The Seattle Seahawk fan, otherwise known as the 12th Man, should be worried about losing Super Bowl 48 in New Jersey tomorrow-and it has nothing to do with the Denver Broncos.
The Seahawk fan should be worried that, they too, may have an out-of-touch owner. An owner who may not get that the 12th Man is the most honest symbol-if not the only symbol that doesn’t lie to the common fan in sports. By taking it upon himself to raise the beloved flag, he’s messing with an unwritten social rule, perhaps even a universal energy balance in a country longing for some semblance of economic equality and fairness.
Whether he meant to or not, by taking it upon himself to raise the 12th Man flag, Seattle billionaire owner Paul Allen marked his territory during the NFC Championship game. The Seahawk fan fake cheered in reaction and was probably thinking to himself, “Are we becoming the Cowboys? Or will this just curse us like the Cubs?”
Mr. Allen should seriously consider creating a 12th Man Committee: an assembly of season ticket holding fans in charge of appointing the responsibility of raising the flag to a rotating group of individuals that respects and understands what the 12th Man is all about. Will there be corruption? Sure! But at least there’s dignity in common man corruption-perhaps you’ve heard of The Sopranos? All due respect to Mr. Allen, but win or lose in the Super Bowl, I guarantee you that the last person such a committee would ever consider appointing would be a guy reportedly worth 15 billion. Keepin’ it real to keep it real.
If Allen has enough disposable income to throw towards the possibility of leasing an SL Flying Saucer, what makes Seattle fan ignore the idea that purchasing the Seahawks itself was nothing more than a PR stunt? What did he really have to lose when buying a pro football franchise with a loyal fan base?
He invested in a football team in 1997, which was like buying a Van Gogh before he committed suicide. Now the piece no longer hangs up in your den. The piece is seen by everyone in a fancy new museum-known as CenturyLink Field.
And until the Seahawks became Super Bowl contenders in 2005, like most respectable owners, Allen stayed in the comforts of his luxury suite. Until it was championship game time. No Tiny Tim’s. No Archie Bunker’s. Not even a soccer player! Commander-in-chief raised the flag and the Seahawks eventually finished second.
But this issue really isn’t about winning and losing as much as it is reminding Mr. Allen, cordially, that beyond the rolling hills of cash, reality, down here in Hooverville, still remains.
Fans of a sports franchise should demand that their owner pays his bills, hires a general manager to run the team, and stays out of everyone’s way. Steinbrenner is the exception to the rule because he demanded excellence from everybody and he paid his players handsomely for it. Big Stein’s MO was holding everyone accountable and the word “championship” was thrown around like eggs at a Bieber slumber party. Jerry Jones just loves being a star. I never quite understood what “he must like to hear himself talk” meant until I became acquainted with the Cowboys owner. Remember the Dallas owner of the ’70’s when they were becoming “America’s Team”? Neither do I.
The tradition the Seahawks have with the 12th Man is unparalleled, but it walks the fine line between charming and gimmicky. When Mr. Allen raises the flag, it’s not like he’s channeling Caesar, but it’s certainly not Mara, Rooney or Kraft-like, either.
Thanks for keeping the Seahawks in The Great Northwest, Mr. Allen. Now let the fans have unequivocal control of what’s theirs: The raising of the 12th Man flag.