LONDON—If there were still any doubt about the level of support the Seahawks have here in London, it should be erased by the crowd that formed at the Barrowbow & Banker prior to noon on Saturday.
At the pub and restaurant that has become the home of the 12s, both Seattle-based and foreign, over the past few days, a long line had formed well before noon, a sign of the party that was to come that afternoon and evening, culminating with a Seahawks London Live broadcast featuring members of the Seahawks radio broadcast team.
Back at the team hotel outside of Watford, players had a relatively normal Saturday, going through their usual day-before-the-game walkthrough before heading to Wembley to check out the stadium they'll play in on Sunday. In addition to just getting comfortable with their surroundings, the Seahawks also used the trip to Wembley to get familiar with the playing surface, which is expected to be similar to the field they practiced on during the week.
"What we've been told—and we'll be on the turf (Saturday) for the first time—is that this is the same makeup, same construction of turf (at the team hotel), the synthetic aspect of this as well," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Friday. "I think, from what we understand, Wembley is more worn so we'll have to figure out what that means but we've been working with our footwear here in preparation to make sure that we can adapt quickly when we get on that field."
While players went through their walkthrough, yours truly headed into London to meet up with members of the UK and German Sea Hawkers. You can read a lot more about that here, but I'll just say that it has been very impressive to see the level of support the Seahawks have so far away from home. Everyone's story is different, but it's clear the passion for the Seahawks extends far, far beyond our own borders.
After a quick trip from London back to team headquarters—good news if you have been following along over the last couple of days, I got the trains right today, so no long, unintentional strolls along the Thames—I headed back into the city where I met up with a few friends who had made the trip from the U.S. for the game.
In addition to observing from our sidewalk table that leopard print is apparently very much in style in Europe—seriously, it's everywhere, kind of like Seahawks gear—we also enjoyed some delicious French food and wine at a place called Mon Plaisir. And yes, even sitting at a French bistro several miles from the bar serving as 12s headquarters, it was impossible to avoid Seahawks jerseys and the occasional "Sea-Hawks!" chant. Following dinner and dinks, there was another successful train ride back to team headquarters—I'm finally getting this figured out just in time to head home. That's all for now, gameday approaches.
The Seahawks welcomed 12s from everywhere to London's Barrowboy & Banker pub for a Blue Friday rally on October 12, 2018 ahead of the team's Sunday matchup against the Oakland Raiders at Wembley Stadium.