To the 12s


Welcome to Tuesdays with Richard on Thursdays, a weekly multimedia series featuring Seahawks All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman. Throughout the 2016 season, Richard will provide a unique and intimate glance at his life behind-the-scenes and on the field. This week, he shows some love to the 12s.

A few months before I was drafted by the Seahawks in 2011, there was an earthquake in Seattle. It came during a playoff game, and it was caused by more than 66,000 fans and one ridiculous, signature Marshawn Lynch run where he hit the Beast Mode button against the Saints and.…

Well, if you don’t remember, see for yourself.

Now, I wasn’t there, so I can’t tell you how loud it was in the stadium that night. But I’ve been there for every loud moment since, like in the third quarter of our 29–3 win over the 49ers in 2013, when the 12th Man came together and broke what at the time was the Guinness world record  for loudest crowd roar at a sports stadium. (Chiefs fans have since broken that record, but c’mon … you know we’ll get it back.)

But the moment I remember most came on January 10, 2015. We hosted the Panthers in the divisional round of the payoffs. In the fourth quarter, Kam Chancellor picked off a Cam Newton pass and took it back 90 yards for a touchdown to seal the win.

I mean, just listen….

Honestly, the video doesn’t even do it justice. It’s hard to describe what it’s like when the 12s erupt like that. But when they do — like they did when that ball hit Kam’s hands — it’s like when you forget to turn the radio down in your car. When you start it up the next morning the music blasts and the sound just smacks you in the face. It’s instantaneous.

The difference with the 12s is that it’s white noise, and you can’t turn it down. When you’re on the field in the middle of it, it’s like there’s a speaker inside your helmet and it’s on full blast. You can feel the sound — the energy, the electricity. It’s crazy.

Now, I want you to go back up to the video of Kam’s interception. Put your headphones on, turn the volume up as loud as it can go, hit play and close your eyes. I want you to feel how loud it is — then imagine being an opposing quarterback trying to communicate with 10 other guys on the field with that kind of noise in your ear.

Good luck.

It always energizes us as a defense when we see an offense struggling to communicate. You can feel the fans taking joy in seeing our opponents suffer, especially when they commit a false start and put the offense in a hole.

That’s what it means to be a part of the 12s. There’s really a sense of involvement and togetherness, and I think it unites the entire city because the fans are making a real impact. They’re a part of this team because they can literally change the game.

And we know how fortunate we are to have that kind of support. We recognize that there are teams in this league and in professional sports that struggle to sell tickets and to engage their fan bases.

Thankfully, we don’t have that problem because we have the best fans in sports.

We try to bring the same mentality to every game, whether it’s Week 2 or a playoff game in January, and the 12s do the same. They always bring it, no matter the situation.

In the Beastquake game, the Seahawks were the underdogs. That was the year when Seattle won the division at 7–9 and the Saints, who were 11–5, had to travel for the Wild Card game because they hadn’t won their division. A lot of people said that that wasn’t fair to the Saints. Some even said that the Seahawks didn’t belong in the playoffs at all because of their record.

But you know what? At the end of the day, no matter what your record is, football is football. And whether you’re 7–9 and you’re the underdog, or you’re the big dog other teams are trying to knock off, you still gotta line up and play.

This year’s playoff run will be no different. It’s been a fun, interesting and kind of crazy season. We miss Earl Thomas, but he’s still here with us. We miss Tyler Lockett, but he’s with us, too. Their fingerprints are all over this team — and their impact is still felt — even though they’re not on the field. We’ve lost a handful of guys this season to injury, and we miss each one of them.

But at the end of the day, we’re confident in the guys we are putting out there. We’re confident that we have what it takes to make another Super Bowl run. We’re confident that we can make big plays and keep giving the 12s new reasons to go crazy.

Elaine Thompson/AP Images

It’s the playoffs. Most teams have already gone home to start their off-season. There are only a few teams left — the best of the best. And we’re not ready to start our off-season just yet. We still have work to do.

So to the 12s: Thanks for all the love and support. Keep doing what you do, and we’ll try to give you as many chances as possible during the postseason to test the sound barrier.

It’s the playoffs.

So stay loud, and enjoy the show.