So, while they’re cleaning house, and doing some much needed image upgrades, how about addressing one last overlooked part of the team?
For all it’s beauty and elegance, our home field is probably the most sterile environment in the NFL. The walls are bare. The grounds surrounding the stadium are empty. The floor is simple concrete – easy to clean, but not helping the overall ambience. On one wall there is a huge display of the state High School football programs – nice – but has nothing to do with the team. The only things you see while wandering around the concourses are vendors hawking wares (usually that also have nothing to do with football at all) and concessions.
Without the fans wearing various items featuring the Seahawks logo, you’d be hard pressed to know just what football team plays there.
Obviously, the facility isn’t just for pro football. It has hosted international soccer matches, college football games, and other sundry events, but ignoring the capitalistic name, it the home of the Seahawks. It was purchased using public money for that specific purpose, it wouldn’t exist without our NFL team, and it’s high time it looks like a place where the Seahawks call it their home.
Never mind the fact that previous management seemed to be embarrassed about the team’s past.
I’m also not going to get into other aspects of the facility that would make the fan’s experience a bit better. Lord knows, enough have been written about high concession prices, lack of escalators, and other conveniences.
Where is our history? Where are the statues of Steve Largent? Where are the murals of our glory days of the 80s? Where are the pictures, posters, memorabilia all celebrating the team? There certainly is enough blank wall space for it. Why isn’t there anything about the fans? Bios and displays of our ring of honor members? There is a lot of lip service being paid about getting the old time fans back into the fold, why not make more than an the effort of boosting season ticket sales?
When visiting teams come to our stadium, there should be no place safe for them to retreat to that doesn’t remind them where they are playing. Stadiums are supposed to have tradition. Stadiums are supposed to have an unmistakable aura about them. A mystique enveloping them. From the moment a fan steps onto the stadium grounds, until the moment he leaves, he should be surrounded by the team like a nice warm blanket on a cold day.
Our own players need to be reminded of what they are playing for. Not just the paychecks they are cashing every payday. They have to be shown what real winning tradition is, not just having the ability to afford spinner rims and Armani suits. They have to be shown that there is something to play for – the ability to have their legacy live on long after they leave. To not only have the obligatory “I love me” display at home, but to aspire to have someplace they can have their grandkids visit to see them celebrated in a very public way. To leave their mark on the world and not just in some dusty record book or stat sheet.
Right across the street there is plenty of visible reminders of another sport’s legacy – yet our side of the street is noticeably barren in any celebration or deification at all. It’s bad enough that the stadium was renamed for a conglomerate with enough deep pockets to pay for it’s own legacy, let’s see the attempt to honor those that went before us.
After 20 years without a playoff victory, it’s all we have. Who knows, maybe the old disgruntled fans of yesteryear might find some rekindling of interest.
And perhaps the players might gain a better connection to their adopted community.
Glenn Geiss writes the Fan Noise column for Seahawks.NET every week. Feel free to send him feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.