Family And Football – Why The 2005 NFC Championship Game Meant So Much To Me

Dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-duuunnnn, dun dun duuunn, dun dun dun (X2). Cause it’s a bittersweet symphhhoooooony this lifeeeeeeeee…

Blared through the loudspeakers, followed by.

And now introducing youuuuurrrrr 2005 Seattle Seeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaahawkkkkss!

One of my fondest childhood memories was the 2005 NFC Championship Game with my Dad. As for the song in the introduction, the men in blue used to march onto the field during their ‘05 campaign to “The Bitter Sweet Symphony” by The Verve.

Moments like these are far and few in-between and I’m forever grateful for my Dad taking me to this game.

I’ll never forget the blue towels twirling in unison, the flashing electronic scoreboard, and a sheer mass of noise great enough to cause heavy metal fans to consider earplugs. My friends, this is Seahawks football.

Many Seattleites probably don’t remember that the Hawks used to be an afterthought. Before Mike Holmgren came to town in 1999, the Seahawks hadn’t had a winning season since 1990. It got so bad that many locals started referring to them as the “Seachickens,” or maybe that was just my Dad.

But this all changed when the mustached man and his patented west coast offense rolled in town.

Holmgren’s presence was immediately felt, as Seattle found itself into the playoffs in his inaugural campaign, toting a 9-7 record. This was their first postseason berth since 1988 ending a decade-long drought. The Seahawks lost in the Wild Card round in 99, but it didn’t matter. The Emerald City now had a football team.

My Dad started taking me to football games as long ago as I can remember. I can recall going to the Kingdome surrounded by blue and orange cladded fans and their confident swagger—the Broncos were in town.

It always felt the Broncos were in town. They consistently used to pummel Seattle behind the legendary duo of John Elway and Terrell Davis. What made it worse was that their exuberant fan base traveled in droves, and arguably made more noise than the hometown cheering section.

It’s hard to picture given the current state of the franchise, but the “12th Man” used to be non-existent. It was just a lowly football team with a desperate fan base. Think of the modern-day Cleveland Browns, but not quite as bad.

Nevertheless, my Dad loved football so he decided to invest in season tickets. Over the years we attended games at the Kingdome, Husky Stadium, and eventually Qwest Field (CenturyLink).

Even though Holmgren made the playoffs in his initial season, the franchise took a step back the following three years never eclipsing the nine-win mark. They found their footing again in 2003, finishing 10-6, before being bounced in the wildcard round by the Green Bay Packers.

This was the infamous game where quarterback Matt Hasselbeck declared after winning the overtime coin-flip that, “We want the ball and we are going to score.” He ended up throwing a pick-six to Al Harris promptly ending the Hawks season, and moving a younger me to hide by my brown staircase so I could cry in peace.

My tears subsided, and things started to get better for Seattle as they made the playoffs five years in a row, with their most impressive campaign in 2005, in which they made the Super Bowl only to fall short to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

But before the loss to the black and yellow, an NFC Championship game had to be played.

The Hawks entered the matchup against the Carolina Panthers led by Hasselbeck, halfback Shaun Alexander, and a dominant left side of their offensive line fueled by guard Steve Hutchinson and tackle Walter Jones.

The Panthers featured quarterback Jake Delhomme and wideout Steve Smith. Yes, that same Smith who retired in 2017.

In terms of action on the field, there wasn’t much. The Hawks jumped out to an early lead powered by the emergence of something called the “12th Man.” Goosebumps pricked my body as I typed that previous sentence.

Seattle jumped out to a 20-7 lead at the half, added another touchdown in the third, and wound up winning the contest 34-14. It was so one-sided that fans started yelling a minute-by-minute countdown at the beginning of the fourth quarter. “15 minutes to a Seahawks Super Bowl,” we shouted, “14 minutes to a Seahawks Super Bowl,” “13 minutes,” — ok you get the point.

This is the moment where the “12th Man” became the “12th Man” and paved the way for the recent successes of Pete Carroll, Russell Wilson, and the rest of the bird gang.

It was a defining moment for a starving fan base and the city alike. To this day, Seattle is widely recognized by the Seahawks brand and is a point of pride for locals. We’ve come a long way since the “Seachickens” moniker.

For me, I was just happy I could experience this game with my Dad. Winning is probably always going to be fun, but what’s the point of victory unless you have loved ones to share it with?

I don’t remember the conversations that took place, the temperature outside, or the food I ate that day. But I do recall the feeling of comfort, love, and enchantment that only a father can provide.

I Love you, Dad, and Go Hawks!

About Nick Bartlett 111 Articles
Hello there ya wild rabbits. My name is Nick Bartlett and I’m a sportswriter, broadcast manager, and youth basketball coach. I’m from the Greater Seattle Area and a graduate of the Edward R. Murrow school at Washington State University. I’ve had over 50 articles and 10 podcasts published in Seattle PI, and my work featured on OregonLive, SportsPac12, and South Florida Tribune. You can contact me at or on twitter @WordsByBartlett. Cheetos and Tuna.

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