The team returned to the Pacific Northwest without the
opponent-rattling rumble of "the 12th man," as its fabled home-game
fan base is nicknamed, and were instead greeted by a few dozen fans
cheering and chanting the team's name on the tarmac at
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
Members of the Seahawks — including star cornerback Richard Sherman,
sporting a walking boot over his injured right ankle and using
crutches — waved to those gathered before boarding two buses headed
for the franchise's training facility.
The crowd was intentionally small, with fans told to keep away from
the airport. Instead, the team is planning to hold a celebratory
parade through Seattle on Wednesday.
Among the first off the plane was Pete Carroll, the team's head
coach, who suggested earlier on Monday that Seattle schools be
closed on Wednesday for the parade. That idea was shot down by
Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Jose Banda, who in an online
statement lauded the team but said "academics must come first."
The victory was particularly sweet for a city known for its
star-crossed sports franchises. Seattle's previous major
professional men's sports team championship came in 1979, when the
SuperSonics — who left for Oklahoma City in 2008 — captured the
National Basketball Association's crown.
On Sunday night, thousands of blue- and green-clad Seahawks fans
took to the streets of Seattle to celebrate, with revelers downtown
lighting bonfires while fans on Greek Row near the University of
Washington set fire to couches in what police said were mostly
non-violent, if boisterous, celebrations.
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The atmosphere was dampened somewhat by two non-life-threatening
shootings and by revelers who threw bottles at police and storefront
windows downtown as the party wound down early on Monday, said
Seattle police spokesman Mark Jamieson. Police made about a
half-dozen arrests, he said.
"The overall atmosphere for the vast majority of the night was one
of just celebration," Jamieson said. "People were ecstatic that
their team won."
The Seahawks were enthusiastically embraced throughout the Pacific
Northwest. But outside of the region, many more U.S. football fans
had been pulling for the Broncos, led by widely respected
quarterback Peyton Manning.
In a Public Policy Polling survey released days before the game, 49
percent of respondents said they preferred the Broncos to the
Seahawks, versus just 22 percent favoring Seattle. Some 29 percent
"Liberals, conservatives, men, women, whites, African Americans,
Democrats, Republicans, Latinos, and voters young and old" all
preferred the Broncos, PPP said in a statement accompanying the
(Reporting by Jonathan Kaminsky in Olympia, Washington;
Cynthia Johnston, Eric M. Johnson, Steve Orlofsky and Ken Wills)
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