SEATTLE, Wash.—Standing midfield in a building that only exists because of him, Seahawks owner Paul Allen waved to the crowd that was giving him a standing ovation.
Prior to the kickoff of Sunday's home opener, Allen was honored during a pregame ceremony, and fans showered the team's owner with love, knowing this day was only possible because Allen bought the team 20 years earlier, saving football in Seattle.
"Before we start on the ballgame, I'd just like to recognize that this is a big celebration, really for the whole area, for all of the unbelievably supportive things that Paul Allen has done for so many years around here," Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said following his team's 12-9 victory over the San Francisco 49ers. "I haven't been here for all of the years, of course, but for almost half of them now. He has been extraordinary in his vision, extraordinary in his willingness to help and his loyalty to this area and all that, I'm glad that we got to celebrate it today and have some fun with it. He was kind of sheepish about it, but it's a big day and I know everybody recognized it and there's nobody that can see it any other way, so it's a very unique situation for us to have somebody that's so willing and just have such a heart about it. Just fired up that that got recognized today."
As was detailed in a video shown prior to the game (you can see the full documentary here), Allen purchased the team in 1997 from then-owner Ken Behring, who was attempting to move the team to Southern California. That paved the way for CenturyLink Field to be built, and under Allen's guidance, the Seahawks have become one of the league's model franchises, winning three NFC titles, one Super Bowl and nine division titles over the past two decades.
"I love Paul Allen, my kids love him, my family loves him, mom and dad," cornerback Richard Sherman offered postgame. "Paul's a great guy. He's really a great owner for a team because he spares no expense, and that's not just what he pays guys, but our facility is fantastic, we have amazing chefs all the way down to the janitors, they do a great job, training staff is phenomenal. I think those are things that you can't ignore and those are the gripes I've heard guys have when they go to other teams. You go to other teams, I'm not going to mention anybody specifically, but they're like, 'Man, the facility's terrible' because their owners are saving money. … I think it's something to be said about an owner who cares about that. All the philanthropy he does, everything he does in terms of concussion research and head trauma and things like that, he really shows that he cares about improving the game and improving player's health, and you've got to appreciate that."
For more on Allen's tenure as Seattle's owner, check out Seahawks.com/ThanksPaul.
The Seahawks honored Paul Allen's 20 years as owner of the franchise during a pregame ceremony at CenturyLink Field ahead of Seattle's Week 2 game against the San Francisco 49ers.