As John Nordstrom removed the white ribbon from the blue Tiffany & Co. box, his eyes filled with tears.
And no one attending the ceremony at the Woodmark Hotel along the Kirkland waterfront on Tuesday afternoon could blame him, because no one in the gathering of Seahawks staff members and dignitaries had waited as long as Nordstrom to get a Super Bowl ring.
“This was not expected, at all,” Nordstrom, whose family was instrumental in bringing the Seahawks to Seattle long before the team’s inaugural season in 1976, said after slipping on his bling of a ring.
Asked if it had been worth the wait, a speechless Nordstrom pointed to his eyes, which were filling with tears. Again.
The players and coaches received their rings in June – a lasting memory of the Seahawks’ 43-8 drubbing of the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2. Wednesday belonged to the staff members, as well as Nordstrom and Ring of Honor defensive end Jacob Green – two members of the Seahawks’ Board of Advisors.
The ceremony was held where the team’s original headquarters had been from 1976-85. Staff members were presented their rings by players – All-Pro free safety
Steve Raible, a second-round draft choice in 1976 and now the radio voice of the team, served as the MC and coach Pete Carroll, president Peter McLoughlin, Schneider, Green and Nordstrom also addressed the group.
It was part of the family atmosphere that has been rekindled since Paul Allen purchased the franchise in 1997.
“We’re a team, from top to bottom,” McLoughlin said. “It’s great that Pete and John are so inclusive of the business staff. It’s something that I believe in strongly, as well. We’ve got such a great group of people and we all support one another.”
It starts at the facility that replaced the facility that replaced the original headquarters – Virginia Mason Athletic Center, along the shores of Lake Washington in Renton.
“The VMAC has a lot to do with it,” McLoughlin said. “We all work together. We eat lunch together. We run into each other every day. We talk about business all day long with the players and the coaches and each other. So it’s appropriate that we celebrate this accomplishment and give everybody a ring, give everybody a chance to be part of the championship.
“And I think that makes us stronger as an organization and it motivates people to want to continue to be better and better over and over. So I want to thank Paul Allen for being generous and supportive of all the staff.”
Leave it to Nordstrom to tie a bow on the event by thanking those most responsible – from the top.
“Look what we’ve got in our grasp with Pete and John and Peter and Paul,” he said. “Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness. Paul Allen won’t take credit, but he doesn’t get nearly enough credit. And I love it.”
Allen was the owner of professional sports franchises – first the Portland Trail Blazers of the NBA since 1988, then the Seahawks – for a combined 42 seasons before winning a championship.
“This championship does validate Paul as one of the great owners in professional sports, and I think he feels it,” McLoughlin said. “When he got the Lombardi Trophy, he realized that he accomplished something that he’d never accomplished before. And for a guy who has accomplished so much that says a lot.”
Just like the tears in John Nordstrom’s eyes.