Shannon's Seahawks memories, thoughts and much more...

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May the Wave’

 be with you 

By Mike Moore – Sports Editor

October 13th 1985 -- Kingdome, Seattle, WA

Note -- the record for The Wave happened this very day with 28 full rotations around the dome un-interrupted -- Shannon Love

Seattle – Say what you will about The Wave, that sea of flexing fan-flesh that rolls around the Kingdome on Seahawks game days.  Say it’s motivation for the players – morale-booster for the players – morale-booster for the friendlies in blue shirts and morale-buster for the other guys.  Say it’s a method of keeping the fans interested in the game, making them a part of it.  Or, say it’s a waste of time.

Say what you will.  The Wave has some power.  Sunday during the third quarter of the Seahawks’ game with the Atlanta Falcons, it caused Falcon quarterback David Archer to abort, in mid-count, at least a dozen plays and botch several others after the snap because of the din.

It caused Seahawks coach Chuck Knox, in quest of quiet, to flap his arms so energetically that he nearly took off.

It caused the Sea Gals, those pom pom-packing pretties with the well-oiled hip joints, to commit the cardinal cheerleading sin of asking fans not to get any louder.

And it caused Atlanta couch Dan Henning to do a not-so-slow burn. “The players should control the game and not the fans,” hissed Henning, who said he was “disappointed” that the officials allowed Seattle ’s 12th man to completely dominate the game, even shutting it down for nearly six minutes during the third quarter with its noise pollution.

Henning’s disappointment was doubtless aggravated by the fact that his Falcons behind14-9 and in possession of the ball at the time The Wave became to deafening for the continuation of hostilities – lost their sixth straight game without a victory in 1985.  “The situation with the crowd noise has to be handled by the officials,” he said.  “I was disappointed that after six minutes of crowd noise, they (referees) called us for illegal procedure.”

The tide started to come in following the Hawks’ go-ahead touchdown with 6:28 to go in the third quarter, when a scrambling Dave Krieg found Charlie Young at the back of the end zone from 32 yards out.  Atlanta took over and immediately tore off two big chunks of real-estate – 15 yards on a pass interference call against the Seahawks’ Terry Taylor and 17 more on Archer’s pass to Billy “White Shoes” Johnson.

The Wave began; it seemed as a note of encouragement for the Seattle defense, which had been surrendering yardage to Archer’s passing and Gerald Riggs’ running all afternoon.

 As the tumult built, Riggs was stuffed up the middle by Joe Nash.  Atlanta was called for delay of game on the next play as Archer failed to shriek an audible through the noise before the 30 second clock ticked off.  Then, the Falcons were called for holding, negating a 7 yard Riggs run and sticking Atlanta with a second-and-25 at their own 33.

By this time, The Wave had become the Waves – three or four of them following each other around in brisk circles, each bringing with it an increase in volume.  The refs joined Know and many players, both Seahawk and Falcon in gesturing for peace, and were greeted with loud boos.

The cheering returned, even more ferocious, and forced the Falcons into the procedure penalty – which, in turn, forced Henning’s bile to rise.  When Atlanta finally punted, the Falcons were facing a fourth and 27.  That wasn’t the end of it.  The leather-lunged pyrotechnics of the 60,430 vocal overachievers in the stands resulted in several more stoppages of play.  None of them, though, discomforted the Falcons enough to keep them from turning two fumble recoveries and a muffed punt attempt into a 26-21 lead.

Not unexpectedly, The Wave was put on hold and the fans were on their best behavior during the 18 play Seahawk drive that resulted in Krieg’s game winning TD pass to Paul Skansi.  There was nary a referee’s time out to quell any disturbance as the Hawks drove 86 yards in 4:51 – proving that the 12th man not only knows how to Wave, but when to, as well.  Now, if only a few of them blocked as well as they bellow.  In light of the continued shoddy play by his offensive line, Knox might be coerced into signing a few of them up. 

And how about the Wave today,

does it have a place?  

By Shannon Love

Copyright © November 8, 2005

In the summer of 1976, Seattle was a community thrown together, drafted and baptized with fans near and far. Our common bond, Seattle had a voice and would be recognized around the Nation. The first several years there were growing pains and misplaced energy -- arguments were common in the beginning. I recall fans tumbling down isles fighting over what team had the right to cheer or move the ball.  There weren’t any large consensus of Seahawk fans; it was professional football in our city for the first time. Before 1976, if you liked football, it was another City and team you grew up rooting for and most fans would show up rooting and sporting their jackets and ball caps for other teams, and not the Seahawks.

I was 19 years old on that first game back on Sunday, September 12th 1976; I knew nothing about football, other then Joe Namath wore white shoes and wore pantyhose on TV.  Unclear about rules and strategies, why coaches did what they did, why and how the crowd would react in various circumstances.  I was just as fascinated with the crowd’s behavior as I was the game of football.  There was a flow to the game, the game and the crowd had rules. 

My Father, Judge, Melvin V. Love, had been following the development of the possibilities of being awarded a professional sport franchise for the city of Seattle if we built a sports arena to host the teams.  Political struggles in the community were strongly opposing diverting long term taxpayer’s money to erect the Kingdome.  My Father believed it was the right thing to do for the cities growth and foresaw it becoming a reality and positioned himself through an agent to purchase 24, season ticket seats for the Seahawks in the end-zone when they first became available, (later years it would grow to 45).   It was his way to bring the family together and get involved. (Today I have 12 seats in the end-zone, passed down to me through the family, and can say that I have attended every home game since that first day).

For years we as a family got involved, My Mother, Pamela Love would paint full size posters, Melvin coming up with the slogans and Pamela the artwork.  Myself, I would learn to lead cheers and answer cheers from the opposite end-zone where “Bill the Beerman” resided.  It felt like our civic duty to bring the posters every week to inspire the players and the fans alike to rise to the occasion.

We came together as a crowd within several years building a strong bond as a home team.  We were wining games that other teams felt we were supposed to lose to them.  Opposing players, it riled them to no end, they talked about it in the papers of the nuisance it was to come here and play us.  Jack Patera was running trick plays notably with Jim Zorn and Efren Herrera -- “They play High school foot ball up there,” said, Raiders coach, Tom Flores.  It was exciting fast paced football and we went nuts for it. We bought in and united.

Denver’s owner, Pat Bowlen complained so much that he was instrumental in having the rules changed on crowd noise limitations.  Fans (home team offense) were penalized if they were too loud and were asked by the refs, and non-convincing players waving their hands to calm, quiet down, and if fans did not lessen the noise, our Seattle team was penalized in lost yards – this only happened a few times and never has been a factor again.

We have never been as loud since; we gave up after all those years of preparing for games taking aspirin before and after games, going to work on Monday with no voices.  It was work and the league gave us an excuse to sit down and be spectators and not be involved with the outcome of the game.  That was the point, it was said the fans with their ear piercing noise should not alter a NFL game, and by all rights we did.  I think what we do now is different in terms of crowd noise; the level of noise is more, “hey I’m having fun and this is what we are supposed to be doing, right”?  Back then it was for one reason only, get the ball back.  With false starts, sacks, turnovers, expired time clocks, not allowing the opposing quarterbacks to change plays at the line, all while the defense was on the field, we rested ourselves on offense.

We knew how to bring it back in the day.  We became an instrument; we knew when to cheer, and when to be silent.  We had the rhythm of The Wave rolling around -- good ones had three or four Waves at the same time in unison. The record for the Kingdome was 28 times around the dome on October 13th 1985.  It has not been matched to this day.

 What Happened?

You hear people talking about the Kingdome, and the Glory days of the Wave, why don’t we use it now they ask?  This Seattle crowd needs to finds its own identity, were in our third year together at Qwest Field, and it takes time to develop chemistry and communication amongst the fans.  This crowd is not the same as it once was, the knowledge is no longer there.

When they blew up the kingdom, it was like having a new expansion team in place.  Two years at Husky stadium, then off to Qwest field to start new again.  Nobody (the fans) would know anyone sitting next to them, all seating assignments would be juggled; I would guess that 70% of the fans from the “glory days of the 80’s” never made it through the transition through two stadium changes. I see it all over again, a City learning how to watch and interact in a positive constructive force.  We are a younger crowd today then in our earlier years of mostly mature and corporate attendance -- now as our fan base grows again,  we find ourselves in different times, the NFL has changed, the game has changed, our stadium has changed (out-door theater) and most important, we have changed.

Long ago in the “hey days of the 80’s,” Seattle was one of the most feared places to play because of the home team fans -- the 12th man was born, Chuck Knox would have the number 12 retired in honor of the fans for their commitment and ability to literally change the tempo of games in the Kingdome.  The fans were connected, they communicated from both goal posts and around the stadium.  The Wave was heard around the globe.

Some say it was born form a “Yell king” Rob Weller at Husky stadium along with band leader, Bill Bissell on October 31st 1981 and re birthed in the Kingdome as we know it as today.  Others will claim it was "Krazy George" two weeks earlier on October 15th 1981, on National TV at the American League League playoff series between the Oakland  A's and the New Your Yankees. 

The sprit of the wave was born in Seattle under the roof of the King dome in 1977, known as The Blue Wave.

Reasons for no success with the wave, we have outgrown it, or forgot about it, lost the meaning of it. But most important you can’t do the wave when everyone is standing the whole game. You miss the ripple effect, from sitting to standing then sitting. The Wave accentuates the focal point of explosion of decibels in a rhythm that everyone can follow.  It’s also about the timing and flow.  I believe most have excused the Wave as old hat, they don’t see it functioning on all cylinders, and have no ideal why it worked or no longer works.   The wave will come from the upper decks with minds of their own.

Folks dismiss it as we no longer have “Bill the Beerman”, in the stands to lead us in The Wave.  But is was much more then just one leader, you also had many others that were located around the stadium, I called them spark plugs that would lead their sections in response to “Bill the Beerman” or others that would get up and lead a cheer when Bill was not in attendance.  People in the crowds need to have a vision, a game plan, instructions if you will – This was “Bill the Beermans” biggest contribution in teaching how to impalement cheers in unison.

"I give (fans) permission to do what they want to do," the Beerman said. "I say it's OK to cheer, and it's better if we cheer altogether. It's as simple as that."

Today’s Seahawk fans have something you will never see at any of the other Cities stadiums.  The fans in the South End Zone stand up the entire game.  As the game advances the whole stadium is standing, now that is something. What can we do with that?  There is a lot of enthusiasm on the South side, where is it going?  I believe the team is better, and I believe the fans are making large strides in becoming connected and a playoff crowd to be reckoned with. 

 You need field generals throughout the stadium for balanced communication and continued commitment. None of this in the past just happened, the excitement and participation that occurred on many levels was dedication and natural unmentioned love amongst the fans throughout the Dome.

"We need to become a play off crowd unrecognized as ever before" -- Shannon Love


Today there is Seattle's Biggest Sports fan in-attendance for the last 15 years, leading cheers from the South end-zone,  "Big Lo, at 6' 8" tall and weighing over 400 pounds has his own action figure.

There are so many reasons to love a team, with winning or losing records, it’s our team and we earn what we invest.  

We learn the game, the intricacies the more we buy in, the more we receive in pain and joy and you can not have one without the other.  Someone will ask me what I think about the Seahawks this year, and I pause and say,

  “You can’t ask me, for 30 years I think we are going to make it to the next level, I’m not thinking clearly”.  

But that is the fun, believing, that this is the year, I alone will make the difference, I will get involved, I will paint the poster, put my suit on, paint my face I will project volumes of decibels to alter the opposing offenses – I will talk positively at the water cooler on Monday mornings, I am a fan -- Shannon Love

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