The NFL Fan Base

By Blaidd Drwg

A few weeks ago, Annie S. nephew tried to convince me that Seahawks fans are as loyal and supportive of their team as anyone else. He is young (under 25), so his memory doesn’t go too far back into history.  I didn’t buy his argument.

I moved to Seattle in 2003 and got the opportunity to see my beloved Steelers in Seattle in November. I bought a ticket through the Seahawks website about 2 weeks before the game and there were a good number of seats available, so I had my pick. I took a bus down to Pioneer Square and walked to the stadium and virtually everyone I saw was clad in black and gold – not a single Seahawks jersey in sight. At the game, I would say there were probably 15-20 thousand Steelers fans, removing most of the home field advantage.

You may want to argue that this was an isolated incident, but it wasn’t.  I did a bit of digging and found some interesting tidbits:

From the 2/14/2002 Seattle-PI:

State House members sent Seattle football fans a sweet Valentine: they passed a bill yesterday to end NFL blackouts of Seahawks games.

None of the Seahawks’ 2001-02 home games, played in Husky Stadium, sold out. Only one of those games was televised, Sept. 23 vs. the Eagles, because the NFL waived the blackout rule for the week following the disruption of the schedule due to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The Hawks received so little fan support in the early 2000’s that the state legislature tried to actually do something about it.

I thought this one was more interesting

From the 1/5/2005 Seattle-PI:


KIRKLAND — The Seahawks were granted a 24-hour extension today on the NFL’s blackout deadline because 5,000 tickets remain for Saturday’s playoff game against the St. Louis Rams at Qwest Field.

The league specifies that games must be sold out 72 hours in advance to avoid being blacked out on local television. The Seahawks were granted the extension because of the short turnaround from Sunday’s game, when the Seahawks beat the Atlanta Falcons to clinch the NFC West championship and home game in the first round of the playoffs — the first in Seattle since 1999.

The team has sold 61,000 tickets since Sunday, but must either sell the remaining tickets or have a sellout guaranteed by a sponsor by 1:30 p.m. Thursday for the game to be televised in the greater Seattle area.

Yep – the Seahawks almost failed to sell out a playoff game. They managed to avert the blackout, but just barely:

The playoff game was in danger of being blacked out in the Seattle area because about 6,000 tickets remained yesterday, but the NFL extended its deadline 24 hours. By Thursday afternoon, less than 1,000 tickets remained a sellout by NFL standards.

About 66,000 tickets were purchased over a 72-hour span, giving the Seahawks 16 consecutive home sellouts. Seattle’s record over that span, the team’s longest string of sellouts since 1992, is 12-3.

That doesn’t seem like great fan support and I am sure it will swing that way again once the team is no longer good in a couple of years. History doesn’t suggest that fans will support the Seahawks during a prolonged lousy streak.

Oh and about the “12th Man” being the supposed best in the NFL. Go to a Steelers or Packers or Bears game and see how rabid their fans are. They make the Seahawks fans look like amateurs. Besides, the Seahawks were so unoriginal with coming up with the 12th man thing that they stole it from the Texas A&M, who coined the term back in… wait for it… 1922.

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