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12th Man takes to the road for primetime matchups with NFC West rivals
It’s tough to win on the road in the NFL, especially when you’re forced to leave the comfort of your home venue that has been so historically kind.
The Seahawks, a team that has recorded a 10-17 record in away games and tallied a 20-7 mark at home since Pete Carroll took the reins in 2010, are facing back-to-back nationally-televised road tours against the NFC West rival Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams. CenturyLink Field’s home-field friendliness and its 12th Man-mojo will go out the window, replaced by the cold and unwelcoming hostility of the opponent.
That’s where 12s like Tansey Allen, co-founder of the Seahawks Road Crew and president of the SoCal Sea Hawkers booster club, are looking to make a difference.
“I want people to feel like they’re a part of something and I feel like that’s what we as a team are trying to create,” Allen said. “Seahawks fans aren’t known to travel well and we don’t have that many people that are traveling 12s, but we’ve kind of started to change that.
“We want people to feel like they’re important.”
With the Seahawks Road Crew, Allen’s job is to get the word out about pregame parties, pep rallies, tailgates, and gameday events going on in the city where Seattle plays its road matchups. She is in constant contact with Sea Hawkers booster clubs around the nation, encouraging their members to reach out and make themselves an essential part of every Seahawks gameday.
“We’re trying to just get a good road presence because it helps the fans,” said Allen. “I think it encourages people to travel which makes it more fun for the 12s because that’s more 12s on the road. There have been so many good events and turnouts this year. All I’ve been hearing so far is that people have been having a blast.”
Playing off that camaraderie, Allen has constructed a traveling Road Crew banner featuring the Seahawks logo and 12th Man feathering that is shipped to each away game. The banner is signed by the 12th Man in attendance and put on display at Sea Hawkers pre-game gatherings. She also has made custom blue and green Road Crew wristbands that will debut this Thursday in Arizona.
“When you are on the road and you walk into a venue full of Seahawks fans, it’s like the best feeling in the world,” Allen said. “You feel at home.”
Free safety Earl Thomas agrees. One of his pregame rituals on the road consists of pinpointing his No. 29 jersey out of the foreign crowd and fueling off of that fan’s intensity.
“I extend my arms out and act like I’m grabbing my energy from them because it really helps you out when you’re on the road,” Thomas said. “It just gives you a great feeling, an energized feeling.”
Thomas, drafted by the club in 2010, has seen the Seahawks fan presence at away games steadily increase in his four years with the team. He knows that at every game there’s at least one fan that has never seen him play, and he’s always striving to make a memorable first impression.
“When you can get your crowd, your fans on the road going crazy, it just gives you chills,” Thomas said. “It’s a good feeling.”
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Wide receiver Golden Tate is another player who absorbs the energy exuberated by the traveling 12th Man.
“For me, I always try to find the 12s,” Tate said. “I’m a player who feeds off the crowd, so on the road I definitely try to find the corner or a section of Seahawks fans and feed off them, feed off their energy.
“That’s one thing that you’ve got to love – they’re never going to get discouraged and they’re always going to be there ready to cheer us on.”
With the Seahawks Road Crew, Allen explains she’s trying to bridge the gap between misplaced sports fans and their favorite club. Thursday night’s game against the Cardinals in Arizona – the team’s fourth road contest of the season – marks yet another opportunity for the Road Crew to connect with the world’s touring 12s.
The Road Crew’s official pregame party is set to kickoff on Thursday, October 17 at 12 p.m. PT from McFadden’s Restaurant and Saloon in Glendale, Ariz. Allen urges you to come on down.
“I just love bringing the 12s together,” she said. “I just love the feeling like you have family everywhere.”