You can say a lot of negative things about the Seattle Seahawks right now, but the reputation of the Twelve Army remains intact. Despite Seattle going 5-15 over the last 20 games, this Sunday's game against non-rival Jacksonville is sold out, and a packed house of 67,000+ will be screaming their heads off for three hours or more.
From the very beginning, the Northwest has had a rapturous love affair with the Seahawks. Except for the 1992-2001 fallow period, the Seahawks have had no trouble filling the Kingdome or Qwest Field on a consistent basis, with the team enjoying a tremendous home-field advantage year-in and year-out.
Compare that to Jacksonville... Despite having a team that has made the playoffs 6 times in 14 seasons, they can only draw 46,000 fans to a 77,000 seat stadium. Despite racking up an all-time record of 120-108, the front office expects every home game this season to be blacked out. Despite having a dynamic star running back in Maurice Jones-Drew, nothing seems to be able to get the locals to come out to Alltel Stadium. Things are so bad there is not only talk of relocation, but chatter about drafting Tim Tebow solely as a gate draw, and moving some home games to Orlando.
Can you imagine the Seahawks needing to move home games to Portland or Vancouver, BC to sell tickets? Can you imagine the front office feeling like they had to draft a local college standout just to fend off the need to move the team? No, you can't.
I can't say I know enough about the Jacksonville area to diagnose the problems, but it's clear that the Jaguars could use a taste of what a real NFL crowd looks like. They'll get one on Sunday, that's for sure.
You don't need me to tell you this, but I will anyway. The Twelve Army needs every foot soldier at full volume this Sunday. The Seahawks may win... They may lose. But they will NOT lose because the 12th Man allowed David Garrard the easy opportunity to audible. They will NOT lose because Jacksonville was comfortable enough to never jump offsides. Throughout a fairly shitty 20-game stretch, Seahawks fans have still filled Qwest and made life very uncomfortable for the enemy. Once more, with feeling, ladies and gents... and we might just be the difference between 2-3 and 1-4. We could be the difference between more meaningful games and looking forward to 2010.
No Jaguars crowd has ever affected the outcome of a game. Not only can Seattle's fans do that on Sunday... They might just help save the season too.