It was a season of records. Record crowd noise. Record performances by Russell Wilson. Equaled the best record in franchise history.
The 13-3 Seahawks are talented on both sides of the ball: powerful runner Marshawn Lynch, cool-headed QB Wilson, a deep receiving core, the best secondary in the NFL nicknamed the "Legion of Boom" and a strong defensive line.
The 12th Man certainly love the team for their play on the field, but they also love the personalities behind the football. All season the team has said they are taking each game as it comes, but from the beginning their eyes have been on the ultimate prize.
Before the Seahawks take the field in the postseason, we wanted to take a look back at everything that was 2013 for the team and its fans. From lightning strikes to belly rolls, touchdowns to interceptions, this season was nothing short of remarkable.
Earl Thomas: "When you carry yourself like a champion on and off the field, good stuff is going to happen for you."
With a strong foundation to build on from the 2012 season, Seahawks management made offseason moves to improve the team. The most talked about Seahawks acquisition was WR Percy Harvin from Minnesota, but the signings of Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, Luke Willson and Christine Michael have had a significant impact for the team in 2013.
Every game is important in the NFL. But in 2013, a few games stood out as difference makers for the Seahawks.
A win at Carolina in the season opener was followed by a much-anticipated Sunday Night Football matchup against division rival San Francisco. The Seahawks stunned the 49ers and critics with a 29-3 win in Seattle. But the most talked-about moment wasn't football, it was weather as a lightning strike at CenturyLink led to an hour-long game delay.
"The Seahawks just played their game, and despite some hiccups and uneven play, they made a clear statement on 'Sunday Night Football.' They're ready to be the frontrunner in the NFC." – Jerry Brewer, The Seattle Times.
The Seahawks followed up with another win against Jacksonville at home before heading to Houston to take on the Texans. The game was close but a pick-six by Richard Sherman forced overtime and the team got an important come-from-behind win on the road.
Sherman: "I don't want to be an island. I want to be more of a tourist attraction. You stop here, I take your money and you go."
Pete Carroll: "That doesn't happen very often, but when it did it was like the world stopped for a second there because he had the ball in his hands and no one in front of him, and we had practiced exactly that."
In the next three games, Seattle lost for the first time to Indianapolis before getting two more wins, one against Tennessee at home and another at Arizona.
Richard Sherman: "We have a lot further to go. This wasn't our cleanest ball game. We haven't played our best ball yet."
Russell Wilson: "I don't remember the last time I was ever flustered, to be honest with you. One of the biggest things with me, I stay composed."
Next came a low-scoring battle in St. Louis. The Seahawks defense spent most of the game on the field, but were able to stop the Rams at the goal line to pull out the win, 14-9. During the game the Seahawks lost wide receiver Sidney Rice for the season after he tore his ACL. The injury was one of many for the team, which lost starters on both sides of the ball over the course of the season.
"The failures of the offense put serious strain on a defense that spent nearly twothirds of the game on the field. The exhausted unit stepped up, making a goal-line stand on the final play of the game." – Dan Hanzus, NFL.com.
Sherman: "It's not always going to be pretty. You have to be able to win ugly."
The Seahawks made the biggest comeback in franchise history in the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, overcoming a 21-0 deficit in the second quarter to go on and win 27-24. Golden Tate's 71-yard punt return was a major play.
Carroll on Wilson: "He never thought for a second that we weren't going to win this football game. He made the plays he needed to make to put us in position to do it."
The Seahawks recorded two more wins, including one during Percy Harvin's debut against the Vikings. The game against Minnesota also saw the return of all their starters on the offensive line, which had been an area of weakness. Next up, a Monday night showdown with the Saints in Seattle.
Russell Wilson: "Every day, my goal is: 'Can I be better than I was yesterday?' That's my mindset and I really think it helps. I want to be great one day."
Seattle's bye week leading up to the MNF game was marred with controversy after reports that cornerback Brandon Browner was facing a possible 1-year suspension under the NFL substance abuse policy. The NFL also suspended CB Walter Thurmond for four games for violating the policy.
Even with the distractions, the Seahawks came prepared for the game against the Saints, winning 34-7 at CenturyLink Field. Fans were just as pumped as the team, breaking the Guinness World Record for loudest stadium crowd (137.6 decibels). The win clinched a playoff berth for Seattle, making them the first team of the year headed to the postseason.
Pete Carroll: "We made the playoffs. But that's not our goal. We want to win the division and get home field advantage."
The next week brought another big game for Seattle, a rematch with rival San Francisco. The Seahawks couldn't pull out the win on the road, losing 19-17 to the 49ers. Linebacker K.J. Wright broke a bone in his foot during the game, putting him out for six weeks.
Earl Thomas: "When you're on the road, you have to bring your special teams and defense and we had mistakes in both of those. It cost us today."
The Seahawks finished the season with five interceptions in a shutout win at the New York Giants (23-0) followed by the team's first loss at home with Wilson at QB (17-16) to the Arizona Cardinals. But the team bounced back in the final week with a dominating 27-9 win over the St. Louis Rams to wrap up the division title and secure home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
From the offseason through the regular season, Seahawks fans contributed to the team’s success. The 12th Man has represented the team with signs on the sideline, flags around the world, noise records, and much more.
Seahawks fans also weren’t afraid to reach for the stars. In September, a fan posted a YouTube video of a 12th Man flag flying through the atmosphere with the help of a weather balloon.
It seemed to be a sign of the season to come.
One of the youngest and most knowledgeable Seahawks fans stole hearts around Western Washington and made her way into the National spotlight. Three-year-old Kalee Buetow can name all the starters and offensive line coaches and can even answer tough questions from coach Pete Carroll.
Seahawks fans set noise records not once, but twice this season.
The first record came Sept. 15 at home against San Francisco, but that record of 136.6 decibels was broken by Kansas City Chiefs fans in October with a mark of 137.5. Then in December in a Monday Night Football game against the New Orleans Saints, the 12th Man hit 137.6, narrowly edging out a stadium that seats 10,000 more than CenturyLink Field. At the game against New Orleans, Seahawks fans also registered as a small magnitude earthquake.
The 12th man didn’t just make its mark here at home. Fans sent us photos from around the world countries like Haiti, Cambodia, Puerto Rico. They took the 12th Man flag to the top of mountains, tropical beaches and beyond representing the home town team. Fans dressed dogs, cats, babies and bunnies in Seahawk colors.
Whether they were cheering on the road, in the home stands, or beyond, this season the Seahawks have felt the support of the 12th Man more than ever.
|After 2 Years|
|Russell Wilson (24-8)||63.6%||6,475||52||19|
|Tom Brady (11-3)||63.7%||2,849||18||12|
|Drew Brees (8-8)||60.1%||3,505||18||16|
|Brett Favre (8-5)||64.1%||3,277||18||13|
|Peyton Manning (16-16)||59.3%||7,874||52||43|
|Dan Marino (21-4)||62.2%||7,294||68||23|
|Joe Montana (2-6)||63.8%||1,891||16||9|
|Aaron Rodgers (0-0)||48.4%||111||0||1|
|Ben Roethlisberger (22-3)||64.6%||5,006||34||20|
|Kurt Warner (13-3)||64.5%||4,392||41||13|
|Steve Young (3-16)||53.2%||3,217||11||21|
In his sophomore season, Russell Wilson’s performance helped establish him as one of the best young quarterbacks in NFL history. He set an individual NFL record in his first two seasons for most wins (24) and was tied for second with Peyton Manning for most touchdowns thrown in that span (52).
Russell Wilson on 24 wins: "It does matter. Winning a lot of games is really important. It's what we come to do every day, to have a championship day, have a championship year."
Wilson isn’t just a fan favorite for his play on the field; he also won hearts with his off-field accomplishments. A weekly visitor to Seattle Children's Hospital, in late September Russell Wilson started his weekly press conference highlighting one of the patients he met. Wilson held up a duct tape wallet made by a young girl just before she had a heart transplant at Seattle Children’s Hospital.
Eleven-year-old Allison Christensen got a follow-up visit from Wilson after surgery and as well as many requests from people wanting their own handmade wallets.
Wilson made the news again off the field when he was drafted by the Texas Rangers in December. The Rangers paid $12,000 for the rights to Wilson, though his role on the team will be limited. He previously played minor league baseball for the Rockies after being drafted in 2010.
Wilson: "It's a pretty cool thing, my third time being drafted. It's a blessing, but my focus is on football."
The existing rivalry between the Seahawks and 49ers ramped up a notch in 2013. Experts called the Seahawks and 49ers two of the best teams in the NFL.
Both teams jockeyed to improve the most with off season moves. And players (and coaches) didn't shy away from talking smack. Before the first matchup between the two squads in September, Frank Gore said, "They think they're the best, we think we're the best." The battle lines had been drawn. Round one in Seattle went to the Seahawks and round two in San Francisco ended with the 49ers on top.
The rivalry also extended off the fields and into the stands. Prior to the regular season, a group of Seahawks fans had a campaign to buy a brick at the soon-to-be-built San Francisco stadium ensuring that Seattle's mark will forever be felt in the Bay Area or at least until they build another stadium.
Then, after the Seahawks win in the first matchup, a 49ers fan wrote a letter to the editor complaining about the unfair advantage Seattle had at CenturyLink. Two fans wrote that crowd noise "surely creates as big an advantage over an opponent as any performance enhancing drug."
Seahawks fans responded. "Sports do give us a place of joy, community and hope. We Seattleites call that place CenturyLink Field home of 'the 12th Man.' We are loud because we are proud of our Seattle Seahawks," wrote Chris Miles of Seattle.
The controversy over home field crowds continued prior to the game in San Francisco. The 49ers released a memo to fans that went viral online. The 49ers' memo included instructions on how to dress, how to cheer and other guidelines for supporting the home team.
Adding the Seattle-San Francisco rivalry, two members of the 12th Man set out to fly a banner before the game in December. Cedric Morris and Travis Platt raised enough money to fly a Go Hawks 12 banner over Candlestick, and thanks to the generosity of Seahawk fans, excess donations were gifted to the Wounded Warriors.
The Seahawks didn't just get attention for their performance on the field. They also had plenty of personality. During the win over San Francisco on Sept. 15, Richard Sherman celebrated an interception in style with an impromptu dance with Sea Gal Jessica on the sidelines.
Wide receiver Doug Baldwin turned to fans to help his family after Typhoon Haiyan devastated much of the Philippines. Baldwin is one quarter Filipino and his grandmother's family still lives in the area. Baldwin ran out with the Filipino flag during introductions of the Seahawks game at home against the Vikings Nov. 17.
While Sherman may have a few dance moves, he's also a champion of education for at-risk students. The Stanford graduate launched a nonprofit over the summer and during the season he surprised students at Foster High School in Tukwila. Sherman gave the students a backpack full of school supplies in exchange for their signature on a contract promising to stay in school.
Brandon Mebane has been a consistent presence for Seattle at defensive tackle. During the team's win over the Vikings, Mebane celebrated after forcing QB Christian Ponder to throw the ball away with the belly roll seen around the world. His jersey came up and his stomach rolled in a moment impossible to forget.
Running back Derrick Coleman became the first deaf player on offense in the NFL. Not only did Coleman score his first TD against the Saints, he also inspired local kids. In a visit with 100 hearing impaired students in Tacoma, Coleman showed them that they weren't limited in what they could achieve. During a visit, he told them, "If you have a dream, if you want to do something with your life, you have to go out there and you have to take it."
|Record||13-3 (8-0 home)||13-3 (7-1 home)|
|Total offense||5,915 yards (1st)||5,424 yards (17th)|
|Rush offense||2,457 yards (3rd)||2,188 yards (4th)|
|Pass offense||3,458 yards (13th)||3,236 yards (26th)|
|Scoring||452 points (1st)||417 points (t8th)|
|Total defense||5,069 yards (7th)||4,378 yards (1st)|
|Rush defense||1,510 yards (5th)||1,626 yards (t7th)|
|Pass defense||3,359 yards (25th)||2,752 yards (1st)|
|Scoring defense||271 points (7th)||231 points (1st)|
|Leading passer||Matt Hasselbeck|
65.5%, 3,459 yards, 24 TD, 9 INT
63.1%, 3,357 yards, 26 TD, 9 INT
|Leading rusher||Shaun Alexander (NFL MVP)
1,880 yds, 5.1 yd avg, 27 TD (rush), 1 TD (rec)
1,257 yards, 4.2 yd avg, 12 TD (rush), 2 TD (rec)
|Leading receiver||Bobby Engram|
67 rec, 779 yds, 3 TD
64 rec, 898 yards, 5 TD
|Tackles leader||Lofa Tatupu - 104||Bobby Wagner - 120|
|Interceptions leader||Michael Boulware - 4||Richard Sherman - 8|
|Sacks leader||Bryce Fisher - 9||Michael Bennett 8.5|
18-25 FGs, 56-57 XPs
33-35 FG, 44-44 XPs
41.6 yard average (265 return yards)
39.2 yard average (82 return yards)