I thought we were together on this: musicians, artists, and (groan, sorry) creative types on one side, jocks on the other. Didn't we all agree a long time ago that sports—with all their machismo, misogyny, violence, and vapidity—were the worst? And yet: Here in Seattle, my suddenly-sports-loving little town that could, some of my best friends don't just love, but seem to be IN LOVE with the Seahawks. These are not the drooling assholes I knew in my teen years, but passionate and creative humans. Now that "we" are heading toward our second consecutive Super Bowl, I thought it was time to let them explain themselves.
I initially set out to find a solid, football-hating "con" side to balance the "pro" you're about to read, but it turns out that music people who are also Seahawks haters—not just indifferent-ers—are surprisingly hard to find, and even harder to get on the record. But that argument is well-documented elsewhere. For once, the burden of proof lies with the defense. And so I humbly yield the floor to my learned colleagues. Why do you love the Seahawks so much?
Ben Verellen (Helms Alee, Constant Lovers): I grew up on skateboarding as my sport of choice. Around age 13, a few of us felt enough alienation from the jocks that we decided they were victims of mainstream culture, and we delved into skating and music instead. Skating is a style-driven sport. More than whoever could land the most tricks or go the biggest, we appreciated guys like Jovontae Turner, Rick Howard, and Phil Shao, who inspired with incredible style and character.
The Seahawks are not like the jocks at your high school. They are weirdos and underdogs who play with as much personality as my favorite musicians and skaters, and they happen to also be the best in the game.
Like anything good, of course the dummies have to spoil it to some degree. No one (of my friends) likes the chanting and the drunken fratty mobs that descend on the city every week, but it's impossible for me not to look past that mess and be inspired by seeing a tight-knit team of young weirdos confront and conquer opposing teams stacked with their heroes, the press, and even the shady organization that employs them. Punk as fuck!
Kerri Harrop (local mover and shaker): Football was my enemy, growing up in early-'80s small-town Bothell. We were the weirdos, the punkers, the funny-haired freaks. Once, players from the varsity team brandished knives and ran us off the road on the way home from school. "DEVO!" they would yell. "FAGGOTS!" We hated and often feared them.
Took me years to come around to the game, and to the team that I yell for every week. Took me ages to reconcile the brutal jock culture with what I now love as a truly beautiful and exhilarating sport. I get it. I understand the hate. But I also get this: The Seahawks have been the underdogs for most of my life. In many ways, they are the weirdos and freaks of the NFL.
We have a coach that loves and appreciates music, and a team that practices with DJ DV One providing a soundtrack. We have rock star Richard Sherman, and pretty boy-band Russell Wilson. We have Beast Mode. Marshawn Lynch is the hardest hiphop you've ever heard, the most blistering guitar lick imaginable. He is pumping bass, he is loud as fuck, he is the bang your head, lust for life, GET OFF ME motherfucker in the pit. He is Oakland, but he is Seattle. He is the quiet weirdo who just wants to do what he loves.
I appreciate that some folks aren't down with football. That's cool. But I don't give a fuck. I love our Seattle Seahawks and the uncontrollable urge of civic pride they foster. GO HAWKS.
John Richards (KEXP DJ): I remember living in Iowa and having a Jim Zorn and Steve Largent poster on my wall, and my parents (who were from the Northwest) telling me how great it was that Seattle had a team, a team that didn't win a lot. So the Seahawks were my first team, and moving to Washington State when I was 10 only reinforced that for me. I've also always felt the teams (and the musicians) in your city tell you a lot about the place you live, and for me, this current team does just that. The team is unconventional, independent, and misunderstood, but they always look out for each other. Like Seattle, the team has become so much bigger and better without totally losing its identity (though one worries both may soon). I also can't help but love the people on the team—from Lynch, who gets fined for grabbing himself as he flips backward into the end zone, to Sherman, Thomas, Chancellor, and Baldwin playing inspired ball with off-the-charts teamwork, and Wilson, who up until now I thought was a bit confused on how God had anything to do with football. But after that Packers game, I guess the joke was on all of us.
Randall Schowe (Rose Windows): My love for the Seahawks is a fairly new and blossoming thing. I suppose that's because I'm not a native Seattleite, and to be fair, they weren't doing all too well until I moved up a few years ago and the team hired Pete Carroll as head coach. Being from San Antonio, Texas, we had no NFL team to root for, so I grew up a basketball fan. The San Antonio Spurs are known best for their unmatched team-oriented play and unstoppable defense, both of which the Hawks share. Basketball and football are completely different sports, but the leadership roles displayed by San Antonio's Tony Parker and Seattle's Russell Wilson are very similar—leading your team and delivering the ball to the right person at the right time, putting every player to use on your offense, and not just leaning on your star player to make things happen. That separates the good from the great, and I can appreciate any team doing so. Also, I admire Marshawn Lynch's dismissive attitude toward the media—I sense some Gregg Popovich in there. Go Spurs! Go Hawks! Hawk yeah!
Duranged Pitt (musician, creator of the Hawk Gang): I remember the day when Pete Carroll and John Schneider were hired to reshuffle the cards in Seattle. Five years and more than 800 roster moves later, the Seahawks have reached new heights, not only in Seattle football history, but in NFL HISTORY! A dominant defense and a smash-mouth offense defines why they are the reigning Super Bowl champs, who, as I type, just landed in Arizona to comPETE for their second title and a chance to be rePETE champions—a feat that hasn't been accomplished in more than 10 years by, guess who, the same team and quarterback who stand in our way: the Patriots. I'm fresh from the send-off in SeaTac and the rally in Renton, and I can tell you one thing for sure: The city is on fire, as it should be. I'm out!!!! #HAWKGANG
Shelby Earl (musician): As a native of the PNW, I can't help but have a little Super Bowl fever. I'm incredibly proud of our hometown team. But in all honesty, football hasn't always been my "thing." In fact, I think my dad has often questioned his paternity due to my lifelong indifference to sports. That said, the times are a-changin'! Because if there's one thing I love, it's an excuse for a party. And the Seahawks keep giving us all a reason to party (thank you, you muscle-clad joy-bringers!). Who wouldn't love them for that?! So, call me a fair-weather fan, that's fine. I'll never claim to be a die-hard. But I am now a solid 12, rooting like hell every weekend, right alongside all the face-painted crazies. And as for Sunday, I just hope our boys perform as well as Katy Perry undoubtedly will at halftime. Go Hawks!
Kevin Cole (KEXP DJ): I love the Seattle Seahawks—it's impossible not to love them. Coach Carroll has put together a team of misfits where individualism has been allowed to flourish, yet somehow managed to build a unified team. The team obviously loves, cares, and plays for each other. Where the character and personality of the individual builds a stronger team, a championship team—like a great band. A team like the Jimi Hendrix Experience, like the Sonics, like Nirvana, Mudhoney, Pearl Jam, Shabazz Palaces, THEESatisfaction, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Individualism unified, stronger than their parts. Like Seattle and the Pacific Northwest: The Seahawks are left-corner weirdos with soul.