Photos of the 12s, the buses, and route to SeaTac Airport where the Seahawks boarded the plane to Arizona for Super Bowl 49.
The 12s were up early on this Sunday morning.
That's because their team – the Seahawks – had a flight to catch. But the team's trip to Phoenix for next Sunday's Super Bowl XLIX was another flight of fantasy for the Seahawks' faithful.
In a repeat performance, the 12s started gathering in the predawn hours to stake their spots for a Super sendoff – just like last January, when the Pete Carroll-coached Seahawks flew to New Jersey on a Sunday and then demolished the Denver Broncos 43-8 in Super Bowl XLVIII a week later.
Marita Pratto has turned the occasions into a family tradition with three generations of 12s – herself, her children and their children; grandson, Jeffery, and granddaughter, Bella. They were waiting at Virginia Mason Athletic Center two hours before the buses pulled away from the facility on their way to the airport.
"How can we not be here?" Pratto said. "We were here last year, we went to 188th and it was awesome. This year, we decided to get a little closer.
"What happened last year was just so unbelievable. It brought the whole city together like never before."
That certainly was the case, one more time, on Sunday.
Pratto was part of a gathering of 100-or-so 12s at VMAC, a group supplemented by wives, families, Blitz and members of the Sea Gals.
There were 10 times that many 12s at the interception of Seahawks Way and Lake Washington Boulevard as the buses rolled through the throng to reach Interstate 405. And 12s also packed the overpasses at 30th, near Renton City Hall, Lind Avenue and Christiansen Road as the buses made their way to the airport.
But it was while leaving Interstate 5 that the 12s really flaunted their spirit and power. They were lined up five-to-10 deep as the buses moved onto South 188th. And the throng of 12s only got larger as the buses got closer to the airport.
They were cheering at Volume 12. They were throwing Skittles, which splattered against the outside of the buses as an obvious homage to Beast Mode running back Marshawn Lynch. They were waving signs – homemade and manufactured – flags and even small children.
There were signs that declared the obvious – Re-Pete; Leave No Doubt, Again; We've Got Your Back, Again. There were the signs aimed at the obvious players – Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman and the other members of the Legion of Boom, Doug Baldwin and Lynch. There were signs saluting Carroll. But there also were a couple of signs that gave some love to kicker Steven Hauschka and punter Jon Ryan – Kickers Are People, Too; and Jon Ryan for Super Bowl MVP.
There were the double-take sights as well. One family was holding individual letters that spelled out K-A-B-O-O-M. There was a Shetland pony decked out in blue and green. There was a white Labrador with a blue "12" dyed on its side. There was even an interestingly dressed group that looked like it has made a wrong turn on the way to Mardi Gras.
Once at the airport, Sherman, NFC Championship game hero Jermaine Kearse and other players worked the fence that separated them from a crowd of Delta employees and their families – shaking hands, poising for selfies and sharing smiles.
"This is great," Kearse said as he was leaving the fence and heading to the plane. "Not too many people can go to back-to-back Super Bowls and being able to do this with support like this is definitely a blessing. It's a lot of fun."
It was a Sunday morning where almost anything went, because of where the 12s' team was going. And that's back to the Super Bowl, where the goal is to become the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls since the team the Seahawks will face – the New England Patriots, who did in it 2003 and 2004.
And it all made for another Super sendoff for the players, coaches and staff.
"Man, this is unbelievable," defensive end O'Brien Schofield said on the tarmac before boarding the team's Delta charter flight. "For people to take the time to come out and send us off and show their love and support for this team – and for what this team stood for this season – to have it now it's like, 'Wow.'
"This is what we've been working so hard for, is to get to this point. So hopefully we can bring another Lombardi Trophy back to our fans – these fans."
The déjà vu element of all this didn't lessen the moment for the players or the 12s.
"It's consistency," Schofield said. "And that's the great thing about Seattle and the Seahawks – the love and support from the 12s, because they just bring something to this team that gives that whole family sense to the organization."
And the players had to look no farther than Marita Pratto and her three generations of 12s in the sea of 12s for proof of that on this Super Sunday for a Super sendoff.
"This sure is fun," Pratto said. "It has become a tradition for us."