Paul G. Allen saved football in Seattle. So, it is only fitting that his name will now be permanently placed with those of other legendary figures in franchise history.
Prior to Thursday's game, Allen will be inducted into the Seahawks Ring of Honor, a fitting tribute to the man who led the Seahawks to new heights when he bought the team in 1997. To honor her late brother, Seahawks Chair Jody Allen will raise the 12 Flag prior to kickoff.
"The Seahawks and the 12s are part of what makes Seattle such an exciting city and fantastic community, and the community and the fans were at the forefront of Paul's mind when he purchased the Seahawks," said Jody Allen. "This Ring of Honor induction celebrates Paul's legacy and the impact he made on not only the Seahawks organization, but the entire Pacific Northwest. It is fitting that he is the 12th member of the Ring of Honor. He was the proudest 12 of all."
Said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, "It's the most obvious, fitting honor there could be. He was a great Seahawk and a great Pacific Northwesterner. He has been everything, and he continues to factor into the community, and he will forever. We all should appreciate and hold gratitude for all of the things he stood for. I'm most grateful for being a part of his world."
Added Seahawks general manager John Schneider, "This is a most deserving honor for Mr. Allen, who saved the Seahawks and founded our franchise's culture of success over the last two-plus decades. His induction into the Ring of Honor will be a tribute to the legacy he left the Seahawks and the entire Pacific Northwest. We're all blessed to help carry on his legacy"
Allen, who passed away last October due to complications of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, will be the 12th member of the Ring of Honor, joining Steve Largent, Jim Zorn, Dave Brown, Pete Gross, Curt Warner, Jacob Green, Kenny Easley, Dave Krieg, Chuck Knox, Cortez Kennedy, and Walter Jones. Members of the Ring of Honor, or representatives, will participate in the ceremony, which will begin at 4:50 p.m.
Under Allen's guidance, the Seahawks achieved new levels of success over the past two decades, first under head coach Mike Holmgren, who was one of Allen's most important early hires, and then under Carroll and Schneider, who Allen brought together in 2010.
Prior to Allen purchasing the team, the Seahawks had eight winning seasons, won 10 or more games twice, earned four playoff berths, won their division once and advanced to one AFC championship game. Since Allen bought the team, the Seahawks have reached the postseason 13 times, won nine division titles, enjoyed nine seasons with 10 or more wins, played in three Super Bowls, winning Super Bowl XLVIII to bring the Lombardi Trophy to Seattle for the first time.
"It was an honor," Carroll said of working for Allen. "It was a great experience. He was a great competitor, he wanted to win in the worst way and battled to always continue to find a way. He was a big problem solver; he always was at his best when he was solving problems, so he was always a great help.
"Paul laid trust in us that we could go do the jobs we were hired to do, and he supported us and backed us and gave us whatever we needed to carry out the mission. In that, he couldn't be a better leader, that's all we could hope for. He gave me the opportunity of a lifetime, and then let me do it, and I'm forever grateful for that."
And while Allen will be honored tonight for what he did for the Seahawks, his contributions to the world go far beyond sports. In addition to owning the Seahawks and the Portland Trail Blazers, Allen was a technology pioneer who co-founded Microsoft, then later launched Vulcan, Inc., Stratolaunch Systems, the Allen Institute and the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence. He was a philanthropist and conservationist who used his considerable wealth and influence to make a difference in so many ways around the world, giving more than $2.5 billion to causes near and dear to his heart; he enriched Seattle's art and music scene while also playing a mean guitar himself; he made amazing discoveries at the bottoms of oceans; he rebuilt Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood, and did so much more to make the Seattle area and the world a better and more interesting place.
"I think all of the things that Paul has done has demonstrated to us what we all wish we would have done given the opportunity," Carroll said last year after Allen's passing. "The extraordinary wealth that came their way because of the great ideas and the concepts and the principles opened up a doorway for him to give back to the place that he was so connected to, and he did it any way he could and he's always been that way."
CenturyLink Field wouldn't exist if not for Allen, so it's appropriate that after tonight, his name will forever be honored by the team he saved from relocation.
"At the end of the day, there was no Plan B," King County Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer said upon the 20th anniversary of Allen purchasing the team. "There was only Plan A, and Plan A was Paul Allen. Nobody in this community wanted to buy the franchise.
"In the end, it wasn't a financial decision. It was a decision of commitment, and I go back to the fact that this is an Allen family commitment to this community, because there was no financial reason for him to buy the team, and there was no personal reason for him to buy the team… Paul Allen, he was not the last person standing, he was the only person standing. And he made a commitment not based upon a financial reward, not based upon anything personal; he based it on the values that his mom and dad taught him, and we owe as much to Faye and Ken Allen as we do Paul."