One purple sweatsuit, two red-eye flights and 41,845 miles flown on Alaska Airlines.
Those were the totals for this football season.
Somewhere along the way, my Mom got a hug from Pete Carroll and posed for a picture with Marshawn Lynch in Oakland and I got a chance to cover a game from the sidelines for the first time ever.
In other words, it was pretty memorable even if the season did end two games sooner than any of us in Seattle really hoped.
Here’s a look back at the season that was while taking a moment to thank Alaska Airlines for making it all possible.
Favorite moment: My morning in Oakland with my Mom. I flew down the day of Seattle’s exhibition game in Oakland and my Mom met me for breakfast. As I checked into the hotel, Seattle’s coach was coming downstairs so my Mom got a hug from him. Then we walked down the street to the Beastmode store where my Mom got to meet Marshawn Lynch. You can tell a lot about a guy by the way he treats Moms, and Marshawn could not have been nicer to mine.
Best meal: Horseradish Café, Atlanta, Ga. It is Atlanta’s longest continuously operating restaurant and a place where you get the full taste of Southern cuisine. The pan-fried chicken is pretty close to perfect. The smoked boneless beef brisket is just as good. Everything right on up to the trout is delicious. It’s said that food is most quintessential expression of Southern culture, and this is the kind of place that you think about returning to from the moment of your first bite.
Best game: For me, it’s easy. I got a chance to serve as the sideline reporter for the team’s radio broadcast when Seattle played at New York.
Well, New Jersey. To see the speed of the game, the velocity that goes into the collisions was absolutely unbelievable. I’ve covered the league for 12 years, and that experience changed my understanding of just how much is going on and how fast everything happens.
Most breakneck schedule: The final trip was pretty close considering I landed in Atlanta five hours before kickoff of Seattle’s playoff game on Saturday, spent less than 20 hours in town and was back in Seattle before noon on Sunday. My first trip of the season was kind of like that, too. Except it began at the Guns n’ Roses concert in Seattle. I had to leave before the encore to head to the airport to catch a red-eye flight to Chicago so I could get to a preseason game on Saturday in Kansas City, returning home to Seattle on Sunday morning.
Quickest visit to any state: That would be Kansas. I was there for about 10 minutes after Seattle’s first preseason game to pick up Dave Wyman to go to dinner at a backyard barbecue joint. It did, however, mean that I touched down in 12 different states while traveling to Seattle’s 11 total road games.
Who wore it worst: Me. “You looked like an idiot,” Jim Moore said of my elastic-waisted purple and white track suit with a Kangol cap and oversized glasses. I was also compared to Grimace, the grape from the old Fruit of the Loom ads and even an aging comedian performing at a senior-citizen center. I don’t care. I bought the jumpsuit online before the Huskies’ season started with the idea that it would be hilarious to wear. The thing doesn’t even have a brand label. And you know what? It was hilarious. I wore it when Washington opened against Rutgers. And when the Huskies played Stanford on a Friday night and again in Atlanta for the Peach Bowl. When people in the South think what you’re wearing is gaudy, you know you’ve accomplished … well … something.
Most dedicated traveler: That goes to Dave, who is @RoadSeahawksFan on Twitter. He has been to every Seattle pro-football game – home and away – since the start of 2012. I actually met him quite a few times this season, which isn’t totally surprising because Alaska Airlines flies non-stop to more of Seattle’s opponents than any other airline. We were on the same flights quite a bit.
Here’s betting we run into each other a few times next season, too, when the journey begins again.