Well, hello there. Welcome aboard the Seahawks bandwagon. I’ll give you a hand up; I’m sure there’s plenty of room for everyone.Yes, I’ve been a Seahawks fan since they started (and last season’s Super Bowl win was a glorious reward for years of waiting), so I can afford to be magnanimous to those of you who are late to the party.
I often hear comments disparaging of all you new fans. You know who you are: You started following the team, wearing Seahawks shirts and watching games only since the Seahawks have started winning as a matter of course.
But I don’t think we should shun those who are running alongside, hoping for a seat on the bandwagon. Lightning can strike twice, so why not bring as many along as we can?
To all of you looking for that empty seat: Gear up for Blue Friday by cutting the price tags off your brand-new No. 3 jersey, scramble aboard and join the fun. You can’t hope to learn everything that’s happened since 1976, but here’s how you can prepare yourself a little for this postseason.
1. Learn about the players. While all longtime fans have their own favorites from years past (Dan Doornink is one of mine), you’ll need to know about, at the very least, some of the most beloved early Seahawks players and coaches, especially those in the team’s Ring of Honor and in the NFL Hall of Fame. If Jim Zorn, Chuck Knox, Dave Krieg, Kenny Easley, Curt Warner, Jacob Green, Steve Raible and Steve Largent, among many others, aren’t familiar names to you, start studying. If someone should mention Brian Bosworth or Rick Mirer to you, just grimace and shake your head sadly.
2. Learn the historical conference rivalries. Hard to believe this now, newbies, but the 49ers haven’t always been the Seahawks’ greatest rival. For 20-plus years, they weren’t even in the same conference. The Seahawks’ formative years were spent in the AFC West, and an intense rivalry formed with the Raiders. Count me among the disappointed when NFL realignment moved the Seahawks to the NFC West. Study up.
3. Familiarize yourself with the 2006 Super Bowl. It was the Seahawks’ first Super Bowl appearance, but it turned into a travesty played against that team from Pittsburgh, the game the referees stole (they admitted screwing up calls) from the Seahawks. Last season’s championship took some of the sting away, but the memory of 2006 leaves a taste of bitterness in the mouths of longtime fans.
4. Watch — repeatedly — that epic 2011 Beast Quake run by Marshawn Lynch in the playoff game against the Saints. Count the number of tackles he broke. You’ll never know how it felt watching it happen, but practice jumping up and down in your living room while screaming to approximate the appropriate reaction. Chances are this postseason, Lynch will give you reason to do that again.
5. Prepare for the game itself. Everyone has a different way of coping during games that matter, so figure out now how you’re going to deal with the inevitable stress of game time. I favor sitting on the edge of my seat (literally) and jumping up during big plays. When those do-or-die third downs come up on offense and defense, I prefer standing near the TV screen and pacing. I’m not admitting anything, but at times of highest tension and/or disappointment, you may find tears to be an appropriate reaction. Find your own style and stick with it.