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Seahawks wide receivers #Celebrate48
Armed with a garbage bag full of candy and a celebratory bottle of champagne, Golden Tate boarded a Light Military Tactical Vehicle (LMTV) bearing a Seahawks banner marked "Wide Receivers - Super Bowl Champions" early Wednesday morning outside the Paul Allen-owned Experience Music Project Museum.
"World champs, baby!" Tate exclaimed to his fellow pass-catching brethren already on board the LMTV parked on the corner of Seattle's Denny Way and 5th Avenue South.
Tate, Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Percy Harvin, Sidney Rice, Bryan Walters, Ricardo Lockette, Phil Bates, Arceto Clark, and offensive assistant Nate Carroll made up one of more than two dozen carriers seen in today's Super Bowl XLVIII victory parade.
Seahawks players, coaches, staff, the Sea Gals, mascot Blitz and the Blue Thunder Drumline waded 2.4 miles through a sea of more than 750,000 12s from the EMP Museum down 4th Avenue South toward the club's home base - CenturyLink Field.
"This is chaotic in a very, very good way," a hoarse Tate said midway through the procession. "The support we have is tremendous. I don't think you can do it any better than this. This is world class."
Tate hopped from end to end of the LMTV, waving a large 12th Man flag back and forth in his right hand while utilizing his left-handed heave from his baseball-playing days to toss treats- mostly Skittles - into the all-ages, raucous crowd lining the roadway. Blue and green-clad fans hung from street signs and grasped tree limbs to get a better glimpse. They filled apartment building balconies and overflowed onto rooftops. Around every corner and deep into every alleyway, it was all 12th Man everything, everywhere.
Waka Flocka's "It's a Party" and DJ Khaled's "All I Do Is Win" blared as the expedition approached Westlake Center. Both tracks were fitting ballads for the party-like atmosphere much apparent on this historic day celebrating the city's biggest win.
"I've never seen anything like this," Tate remarked after gyrating dual 12 flags to the beat bouncing off the walls of Westlake. "I'm loving it. It's always been a dream. But now it's a reality."
For wideouts Jermaine Kearse and Bryan Walters, Wednesday's Super Bowl victory celebration hit a little bit closer to home. As in, right smack-dab in the middle of it.
There's Kearse, the Lakes High School product who played his college ball on Montlake for the University of Washington Huskies before signing with Seattle as a rookie free agent after the 2012 NFL Draft. And there's Walters, the former Juanita High School quarterback who calls Kirkland home and who landed with his hometown club this past season.
"It feels so good being from this state and being able to bring [a Super Bowl] back for them," Kearse said. "It's an amazing feeling."
"It was unbelievable, man," Kearse called out over the deafening roar of support generated from his trophy-touting. "To be in front of this whole crowd, in my hometown, there's nothing like it."
For Walters, the fourth-year pro who spent time with the San Diego Chargers and Minnesota Vikings before landing back home in Seattle, Sunday's Super Bowl victory meant so much more than it would have if it had come with any other club.
"I grew up wanting the Super Bowl, rooting for the Seahawks," a fiery Walters said mid-parade. "I remember their last Super Bowl, going so hard. To be able to finally bring a Super Bowl to Seattle - as a fan myself, and as a player - is truly amazing."
One Helluva Homecoming
For the entirety of Wednesday's celebration, Doug Baldwin stood erect at the very front of his position group's LMTV, soaking in the Super scene leading up to CenturyLink Field.
"It really shouldn't be a shock to us because of how dominant the 12th Man has been in supporting us at home and when we go away," Baldwin said of Wednesday's breathtaking crowd. "But to come back home to that is something unreal.
"It's so special that not only does it send ripples through the city," Baldwin summed, "But it's going to send ripples across the world."
On Wednesday, the world took note. For the first time in franchise history, the Seahawks are Super Bowl champions.