january 13th, 2013. seattle seahawks vs. atlanta falcons. billy and i were listening to the broadcast on the radio, crossing into washington on the last leg of our road trip/move to seattle from chicago. atlanta ended up with the W with a last-second field goal. it was heartbreak of a loss, that game, but it resulted in a deeper hunger for a stronger season. the depth of the season ahead was unknown at that point. but the foundation for greatness had been established. we were new to seattle and the seahawks culture a year ago. but we knew then that we were about to become a part of history in the making for the emerald city.
fast forward to the eve of january 19th, 2014. the seattle seahawks had just defeated the 49ers for the nfc championship title on their home turf. i met billy and other seahawks employees to toast champagne and wrap our heads around it all. that night, billy and i looked out on the field, crammed with press and littered with celebratory confetti. we reflected on the past twelve months. it may have been the best time ever to move to seattle. the year seattle became a city of winners again. we were going to the super bowl in nyc/nj. what a crazy, unforgettable feeling.
a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity was presented to me last week to go to new york city and attend the super bowl with billy as a guest of the organization. i jumped on board, and after figuring out how to pack for all sorts of weather, formal events, parties, and the game we were on our way. it all started with complimentary cookies at the airport at 7am last thursday morning, a private charter plane that flew family/staff to newark, buses that picked us up right from the runway as we deboarded the plane, and a trip directly to times square where we stayed for the weekend in nyc.
we spent the next few days in the city, exploring, taking in the sites and the atmosphere of the pending game. we caught up with dear friends of ours that we never get to see, being on the west coast now. billy caught up with old co-workers at various nfl events and i took advantage of the cocktails and hors d’oeuvres :) i doubt that we could have packed anymore into the days leading up to the super bowl. every moment held more excitement than the last.
and then the day came. everyone was finally able to sleep in a bit, grab a dunkin donuts fix (since we don’t have them dunkins here in seattle), and grab a train to new jersey to catch our bus into metlife stadium. the group of friends we’ve formed, made up of seahawks staff members and significant others, banded together the entire weekend. we took it all in with our jaws dropped, adrenaline pumping, and nervous pits in our stomach. everyone made sure their cell phone calls were kept to a minimum to conserve battery. phone photos were key.
we saw subway’s jared. bill clinton winked at me from his stadium suite. steven tyler walked by our group and said “nice 12s.” one of my friends stood face to face with bruce springsteen for a second on her way into the stadium. and in between all that, fans were waving their freak flags. one dude even crafted his entire costume from skittles. we were “all in.” the 12s.
we couldn’t have cheered louder during the entire game. epic play after epic play, bruno mars, fireworks, percy harvin (that run!), russell wilson, the legion of boom, and pete carroll all led us, the 12th man, to a point of disbelief, tears, shock, a victory and the greatest celebration of our lives.
the seattle seahawks won the super bowl. for the first time in franchise history. it was a moment none of us will ever forget. and as if that wasn’t enough, the party was just getting started. pete carroll, russell wilson, paul allen, the lombardi trophy, and freakin macklemore came on stage right in front of us at the after party. we met and danced with the mayor of seattle, ed murray. paul allen jammed out with his band. russell and pete said a few words. billy and i held up macklemore’s knee when he came out into the crowd.
how do i explain that shaky feeling, the happiness, the overwhelming joy we all felt sunday in that stadium atmosphere, sunday night, and in the wee hours of monday morning?! it’s a feeling that you’re the luckiest, just to be a tiny part of something so much bigger than you. it was a celebration that we were taking part in in new jersey & new york city, that the city of seattle rioted over that night, and that the nation tuned into on television on a record-breaking level. all i could do was stand there in the crowd at the game and at the party, acknowledge my continual feelings of unworthiness, and be so grateful that this life of mine had led to that night. it was the ultimate surreal experience.
thank you to the incredible organization that allowed me to tag along. thank you for some of the greatest days of my life. thank you for the opportunity of a lifetime. thank you for creating a culture that i am so proud to be a part of. can’t wait to join the city of seattle and thousands of 12s today in the madness again at the parade and in the stadium at the rally. so happy for the team, the staff, the seattleites, the fans, and everyone who waited for this for so long.
what a victory. what a year. what a life.