In a league that prides itself on creating more parity than any other professional sport, the Seattle Seahawks have remained dominant at home for a better part of the last decade.
The team has posted the NFC’s second-best record (59-29, .670) under their own roof since moving to the conference in 2002, trailing the Green Bay Packers by just three games (62-26, .705). Seattle leads the League in opponent false start penalties since 2005, forcing a total of 121 through 64 games. And the Seahawks were the only team in the NFL to post a perfect 8-0 record at home a season ago.
Home field advantage is real in the Pacific Northwest. The 12th Man is the reason why.
“We understand that we can influence the game,” said long-time Seahawks fan Chuck McGowan. “There’s no question. We do influence the game. We know it. And we know how to do it.”
McGowan, who grew up primarily in El Paso, Texas, moved to the Seattle-area after he graduated from high school in 1982. It was an eighth grade vacation to the Northwest corner of the United States that had him coming back for more.
But what was it specifically about the area that had him longing for a return trip?
“Life,” McGowan uttered with a good-natured laugh. “Things were green. There was water. El Paso is in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the desert.”
For McGowan, a Vikings supporter at the time of his move to Seattle because his parents grew up in Minnesota, all it took was one game to get hooked on Seahawks football.
But it wasn’t just any one game. It was the Seahawks’ first-ever playoff appearance in 1983, when they bested the Denver Broncos, 31-7, in the AFC Wild Card Game on Christmas Eve at the Kingdome.
“That’s when I became a fan for life,” he said. “That game did it. That was it.”
McGowan spent the next five years in the U.S. Navy, but followed the team as closely as he could. It was in 2003 when he secured season tickets, but he opted out in 2005 – the year the Seahawks went to Super Bowl XL, which just so happened to fall on McGowan’s birthday. He was back in his seat at CenturyLink Field the very next season, along with a new gameday endeavor – 12th Fan View.
“I’d just bring my camera to the game, record what was going on at the game itself, and try to sneak in a shot here and there and occasionally pick up a nice play,” said McGowan. “It was about in 2009 when I did my first full-length video. But I only did one that year. Then the next year – 2010 – that’s when I really started to shoot every game.”
From running back
McGowan is back with his 12th Fan View video series in 2013, and as with every other new season, it is accompanied by new expectations, experiences, and hope for fans around the NFL.
Thanks to McGowan and his fellow 12th Man faithful, season-tickets were renewed at a franchise record 98 percent. The remaining 5,000 single-game tickets for each home game during the regular season sold out the very same day they went on sale. More than 37,000 fans attended the team’s open training camp sessions at Virginia Mason Athletic Center – just to watch practice. And Blue Pride – the team’s 12,000 member season-ticket waiting list – is at capacity.
So, what’s all the fuss about?
“Waiting to win the big one – one of these days they’re going to do it,” McGowan said, pausing briefly before continuing, “That’s going to be, aside from falling in love with my wife and if I had kids, having kids, that’s going to be the biggest moment in my life I do believe, because I’ve been waiting for it for 40 years.”