Take a deep breath, Seattle sports fans, and let it all sink in. All the redemption; all the serendipity; all the glory. This really happened. It wasn’t a dream. Our loyal fan base recently experienced what is undoubtedly the greatest weekend in Seattle sports history to date, and we are now a city of champions.
As the calendar flipped from January 31 to February 1 to February 2, 2014, so too flipped over a decade of misery for Seattle sports fans. After having both Super Bowl XL and our beloved Sonics stolen from us, and with the Mariners being one of only two MLB franchises to never win a pennant, Seattle justifiably led Forbes’ list of America’s Most Miserable Sports Cities in 2013.
But on this fateful weekend in 2014, a trifecta of redemptive forces converged over the New York tri-state area, shattering Seattle’s cocoon of devastating losses and marking the beginning of a new era; one in which we are the victors, and we force ourselves into the national conversation.
The Seattle Seahawks are Super Bowl champions after demolishing the favored Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. Sonicsgate director Jason Reid, producer Adam Brown and cinematographer Ian Connors were lucky enough to already be in New York City premiering a short football doc titled Mr. Irrelevant. We couldn’t be in NY and let this once in a lifetime experience pass us by, so we busted out the credit cards and pulled the trigger on some StubHub Super Bowl tickets just three hours before the game.
Within five minutes of walking into MetLife stadium, we ran into Duff McKagan of Guns N’ Roses and Softy from KJR, a positive omen for the game and a reminder that we’re all in this fight together.
As we all know, the 12th Man took its legendary vocal chords on the road, proving that our fan-created home field advantage extends to a neutral site contest. The 12s were fired up and rocking the house from the opening kick. The crowd noise caused a fumbled snap that led to a safety on the first play a record 12 seconds in, setting the tone for a flustered Peyton Manning and the rattled Broncos offense on their way to a 43-8 drubbing at the hands of the Seahawks.
The celebration in New York with our fellow 12s was something we will remember forever. It felt like “we” had all accomplished this together; not just the players, but all of us just as Gary Payton said about the Sonics’ run to the 1996 NBA Finals in his Sonicsgate interview.
We partied all night in NY, and when our flights landed back in Seattle on Wednesday, an estimated 700,000 fans had filled the streets to celebrate the Seahawks’ victory and its inarguable cultural value that united our region. Not since the Sonics championship parade in 1979 has the Northwest felt such unabated pride and joy, as the greatest sports fans in the world let loose a sea of elated emotion built up from years of frustration and heartbreak. This is a feeling they can never take away from us. This is our Super Bowl 48 Championship.
Immediately after stepping off the plane, Jason Reid went on ESPN Outside The Lines to discuss how our Seahawks victory would help continue momentum to bring an NBA team back to Seattle:
Even before the Super Bowl victory, the previous two nights in New York were also filled with long awaited celebrations for Seattle sports fans.
On Saturday night, Seahawks left tackle Walter Jones was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Congrats Big Walt, and thanks for allowing us to experience your 13 years of true greatness in Seattle!
For Sonics fans, however, another highly anticipated event culminated on that Friday night. NBA commissioner David Stern stepped down after 30 years running the league, and thousands of Sonics fans celebrated his reign of terror coming to an end as the clock struck midnight.
The OKC Zombie Sonics happened to be playing across the bridge in Brooklyn that evening, and by all accounts the place was full of rowdy Sonics fans in town for the Super Bowl. During the national ESPN broadcast, Jeff Van Gundy went on an epic rant about the Sonics that earns him our respect for all time:
While there are plenty of other people who share the blame in the Sonics relocation saga — and you could argue that David Stern’s sins pale in comparison to local traitors Howard Schultz and Greg Nickels along with the lies of Clay Bennett — Stern was absolutely complicit in allowing the Sonics to be stolen away under his watch, and he has continually missed opportunities at redemption. Stern took a personal vendetta against state legislator Frank Chopp and used it to make an example out of Seattle while giving a telegraphed assist to his good buddy Clay for bailing him out on the Hornets situation post-Katrina.
Yes, the league’s marketing reach and financial bottom line grew massively under Stern’s tenure (with the help of a few guys named Magic, Bird, Jordan and LeBron), but he also set a dangerous precedent of growing fan discontent and allowing the owners’ escalating profit motive to outweigh the loyal fans and history that helped build his league in cities like Seattle.
Stern is gone! Play him off, Keyboard Cat:
We welcome new NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who will hopefully recognize the importance of putting a franchise back in America’s 12th largest market with 41 years of NBA history and the loudest sports fans in the country. Seattle has all the momentum with a new arena plan and wealthy ownership group ready to go. The ball is in your court, commissioner Silver.
To celebrate all of the above wins, we’ve reduced the price of our Sonicsgate DVDs on Amazon to just $5.99 for a limited time (down from $12.99). Grab your copy today and own a piece of history.
We’ve come so far and it feels so good. We vow to continue this fight until the first NBA game tips off at the new Sonics Arena with our 41-year history restored intact, complete with Gary Payton’s retired jersey hanging in the rafters.
Be sure to Tweet, Facebook and tell your friends to watch Sonicsgate: Requiem for a Team when it premieres on ESPN Classic March 14, 2014.
Bring Back Our Seattle SuperSonics! L.O.B., L.O.B., L.O.B.!!!