Wearing his Super Bowl XLVIII championship ring on his right hand, former Seahawks receiver Sidney Rice raised the 12 Flag on top of the Space Needle Friday morning as Seattle readies for its Divisional Round playoff game against the Falcons in Atlanta.
Rice, who spent three seasons with Seattle before retiring from the NFL in 2014, and who was part of the Seahawks' playoff team that lost at the Georgia Dome four years ago, continued what has become a postseason tradition in the Pacific Northwest at one of the area's most iconic landmarks, taking the reigns from Ring of Honor member Dave Krieg, who raised the 12 Flag prior to last week's Wild Card win over the Detroit Lions.
"It was super exciting," Rice said of his experience at 575 feet. "I look forward to raising the 12 Flag absolutely anywhere — here, in the stadium — but it's definitely a humbling experience for myself. I've been here for five years now and to see the amount of love and the passion that the 12s have for their football team. It's amazing to be able to be a part of the support as the guys go on to play Atlanta this weekend, and be able to lift this flag above the city of Seattle."
Turning his attention to Saturday's game, which kicks off at 1:35 p.m. PT, Rice said the key "will be to run the ball and stop the run," something the Seahawks successfully accomplished last week, when running back Thomas Rawls ran for a Seahawks playoff-record 161 yards and the defense held Detroit to 49 yards on the ground.
"It's going to be a knock-down, drag-them-out [game], but I have no doubts in my mind that the guys have the experience," said Rice. "They've been here before. They've played on big platform after big platform, so they definitely have the tools that are needed to win this game. It's just a matter of going down, enforcing your will, and doing what you're supposed to do."
As Rice can attest, the last time Seattle played a postseason game in Atlanta the Seahawks dug themselves into a 20-0 halftime hole before routing a fourth-quarter comeback, ultimately falling 30-28 after a late Falcons field goal. Rice called it "very important" for the team to get out to a fast start this time around.
"As you know the game goes four quarters always, but it's definitely good to start off on a great note when you're away, especially in an environment like that," Rice said. "But like I said before, the guys have been on every stage imaginable, so they'll definitely be prepared for it."
Asked for a prediction, Rice went against what many of those in the national media are forecasting.
"I am going Seahawks," he said. "31-27."
On Blue Friday, January 13, 2017, former Seahawks receiver Sidney Rice raised the 12 Flag on top of the Space Needle as Seattle readies for its Divisional Round playoff game on the road against the Atlanta Falcons.