DETROIT—After the Seahawks had finished off a dominant victory over the Lions, and after the raucous celebration in the visitors’ locker room calmed down a bit, head coach Pete Carroll presented a game ball.
Only it wasn’t a player receiving that honor on this day—though plenty were deserving in what was a strong day for the team in all three phases of the game—but rather Seahawks Vice Chairman Bert Kolde, who in addition to working closely with Paul Allen was also a longtime close friend of the Seahawks owner, who passed away earlier this month from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“This is the first game the Seahawks have played since the passing of our owner Paul Allen,” Carroll said in the locker room before presenting Kolde with the ball. “He has done so much for all of us, he has put us in this position where we are. We’re going to keep celebrating the spirit that he has brought to our area, to our club, to the league, just to the world. He’s an unbelievable, once-in-a-lifetime guy.”
Kolde accepted the game ball from Carroll and held it up in honor of Allen, stating, "This win's for you, we love you."
A few minutes later, Carroll would open his press conference remembering Allen, saying, “The first thing I’d like to say is this is the first game since Mr. Allen passed. He passed away about two weeks ago, so we had the opportunity just once again, and I’ll know we’ll continue to celebrate, there’s so many reasons to celebrate his life, so we did in the locker room and gave him the game ball. Gave it to Bert Kolde, his best friend, and just kind of make sure we connect the spirit one more time and we’ll continue to do that.
"Without Paul, none of us would be here. We’re very grateful and appreciative and we’ll continue to feel that connection and play for that.”
The Seahawks knew Sunday’s game against the Lions was an important one for their playoff hopes and to continue the momentum they had before the bye, but players also came into this game feeling like they needed to honor Allen with their play on the field.
“That’s what I prayed on the field (before the game),” receiver Doug Baldwin said. “I said I hope we can represent him in the best fashion that we can, because he has meant a lot to this city, to me personally just being one of the guys who have been here the longest, he meant a lot to me. I’m glad we got to represent him the way we did.”
And after a moment of silence for Allen that the Lions held prior to the performing of the national anthem, the Seahawks represented Allen by playing one of their best games of the season, beating Detroit 28-14 to improve to 4-3 following an 0-2 start to the year.
“To be able to say that we got a huge win obviously after a tough, tough loss of Paul Allen, he meant so much to us, all of us players,” said quarterback Russell Wilson, who threw three touchdown passes and had a perfect 158.3 passer rating for the first time in his career. “The culture that he was able to create, that will forever live on here for the Seattle Seahawks. Just the impact that he’s made, not just for us as individuals, as a team, but also as a city, and there’s probably not too many people who have impacted the world more than he has, obviously from Microsoft to all the things that he’s done for other people, for brain research, everything else, to all the animals around the world. There’s so much more about Paul Allen that we’ll forever miss, but forever remember. I just have so many memories of Paul, just music and how much that meant to him and just be able to share that with Ciara and talk to him about those moments like that.
"He was a man who had so much grace and so much love for the world. We’ll forever miss him, but we’ll always remember him."
Added center Justin Britt: “It meant a lot. He is part of the reason we are who we are, how he allowed us to be ourselves as a program, as individuals, as a team, it all stemmed down from him. I owe him so much for giving me the opportunity to play in the NFL and play for the Seahawks, and for giving me a second contract. It means a lot to us to win for him. He’s truly missed and somebody you can’t replace.”
Tyler Lockett, who had his sixth touchdown catch of the season in the first quarter to give the Seahawks their first score of the game, said winning for Allen “was big. We wish he was still here, he was a fighter and he continued to fight. Just being able to go out here and win—it was great that they honored him out here, and hopefully we’ll honor him when we’re back in Seattle for the first time. It was big, everybody did their jobs, we played our role and just went out there to get the win for him and play for him.”
Starting with Sunday's game against the Lions in Detroit, the Seahawks will wear a patch on their jerseys honoring club owner Paul G. Allen, who died last week from complications of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.