How Does America View The Seahawks? Interesting Mixed Results
As the Hawks head towards a Super Bowl collision in New York with the Denver Broncos, it appears there are mixed results for how the rest of the country views Seattle.
Living in the Pacific Northwest, it's hard to not see the blue and green everywhere. Parties, jerseys, rallies and other fan celebrations are everywhere. But how does the rest of the country see Seattle, and view this upcoming game?
This Super Bowl is fast becoming an "us-against-the-world" event for the Hawks and their fans. Even a Seattle Newspaper columnist wrote about it January 9th. Larry Stone of the Seattle Times said:
'a different narrative is developing for those who reside outside the Seahawks’ sphere of sycophancy. These same players who are so revered locally are regarded, in some quarters, as cocky, boastful prima donnas."
He pointed to a Washington Post article written by Norman Chad that same week that included the following line:
“Nobody on the Seahawks just makes a play and goes back to the huddle. They are a chirping, preening lot of look-at-me-I’m-the-baddest-man-on-the-planet showboaters.”
Stone goes on to say Hawks fans should be proud of the fact the team has ascended enough they've become a team people love to hate. He says the Seahawks would probably not want it any other way.
Another story popped up over the weekend, from Washington Post write (and former Seattle resident) Reid Wilson. In a piece entitled "America Hates the Seahawks," Reid claims the relative 'youth' of Seattle sports franchises and lack of long-time traditional rivals (due to geography) has hurt their national popularity. Reid, who good-naturedly said the Hawks were robbed in the Super Bowl against the Steelers said this:
'The so-called rivalry between the Seahawks and the 49ers, which the booth announcers will advertise endlessly when the two teams meet in the NFC championship this weekend, is a much more recent development. The 49ers are more traditionally rivals of the Dallas Cowboys and other, older NFL teams."
Reid included an interesting Facebook map of the U.S. courtesy of the website Deadspin.com that showed (prior to the NFC Championship) what parts of the country were rooting for what team. Based upon Facebook choices, poll results and surveys from the social media outlet, you can see what parts of the country were rooting for Seattle or the Niners. See map at bottom of story. A similar map for the Broncos - Patriots game showed nearly a 50/50 split.
A look back to the 2005 Super Bowl between Pittsburgh and Seattle by ESPN reveals the Ford Field crowd in Detroit was largely a partisan Steeler crowd.
However, on the flip side, Seattle did pretty well in a Harris Poll from last fall that rated the most popular teams in the NFL. The Hawks came in 12th, up from 27th in 2012 and 31st in 2011. No doubt winning and more national exposure led to that climb. The most popular NFL Teams top 5 was (again) Cowboys, Packers, Broncos, Giants and Patriots. The Hawks NFC West foes came in at 8th, San Francisco, Cardinals tied for 16th, and the Rams 3rd from last.
Interestingly, when Manning left the Colts, they dropped from #6 to 19th. They had been #2 when Peyton was still leading them.
Also, A Yahoo sports story from last year at this time shows Seattle QB Russel Wilson had the 2nd best selling jersey in the NFL, behind the fellow Hawks fans love to hate, Colin Kaepernick of the 49'rs. RGIII came in third, followed by Adrian Peterson of the Vikings and Peyton Manning of the Broncos rounding out the top five.
Figures have not yet been released for 2013-14, but reports indicate Wilson has stayed in the top 2 or 3 nationally.
So while it appears the Seahawks have made great strides in gaining national exposure and respect, they will most likely keep the fervent us-against-the-world mentality when they head to Giants Stadium for the Super Bowl February 2nd. (Pictured below is the map from Deadspin.com-the blue areas are where a majority of fans were pulling for Seattle vs. Niners in NFC Championship).