With all due respect to the 2014 Winter Olympics, the Super Bowl is and always has been the biggest sporting event of the year.
The fun part about this year's go-around? It features Seattle's very own Seahawks.
Below are 12 things the casual football fan should know about the Seahawks before heading off to that bar, restaurant, or house party where they'll be watching the big game. We're looking to educate the masses that may not have a particular rooting interest in this year's contest, while hopefully exposing the hardcore Seahawks fanatic to an interesting nugget or two to impress their peers. Let's get down to it.
12. The No. 12 is for the fans.
You may have seen the blue "12" flags plastered all over your television screens during the Seahawks' run to Super Bowl XLVIII. They're a unique way to recognize the Seahawks' fan base, who dubs themselves the "12th Man" for the influence they have on the football field with their loud and proud showings of support. The No. 12 was retired in honor of Seattle's fans back in 1984, making it the first jersey retired by the 1976 expansion-club Seahawks.
Seahawks fans have flown the 12 flag all around the world. From Hawaii's Diamond Head Crater to Arizona's Grand Canyon, Paris' Eiffel Tower to Rome's ancient Coliseum, and Seattle's Space Needle to Tanzania's Mt. Kilimanjaro, the No. 12 has been to nearly every corner of the map. It's even been on a little journey into outer space.
11. Their coach & general manager started building this team in 2010.
Coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider came to the club in January 2010 with a vision of building the Seahawks roster through the draft, while seeking out unique and unorthodox acquisitions via trade and free agency. Carroll and Schneider made a League-leading 284 transactions during their first year together in a program that preached competition at every position.
As our very own Clare Farnsworth puts it, "Forty-eight months, 39 draft choices and more than 800 roster transactions later, the team these two handpicked is about to play for the most-coveted sports prize on the planet: The Lombardi Trophy."
10. This is their second time in the Super Bowl.
If you're a seasoned Seahawks fan, I apologize for bringing this one up.
Prior to this year's squad finishing 13-3, earning the conference's No. 1 seed, winning two home playoff games and advancing to Super Bowl XLVIII, the Seahawks appeared in February's big game just one other time.
Their last Super Bowl appearance came in the 2005 season under head coach Mike Holmgren, who also led the club to a franchise-record 13 wins and the NFC's top seed. The Seahawks fell to the AFC champion Pittsburgh Steelers, 21-10, at Ford Field in Detroit, Mich.
9. Their quarterback has won more games in his first two seasons than anybody in NFL history.
The Seahawks selected
He's been named to the Pro Bowl twice, led the Seahawks on back-to-back trips to the postseason, and has become just the third quarterback in the history of the game to toss at least 50 touchdowns in his first two seasons, joining the legendary Dan Marino and his Super Bowl XLVIII opponent - Peyton Manning.
8. Their cornerback likes to speak his mind.
Okay, even if you've been just remotely paying attention to any sort of news coverage over the last week-and-a-half, you probably already knew this one.
Sherman grew up in Compton, Calif. He graduated from Dominguez High School at the top of his class and went on to earn a degree in communications from Stanford University. He gives back by working with kids in the Compton and Seattle communities with Blanket Coverage, The Richard Sherman Family Foundation, which makes sure students have the school supplies they need to succeed. And on his own time, he works with SWAG - Students With A Goal, encouraging children to work hard and stay in school.
7. The "Legion of Boom" was born from a fan on Twitter.
Or so the legend goes.
The phrase refers to the Seahawks' fast, physical, and hard-hitting defensive unit headed by free safety
Now you can find t-shirts, hats, floor mats, sweatshirts, and more featuring the "Legion of Boom" tag. So the next time you hear someone reference the L.O.B., you'll know where it came from.
6. Their fullback has his own YouTube show, and it's pretty damn funny.
Robinson shoots all of the footage, conducts all of the interviews, and also has a hand in the video's production. He graduated from Penn State University in December 2004, earning his degree in advertising and public relations in just three years. He has aspirations to enter broadcasting one day, and "The Real Rob Report" offers an excellent glimpse of his post-football future.
Coincidentally, the Denver Broncos were featured in a Real Rob Report segment hosted by former Seahawks/Broncos offensive lineman John Moffitt, adding another interesting wrinkle to this year's Super Bowl.
5. Their other fullback is legally deaf.
He's inspired countless fans with his story. And he's not done yet.
4. Their running back likes Skittles. A lot.
You probably already knew about this one, too.
Seahawks running back
It all starts with Lynch's mother, Delisa Lynch, who used to supply a teenage-Marshawn with what she called "power pellets" during his youth football games, convincing her son they would make him run fast and play well. Marshawn revealed a bit more of the story in a recent interview with NFL Japan - a must-see for both casual and die-hard Seahawks fans.
Now, the 12th Man showers Lynch in Skittles after every touchdown at CenturyLink Field. Will the trend continue if Lynch finds the end zone at MetLife Stadium? We'll just have to wait and see.
3. They can win on the road.
Despite popular belief, the Seahawks proved they're fully capable of winning on the road.
This past year, they set a franchise record for road wins in a single season with six. They earned their first road playoff victory since 1983 in the wild-card round at the home of the Washington Redskins last season. Super Bowl XLVIII is technically being played at a neutral site - East Rutherford, New Jersey's MetLife Stadium. But it's a neutral site that bears some familiarity - the Seahawks shutout the New York Giants 23-0 at the venue just last month.
2. They haven't lost a game by more than seven points since Nov. 6, 2011.
Treat every game like it's a championship game.
That's the mentality coach Pete Carroll has instilled in his ball club. It's carried them to 27 victories and nine losses (regular and postseason combined) over the past two years. They last lost by more than seven points on Nov. 6, 2011 - a 23-13 game at the home of the Dallas Cowboys. Carroll's team enters MetLife Stadium carrying the same thought that has served them so well throughout the course of the season - to go 1-0 every week.
1. They have the loudest fans in the entire world.
The 12th Man set the Guinness World Record for crowd noise during a Monday Night Football game against the New Orleans Saints on Dec. 2, 2013 at Seattle's CenturyLink Field.
The crowd noise has provided a tremendous home-field advantage for the 'Hawks, who have gone 17-1 over the past two seasons (including playoffs) under their own roof. They've racked up the second-best home winning percentage since moving to the conference in 2002, compiling a 66-30 (.688) record to tie the Green Bay Packers for the most home wins in that period.