By Brady Henderson
This is what the biggest celebration in Seattle’s history looked like:
Russell Wilson and the Lombardi Trophy received a champagne shower from Marshawn Lynch as the Seahawks celebrated their first Super Bowl title. (AP)
An estimated 700,000 fans – more than the city’s population – braved the frigid temperatures and lined the sidewalks as a fleet of military trucks carried the world champion Seahawks down Fourth Avenue. Marshawn Lynch, standing on the front of the vehicle carrying the team’s cheerleaders, grabbed fistfuls of Skittles and showered the spectators with his favorite candy. Other players took turns hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. The crowd erupted at 12:12, declared by the state’s governor a moment of loudness.
And that was before the team arrived at CenturyLink Field to address a city savoring the long-awaited title it had finally realized three days earlier.
If it hadn’t yet set in that the Seahawks are Super Bowl champions for the first time in their history, it surely did Wednesday.
“This celebration was just beyond belief,” coach Pete Carroll said.
It started around noon when the Seahawks, separated by position groups, began the slow procession from Seattle Center to their home stadium, where roughly 50,000 fans awaited them while an additional 27,000 watched next door at Safeco Field.
The players, wearing the white jerseys they had worn in the Super Bowl, were introduced in numerical order, No. 99 Tony McDaniel first to walk out of the tunnel and across the field to a stage erected near the north end zone. Lynch carried a drum and a bottle of Dom Perignon. Russell Wilson carried the Lombardi Trophy, raising it several times before he was stopped in his tracks by a champagne shower from his running back.
“As you’ve seen by now,” said broadcaster and celebration emcee Steve Raible, “this is not going to be a very formal event.”
Nope. The Seahawks weren’t going to stand on ceremony while celebrating the first Super Bowl in the franchise’s 38-year existence.
More coverage of the Super Bowl celebration.
|• Highlights: Seahawks, fans celebrate championship||• Photos: Downtown parade | Ceremony at CenturyLink||• Audio: Listen to a replay of the ceremony|
Paul Allen was among the first to address the crowd, calling Seattle’s fans the loudest in the NFL and the Seahawks’ Super Bowl championship “the fulfillment of a dream.” It was Allen, a Seattle native, who purchased his hometown team in 1997 from an ownership group that was threatening to relocate it.
Carroll followed team president Peter McLoughlin and general manager John Schneider, starting his address with a “Sea-Hawks” chant before saying they’re “just getting warmed up.” Carroll and Schneider have built a team that seems poised for perennial contention.
This day, though, was all about celebrating Seattle’s first taste of glory in far too long. The city has suffered through a decade of futility by the Mariners and the loss of the SuperSonics, and while the Seahawks have become one of the NFL’s model franchises, their most successful season prior to this one ended in the most heartbreaking of fashions.
Eight years to the day after that Super Bowl XL loss, this team and its fans finally got to revel in a championship.
“Look around at the 12th Man flags flying today,” Allen said, “and savor a moment that Seahawks fans have been waiting for since 1976.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.