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The Impact of the 12th Man

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis weekend I was able to go to my first Seattle Seahawks playoff game. I got to the stadium nice and early and went as close as I could to the field where the Seahawks were warming up. I was able to cheer on the Seahawks players and shake backup center Lemuel Jeanpierre and famous rapper Macklemore’s hand. I was even fortunate enough to take a picture with Mr. and Mrs. Seahawk. It was a great day and it made me realize how much of an impact that we as Seahawks fans, better known as the 12th man, have on each game.

The 12th man has a huge impact in many ways. First off, the Seahawks players get a lot of encouragement before the game. I mean, who wouldn’t want to play football when you have people wanting your autograph, a high five or even a simple hand shake. The Seahawks players also have fans snapping pictures of them and yelling phrases such as, “Golden Tate, you da man!” It’s like the good feeling when you have friends and family waiting for your arrival at the airport. The Seattle Seahawks know that their fans will be at the stadium early, no matter what the weather is like. The 12th man has commitment and they love their team. Fans that come early to encourage the Seahawks give the players an extra boost and pump them up to play their best.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA<NFL players have a ton of pressure that comes with the job. But, something I saw on Saturday was the fun that fans bring to the players. There was Golden Tate playing catch with the fans in the stands. And then you had Doug Baldwin pumping up the crowd. You even had KJ Wright grinning from ear to ear, letting his mind wander away from being slowed down from his injury, for the moment. You had the defensive line dancing to a song on the loud speaker and loving the crowd atmosphere. Cliff Avril was quoted in his press conference today talking about the joy of playing at Century Link Field. “This place is unreal. It's a blast (to play here)." The 12th man is loved by the Seahawks players and a big reason is because we help them have fun. And, when you have fun at your job, you maximize your potential.

And then we have the obvious, Seahawks fans make the opposing offensive players lives more difficult with all the sound that is made. It’s harder for opposing teams to communicate and to think clearly. It’s easier to get flustered when the stadium is so loud. The 12th man wreck their vocal cords in order to make a difference in the game. My voice is still recovering from Saturday, but it was definitely worth it. The Seahawks defensive ends can also get a better jump off the line when the crowd noise is in full effect. It is nationally known that the 12th man are the loudest fans in the NFL. They have caused numerous earthquakes and have produced the most false starts in the NFL since 2005.

Hawks fans also help out the Seahawks organization by making Seattle an attractive place to play. Free agents know that the 12th man is very supportive of their team and that the Seattle Seahawks love playing in front of their fans. Just like Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett, many more free agents will settle for less money in order to play in Seattle. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA>

The 12th man is a big part of the Seattle Seahawks success. The Seahawks have lost only one game at home in the past two years. The fans bring lots of noise and encouragement every home game. This coming Sunday will be even louder in Century Link Field, as Seahawks fans know what the stakes are. If they win, the Seahawks are headed to New York for the Super Bowl. So drink your beer, coffee and water and continue to make an impact in the Seahawks season. Go Hawks!!!

twitter: @dstobbe11

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