BY MARK TYE TURNER
On the day of the Seahawks’ exhibition opener, a rematch with the Denver Broncos, here is an excerpt from Seattle native Mark Tye Turner’s new book, “Seattle Seahawks Super Season: Notes from a 12 on the best season in Seahawks history” (Sasquatch Books, $16.95). The book will be released Tuesday.
POST GAME-SUPER BOWL XLVIII, February 2, 2014
It turns out a blizzard really does hit MetLife Stadium on Super Sunday. A blizzard of blue-and-green confetti blankets the field. The vision I had of Russell holding up the Lombardi is coming true in high definition.
Among the Seahawks celebrating on the field is running backs coach Sherman Smith. Sherman is one of the original Seahawks from 1976 and the Hawks’ first-ever starting running back. Meanwhile, up in the KIRO Radio booth, Steve Raible, another member of the 1976 team, is taking off his headset after calling the greatest Hawk game ever. Raible has been connected with the Seahawks— first as a receiver, then as a broadcaster—the entire 37-year history of the team. No doubt at some point, he’s thinking about his old partner, the original voice of the Seahawks, the late Pete Gross.
It’s 12th Man nirvana everywhere: In the bars of Pioneer Square and Bellevue Square. In the seats and concourses of MetLife Stadium, where Seahawk fans who don’t know each other are suddenly hugging like long-lost relatives. In living rooms not only through-out the championship-starved Pacific Northwest but anywhere 12 is more than a number.
It’s like a New Year’s Eve party for the 12th Man worldwide, but unlike the real New Year’s Eve, this celebration is happening simultaneously. It’s happening at The Willoughby Arms, a pub in Kingston upon Thames in England, where over 50 members of the 12th Man are celebrating in the middle of the night. It’s happening near Kandahar, Afghanistan, where 1st Lt. James Hill and the 3rd platoon of the 455th Engineering Company fly the 12th Man flag proudly next to the Stars and Stripes. It’s happening two galaxies away on Planet Zorntron, where bluish birdman creatures with 12 legs and 12-foot wingspans are doing the Tez, a popular celebration dance there.
Turn on iTunes, 12th Man. You can finally sing Queen’s “We Are the Champions.” Or, if you prefer something from this century, “Best Day of My Life” by American Authors.
Back in Richard Sherman Oaks, California, the party continues. Sitting in front of the television are a group of Seahawk-themed Russian dolls. My Washingtonian friends Tim and Mandy found them in a tiny shop in Vienna on their recent European trip. The dolls were witness to both the NFC Championship and the Super Bowl. The biggest doll is painted with Wilson’s No. 3. The next largest one has Beast Mode’s No. 24. The third is Baldwin’s No. 89. The fourth features Chancellor’s No. 31. None of these selections are a surprise. But the fifth and smallest doll? No. 53 Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith. How some European craftsman chose the backup Smith will remain a mystery. Is it a bizarre coincidence? Or a prescient piece of art? You will find the answer in the Twilight Zone.
Have you ever had your dreams and expectations converge? That is how I feel today. The Seahawks winning the Super Bowl has been a dream of mine for 37-plus years. The expectation that they were going to win this game was a much more recent attitude change. My phone is blowing up with texts from friends and colleagues. Same with e-mail and Facebook. I feel like I’ve won the lottery or had a baby.
Life brings you days that will be etched into your mind until you leave this mortal coil. Today is such a day.
At one point I take a knee. Tears of joy stream down my face.
This victory is for every 12th Man who had to endure the yearly heartbreak at Arrowhead, the horrible 1992 season, Vinny Testaverde’s “Phantom Touchdown,” the robbery of Super Bowl XL, and Ken Freakin’ Behring and his attempt to steal the Seahawks to Los Angeles.
On Groundhog Day 2014, an exorcism takes place, an exorcism that eradicates the demons that have populated the Seattle sports landscape for years: Dikembe Mutombo lying on the Seattle Center Coliseum floor after upsetting the ’94 SuperSonics in the playoffs. The 2001 Mariners, winners of a record 116 games, ending their season unexpectedly early in a post-9/11 New York. The aforementioned Seahawk disappointments. The I-wish-I-didn’t-have-to- mention-it exodus of the SuperSonics.
I am no longer haunted by such demons, because today the Seattle Seahawks are world champions.
Mark Tye Turner, who lives in Los Angeles, is also the author of “Notes from a 12th Man: A Truly Biased History of the Seattle Seahawks.” Follow him on Twitter @mtthawk
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