When the Seahawks have been at their very best over the years, Lumen Field has been a house of horrors for opposing offenses, who have had to contend not just with talented defenses, but with deafening crowd noise.
So it was only fitting that on the day the Seahawks were celebrating the 10th anniversary of their Super Bowl-winning 2013 season, the 12s were at their very best, making things very difficult on the Panthers offense in a 37-27 Seahawks victory.
With the crowd in a frenzy all afternoon long, from Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith raising the 12 flag to Jarran Reed recording a game-clinching sack on fourth down, the fans were a real factor, with the Panthers committing eight false start penalties.
"One of the most obvious things that happened today was feeling the 12s," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "God, what a great impact they had on this game. These guys had eight false starts in this game and that's not us. We had nothing to do with that. They can't get coordinated because of the noise. What a great factor. It felt like what it feels like to be here at Lumen. That was a thrill. Thrill for our young guys who hadn't heard it like that, hadn't felt it like that, and they understand why we talk so much about them, why it's such a factor and all that. Anyway, we got to give a lot of credit to our fans being part of this game, just like they've been in the past. That was really obvious today."
While Geno Smith and the offense didn't have to contend with the crowd noise, he knows what a big factor it can be, especially after playing—and thriving—in a hostile environment in Detroit last week. And while he was on the sideline watching the defense operate, Smith was impressed with the 12s.
"Yeah, I think the 12s, they got us a win today," Smith said. "You can tell just from watching them out there. The offense, they can't hear a thing. I think they had eight or 10 pre-snap penalties, and you can put that right on our crowd. I think we have the best fans in the world. Just tremendous the way they showed up for us today and always; they're always here for us. We want to continue to give them things to get rowdy about, because it makes it hard on the opposing offense. The 12th man was real today, and I'm just happy to be a part of it."
While the Seahawks have played in front of plenty of loud home crowds in recent years, Sunday felt a little extra electric, perhaps because of the anniversary celebration, or perhaps just because of the excitement around this young team. Whatever it was, players and coaches noticed a little something extra from the 12s.
"It was so obvious that they were kind of running the show, so we were just playing off them and flying with them," Carroll said. "It felt more unique than it's felt recently, and for whatever reason, the fact that they responded like that in this early part of the season after we screwed it up last time we were here, that's where we start moving forward. I'm hoping that we can continue to fill them up and they can fill us up with the love they have for the Seahawks."
Linebacker Jordyn Brooks noted that on days like Sunday, he has a hard time hearing Bobby Wagner when Wagner is communicating defensive calls, but that's a challenge Brooks will gladly accept if the fans are going to have an impact on the game like they did Sunday.
"It was crazy, I think they had eight false starts today," Brooks said. "I have to give it to the 12s. They showed up and showed out today. Sometimes it might get me a little rattled, I can't hear what Bobby said in the huddle. I'll take that any day. What's the record 11? We need to break that next home game. It was great to hear them cheering today."
As Brooks noted, eight false starts is a big number, but not the record a Seahawks opponent at Lumen Field. That dubious distinction belongs to the New York Giants, who committed 11 false starts in a 2005 loss in Seattle, prompting Mike Holmgren to dedicate the game ball to the fans.
Said Reed, "Oh, man, that was amazing. They were loud. I think we had eight [false start] penalties, and that's a lot. That says a lot to the 12s. We need more of that, each and every home game. We want it even louder."
For young players, Sunday's game was a chance to experience the 12s at their best, in some cases for the first time.
"I've never really experienced anything like that before," said rookie receiver Jake Bobo, who scored his first career touchdown and recovered an onside kick. "Obviously the 12s have a reputation. But they definitely upheld that reputation for sure. That was really cool to be a part of."
The 12s fill Lumen Field, hoping to see the Seahawks get their first victory at home this season as they get set to face the Carolina Panthers. This gallery is presented by TCL.