wednesday and Friday, and Hall of Fame receiver Steve Largent will join us Thursday. All those are at noon PST.

Our Super Bowl preview section Friday will give you everything you need for the game. Of course, our Sports section will essentially turn into an expanded Seahawks section for the next eight days – we even replaced our Sports banner with one that says Super Bowl -  culminating in a giant Monday edition for live coverage of the game. You’ll see a lot of A1 stories and pictures, as well as in the Business, Northwest, Features and Opinion sections. Our talented Sports team back in Seattle – including Reader, assistant sports editor Ed Guzman, Sunday Sports Editor Rich Boudet and Senior Sports Producer Bob Wickwire – is mobilized. We’ve also recruited some of the most talented people in other departments to our Sports team for this Super Bowl  run.

Our online, marketing and promotions departments have produced eight days of activities for fans to make and play. There’s “Fly Lke a Hawk” – a paper airplane designed by David Miller that was inserted into Sunday’s Seattle Times that you can download from our Website. It tried it myself and can report that it can across my kitchen. And there’s a Super Bowl scene for kids (and adults) to color printed in Sunday’s Sports section that also can be downloaded. Coming soon: A quiz you can take to find out what kind of Seahawks fan you are, and a Super Bowl bingo game.

That’s a lot of cool stuff from a lot of talented people. Check us out for the next eight days, and let me know what you think.

Now I’ve got to pack and get ready for my flight, destination New York/New Jersey. I’m sorry everyone can’t join me, but I promise we’ll do our best to make you feel like you’re there, too.

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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