Hours before the playoff matchup between the Seahawks and Vikings was set on Sunday night, Tansey Allen was already working her phone and laptop, talking to contacts in Green Bay, Minnesota and D.C. about possible venues for Seahawks fans to gather this weekend.
As co-founder of the Seahawks Road Crew, Allen has been helping 12s find each other away from home since 2006.
"The network keeps growing. There's a handful of us that kind of lead it, and then we reach out to everybody and say, 'Hey, who's going to this game, who wants to do a tailgate, who knows of a great bar?'" Allen said. " We go through what do we know, and then we fill in the blanks."
A lifelong Seattle sports fan who was raised on the Olympic Peninsula and Capitol Hill, Allen started connecting far-flung Seahawks fans after moving to Los Angeles more than a decade ago. Long before fans enjoyed the kind of success the franchise has today, Allen actively recruited other 12s to meet up weekly at a sports bar called Barney's Beanery.
"For me, it was about putting together that community," she said. "Being that misplaced sports fan sucks. What are you going to do, sit in a bar by yourself, high-five yourself? It's not nearly as fun as when you have 20 or 30 people."
That group in Los Angeles eventually connected with a similar group in San Francisco, and then Arizona, "and snowballed from there," Allen said. Today, the Seahawks Road Crew has an official Facebook page, organizes events for most away games, and works with the Seahawks to help get the word out to fans.
Seahawks Wild-Card Weekend Fan Gathering
Saturday, Jan. 9 at 5 p.m.8th Street Grill, 800 Marquette AvenueMinneapolis, MN 55402
For the Seahawks' first playoff game, the Road Crew is promoting weekend events hosted by the Midwest Sea Hawkers, a chapter of the Sea Hawkers Booster Club that typically organizes events for road games in the Midwest.
James Erickson, 40, has been a Midwest-based Seahawks fan since the mid-1990s and has traveled to Green Bay, Chicago and New Orleans to cheer on the team. He'll be hosting this Saturday's playoff rally at the 8th Street Grill in Minneapolis, where he bartended and managed for a decade before moving to Wisconsin last year.
"It's technically a Packers bar, because the owner is from Wisconsin," said Erickson, who now owns a bar called the Silver Dollar in Menomonie, Wis., "but it's a Seahawks-friendly bar."
The Saturday event starts at 5 p.m. and will feature Seahawks-themed drinks and food specials, Seahawks trivia and giveaways – and for a taste of home, Olympia beer. Mama Lynch is expected to make an appearance, according to Midwest Sea Hawkers President Lucy Polovitch.
A brunch buffet for Seahawks fans is planned Sunday morning starting at 9 a.m. at the same location.
Allen, 34, won't be making the trip to Minnesota this week, as a pregnancy and home renovation have kept her mostly off the road this season. Still, she remains dedicated to planning and promoting fan events.
"It kills me to think that all of these fans are going to a city and they wouldn't know where to meet up with each other," she said. "Because the energy that the 12s bring, you can see it when they're sitting together in a bar or a restaurant. There's a vibrancy there.
"They go into the game with that excitement, and it feeds the players. It's a chain reaction. ... We make a difference."
After three weeks of home play, the 12s hit the road and followed the team all the way to Minnesota to watch the Seahawks take on the Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium on the campus of the University of Minnesota.