Seattle Seahawks

‘We were lucky to have him’: Seahawks induct late owner Paul Allen into Ring of Honor

The 12th inductee to the Seahawks’ Ring of Honor is the most fitting one yet.

With fans hugging—and roaring—the team honored late owner and Seattle native Paul G. Allen into its Ring of Honor before Thursday night’s game against the Los Angeles Rams at CenturyLink Field.

Steve Raible, the former Seahawks wide receiver and current team radio play-by-play announcer who hosted the ceremony, led the sellout crowd in counting down from 12 to 1. Then Allen’s place on the stadium’s upper-level facade was unveiled: “Paul G. Allen, ‘97-18” in white next to a team 12s flag.

Allen, a Microsoft Corp. co-founder, died last October, 21 years after buying the Seahawks as they were on their way to moving to California.

The worldwide icon saved the Seahawks in Seattle. Thursday, the Seahawks and Seattle said thanks.

“We were lucky to have him,” former Seahawks fullback Mack Strong said on the narration of a video tribute played on the stadium’s huge video boards during the pregame ceremony.

Allen joined Steve Largent, Jim Zorn, Dave Brown, Pete Gross, Curt Warner, Jacob Green, Kenny Easley, Dave Krieg, Chuck Knox, Cortez Kennedy and Walter Jones in the Seahawks’ Ring of Honor.

Largent, Zorn, wives Rhonda Brown and Bev Gross, Warner, Green, Krieg and Jones were on the stage on the field near the north, downtown side end zone. So were Seahawks president Chuck Arnold, who grew up in Tacoma, and general manager John Schneider.

“Paul said, ‘With the right team, anything is possible.’ And he was right,” Raible told the crowd.

After the pregame ceremony on the field, Jody Allen raised the 12th Man flag seconds before kickoff. The sellout crowd roared again as she twirled a team towel over her head as the Seahawks received the game’s kickoff.

Jody Allen is Paul Allen’s sister and current chair of the Seahawks.

At halftime, the Mercer Island Marching Band was to present a Paul Allen Tribute. Allen was a longtime resident of Mercer Island, across Lake Washington from both Seattle and the luxurious, 220,000-square-foot Seahawks headquarters he built in 2008 on land he owned. The Seahawks moved into one of the most opulent team facilities in the league from their previous, outdated and cramped space on the campus of tiny Northwest University in Kirkland.

The Mercer Island Band was to play a special medley, including one of Allen’s favorite Jimi Hendrix song and one from Allen’s band, Paul Allen and the Underthinkers.

Allen kept the team in Seattle by buying it from Ken Behring in 1997, after Behring had started moving Seahawks headquarters to southern California. Allen then hired the two best coaches in franchise history.

Mike Holmgren led the franchise to its first Super Bowl, in the 2005 season.

Then Pete Carroll won it at the end of the 2013 season.

Allen stewarded the culture that created consecutive Super Bowls, in February 2014 and 2015, and the Pacific Northwest’s only NFL championship.

Franchise quarterback Russell Wilson says he Allen was special to him and to his wife, Ciara.

“I think for Paul Allen and what he meant to us and what he’s meant to this franchise, he gave us a chance,” Wilson said.

“He gave us an opportunity just to have this amazing facility. To have the great coaches that we have. To have the culture that we have. The opportunities that we have. He’s always supported everybody in that sense. He was a great owner. ...He always did everything with class. He loved his football. He loves his basketball, too. He loves his music.

“He means a lot to me and Ciara. We got to know him over the years, and he meant a lot to us, too. I know he’s meant a lot to a lot of people. He’s helped a lot of lives, and he’s helped animals. He’s done a lot of research and done a lot of amazing things.

“The guy created Microsoft. Pretty special.”

Gregg Bell is the Seahawks and NFL writer for The News Tribune. In January 2019 he was named the Washington state sportswriter of the year by the National Sports Media Association. He started covering the NFL in 2002 as the Oakland Raiders beat writer for The Sacramento Bee. The Ohio native began covering the Seahawks in their first Super Bowl season of 2005. In a prior life he graduated from West Point and served as a tactical intelligence officer in the U.S. Army, so he may ask you to drop and give him 10.
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