How much of a 12th man are you Seahawks fans?

Choice iconic items and actions self-select real fans; others weed out lukewarm wannabes

kenny.via@thenewstribune.comJanuary 12, 2013 

With the Seahawks’ run to the playoffs revitalizing football fanatics, spray-on green hair and neon face paint are flying off the shelves.

There are few ways to go wrong — but plenty of perfected tributes — to show your love for the home team.

Are you an authentic Seahawks zealot? Take the following quiz and see how you stack up across a dozen 12th Man categories. Collect points for all the ways you embrace the insanity. Bizarre is usually better, but not always.

A true fan should be able to score at least 12 points, of course, but if you’re obsessed enough, 1,200 is not out of the question.

Here we go:

1. 12TH MAN GEAR

Seahawks T-shirt (one point)
• Seahawks jersey (two points)
• Seahawks flag (three points)
• Seahawks tattoo (15 points)
• Tattoo of yourself wearing a 12th man jersey and hoisting the 12th man flag at CenturyLink (50 points)

It all starts here. On Dec. 15, 1984, team president Mike McCormack retired the No. 12 jersey and dedicated it to the fans. Some prefer the throwback jerseys of Hall of Famers Steve Largent (No. 80) and Cortez Kennedy (96). Others are enthralled with the new Nike design and rookie QB Russell Wilson (3). Given free agency, injuries, retirement and Pete Carroll’s penchant for turning over the roster, the only number that’s always in style is 12.

2. GAME-DAY ATTIRE

• Face paint (one point)
• Dyed hair (two points)
• Original “Raiders Busters” T-shirt (25 points)
• Official Blitz mascot costume (100 points)

The Seahawks mascot, Blitz, infamously drew Mike Holmgren’s ire for prancing around and shooting T-shirts into the stands after a loss to the Lions in 1999. But what better way to gain insider access to the sidelines?

3. HOME DECOR

“Seahawks Parking Only” sign (one point)
• Team logo rug (two points)
• Framed “Land of Boz” poster (15 points)
• Stuffed Sea Hawk (50 points)

It doesn’t take long to figure out that no one bird is responsible for the nickname. The osprey is a large raptor native to many places, including the Northwest. Sometimes it’s called a sea hawk. The team, however, brought in an augur hawk named Taima in 2007 that has since led the players out of the tunnel and onto the field. Either bird, taken to a taxidermist and mounted strategically with wings spread wide, would let others know you mean business.

4. FAVORITE WATERING HOLE

Seahawks-themed bar (one point)
• Customized man cave (five points)
• Coach Pete Carroll’s house (250 points)

Since bringing his “Win Forever” philosophy to town, Carroll has been winning over fans with each victory. His enthusiasm and attitude make him a great candidate to hoist a few beverages with while talking football, and his $6.5 million salary probably allows for comfortable seats in his home theater.

5. SEASON TICKETS

In the Hawks Nest (10 points)
• Club level (five points)
• Corporate suite (-10 points)

The team’s move out of the Kingdome and into open-air CenturyLink Field has coincided with the golden age of Seahawks football. The rain-soaked Sunday night win over the 49ers on Dec. 23 was a prime example of the electricity generated when gloomy weather and the home team take turns lowering the boom on an opponent. Why hide inside when the cheap seats are rocking?

6. KINGDOME ARTIFACTS

Piece of the dome (five points)
• Ceiling tile (10 points)
• Folding chair (25 points)
• Urinal trough (150 points)

Speaking of the imploded relic, the Hawks had some good times there as well. The original Curt Warner ran wild, Jim Zorn scrambled to success, and Stan Gelbaugh came off the bench to lead an improbable comeback that cost the team a chance to draft Drew Bledsoe. And that’s just to name a few. Through it all, grown men in need of relief were herded like sheep around communal metallic drains. Installing an original at home would not only be a tribute to the concrete cathedral that served as the Hawks’ home for 24 seasons, it would also ensure there’d never be a line again.

7. GAME-WORN ITEMS

Jersey (five points)
• Gloves, cleats, towels (10 points)
• Chuck Knox "trucker-style" ballcap (75 points)
• Jockstrap (-15 points)

“Ground” Chuck Knox brought a playoff résumé and respectability with him to Seattle in 1983, then led the team to an 80-63 record over nine seasons. He coached the Seahawks to three playoff wins and a trip to the AFC title game. Along the way, he rocked his share of adjustable mesh hats long before they were made retro-cool by Ashton Kutcher. Best part: One size fits all.

8. AUTOGRAPHED MEMORABILIA

Football card (two points)
• Seahawks jersey (five points)
• Playoff ticket stub (10 points)
• Unwashed body part (50 points)

In the world of collectables, the right signature can fetch a mind-boggling amount of money. But to many a fan, a personalized message from a player scrawled in the right place is priceless. Written in permanent ink and protected from soap and water, who knows how long such a memento will last?

9. SUPER BOWL XL SWAG

Game ticket (five points)
• Handed-out Seahawks towel (10 points)
• Seat cushion (25 points)
• Head referee Bill Leavy's penalty flag (250 points)

For most fans, the Feb. 5, 2006, loss to the Steelers was the worst day in franchise history. That Leavy, the head referee, years later admitted to “kicking” a few calls has done little to heal the pain. But that game was also the team’s only dance on the game’s biggest stage. So embrace the heartache. It’s all part of a fan’s DNA. The day the Hawks finally win a Lombardi Trophy will be even sweeter because of it. Just ask Red Sox fans.

10. MORE HEARTBREAK REMINDERS

Commemorative 2003 playoff coin (10 points)
• Bo Jackson's Los Angeles Raiders turf shoes (50 points)
• Vinny Testaverde's New York Jets helmet (100 points)

The Super Bowl wasn’t the only letdown over the years, just the biggest and most agonizing. There have been many moments of ineptitude. Whether it was Matt Hasselbeck’s “We want the ball and we’re gonna score” declaration, Brian Bosworth’s deflation on Monday night or the mishap at the Meadowlands that led referee Phil Luckett to mistake Testaverde’s white helmet for a brown football, we’ve certainly seen our share.

11. MISCELLANEOUS ARTIFACTS

Confetti from NFC title win over Carolina Panthers (15 points)
• Football that Broncos safety Mike Harden fumbled when popped by Steve Largent (100 points)
• Jan. 8, 2011, printout of seismic activity at CenturyLink (500 points)

There have been good times, too. It was a bit forced and awkward when Terry Bradshaw made Shaun Alexander circle the stadium with the George Halas trophy, but there’s never been a bigger victory. Two of the team’s most iconic moments are Largent’s revenge hit on the Broncos safety who injured him earlier in the 1988 season, and Marshawn Lynch’s 67-yard “Beast Mode” romp through Saints defenders.

12. SEAHAWKS NAMESAKE

Wall or room named after a player or coach (two points)
• Pet named after a player or coach (five points)
• Child named after a player or coach (100-1,000 points)

What’s in a name? Everything, baby. A “Holmgren Memorial Hall of Fame” in the den or garage makes a great statement. A dog named Krieg, a cat named Blades or a lime-green python named Jacob are all nice tributes, too. But nothing shows off fanaticism more than passing down a team-themed moniker to a child who’ll have to wear it at playgrounds and job interviews the rest of his or her life. A son named Matthew, Steve, Walter or Cortez? Daughter named Bobby, Chris, Kennedy or Porter? All worth at least 100. More original handles move higher up the scale. Sea Hawk, C. Hawk or Twelve? Easily worth 500 each. And deliver the grand prize to anybody who sticks a kid with Clink.

Kenny Via: 253-597-8634
kenny.via@thenewstribune.com
@kenny_via

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