Last Wednesday, February 5, 2014, the Seattle Seahawks had a parade to celebrate their Super Bowl XLVIII championship. Only the second of its kind in Seattle history (the first celebrated the Seattle Sonics’ 1979 NBA Championship), the event attracted 700,000+ fans from around the area. Here was my front row seat to share with you.
7:56 AM – I caught the bus like I do every weekday morning to Seattle, only this Wednesday I wasn’t going to work. It was holiday on my calendar: Seahawks’ Victory Day!
Traffic was terrible, as expected. When the bus pulled into one of the major park and rides, the last stop before downtown Seattle, there was a line of at least 50 people waiting to get on the bus. This was small potatoes compared to the crowd I was in for.
10:30 AM – After two hours on the bus, I finally got off in Pioneer Square and was greeted by a sea of people, literally! There were people everywhere, dressed in their green and blue best: some went traditional, sporting players’ jerseys and beanies or the new Super Bowl baseball caps. Others went all out with wigs, beads, and face paint like it was Mardi Gras. Over the heads of fans, blue and white “12” flags along with homemade signs and felt pennants dotted the horizon in every direction: people and signs, that’s all you could see!
12:12 PM – The parade was scheduled to start at 11 AM. I had found a spot on 2nd & Main, but news spread that there was a delay. But that didn’t deter the fans, despite the 30°F cold and wind chill factor. Instead, fans prepared for the “Moment of Loudness,” decreed by Governor Jay Inslee to be observed at 12:12 PM all around Seattle. The crowd counted down, yelled, blew horns and chanted “Sea-Hawks!” – just a precursor for when the players finally showed up!
12:28 PM – The Seattle PD broke out the yellow tape and drew fans away from the street to make room for the parade route. I had a great view of the street, but after being outside for two hours already with no sign of the parade, my patience and tolerance for the cold was wearing thin. The situation was made worse by an aid car trying to drive through our side of the street, as if standing like frozen human sardines didn’t indicate the already limited space. After another hour, I was over the experience. This was no longer fun.
1:38 PM – But my frozen toes and face were soon forgotten when the roar of the crowd and the first sign of a vehicle peaked around the corner of 2nd & Washington. It started off slow, with players’ family members and then politicians driving by, but then Marshawn Lynch appeared on the “Ride the Ducks of Seattle” boat with the Sea Gals in tow, with a celebratory cigar tucked behind his ear, throwing Skittles into the crowd and wearing a face mask to guard against the cold while also maintaining that allusive persona.
Next in succession: Seahawks owner Paul Allen, President Peter McLoughlin hoisting the Lombardi trophy, Hall of Fame Seahawks’ quarterback Warren Moon, the Seahawks’ mascot Blitz and General Manager John Schneider, and then the coaches led by Pete Carroll, then the offensive coaches, defensive coaches, and special teams.
The players were next. I was most excited to see the Doug Baldwin and the wide receivers, Russell Wilson, and Kam Chancellor and the “Legion of Boom.” Their appearance didn’t disappoint and they seemed just as excited to see the fans as we were to see them!
2:40 PM – The truck that drove the LOB marked the end of the parade, which ended all too soon. I followed in the wake of the parade vehicles, not extend the experience, but because the side streets were jammed with people making a mass exodus.
I needed to get to CenturyLink Field ASAP for the rally. Only season ticket holders were granted tickets and fortunately for me, my grandfather has been a season ticket holder since the ‘70s. I didn’t want to miss a single moment!
2:51 PM – I made it just in time for the beginning of the rally. First, all the players were given individual introductions as they entered the field. Then various people made speeches, including Paul Allen, Pete Carroll, Richard Sherman and Russell Wilson. They all had one common theme: they’ll be back next year. And not just a solid, winning team, but a Super Bowl caliber team, armed to repeat another championship. Of course every team says stuff like that as positive reinforcement. But with the conviction and talent of this team, I believe they’ll only get better and stronger. The offseason’s going to be interesting to see who gets resigned, picked up and let go. But one thing’s certain: sign me up for Super Bowl XLIX!