Seattle has Seahawks fever. Or at least a minor cold.

The Seattle Seahawks are actually a good team this year. They are going to the Super Bowl and may actually win. This is a first in team history. Huh.

It sort of crept up on me. In past years, the Seahawks have been pretty good, but not at the level they are playing this year. And prior to the playoffs I didn't really hear much about the Seahawks around town. The same thing happened a few years ago when the Mariners were legitimate World Series contenders (though it's unlikely we'll have to worry about that in the near future).

It seems that I'm more likely to run into Husky (UW) fans or Cougar (WSU) fans than Seahawk, Mariner, Storm, or Sonic fans. The Seahawks still appear to have the edge on the Fighting Saints, however.

The lack of sports fever may stem from the fact that the only national champions ship team from Seattle for the past decade or so is the Seattle Storm, who apparently have an awesome team, but a limited number of fans.

I think it has more to do with Seattle being a transient city, however. Unlike the great sports towns of New York, Chicago, Philadelphia or Boston, a large percentage of the population and potential fan base wasn't born here. Seattle has seen a huge influx of residents in the past decade. In fact, much of the history of Seattle has been marked by a boom and bust economy, with thousands people moving to Seattle when the economy was going strong, and thousands leaving when the economy sank. It's a history dominated by the timber industry, the Alaska Gold Rush, Boeing's early growth, WWII arms and equipment production, the growth, decline, growth, decline, growth, decline, and growth again of Boeing's jet production.

Ironically, the tech industry may have a mellowing affect on the economy. Seattle is no longer a one industry town. Microsoft, Amazon, and other tech companies employ thousands of residents, and can help off set some of the shock when Boeing has a down turn.

Further evening things out is the presence of Starbucks and the new Bio-Tech industry growing in Seattle.

Back to the main point, however, there really isn't much history in Seattle. There aren't as many family dynasties in Seattle as there are in eastern cities. Back east, there will be families with 3 or more generations of Yankee fans. The Mariners are too new to span generations in the same way. Even if they weren't, many of their potential fans did not grow up on the Mariners or the Seahawks. They grew up on other teams that they now watch on Satellite TV.

Until there is a critical mass of people and families that have been in Seattle for decades, and love their teams, and mark family events around them, and have followed them long enough to reminisce about them, Seattle will never be a great sport town.

But, seriously, Go Hawks.


Brian Kunath said...

No way, man! The Steelers are gonna trounce the Seahawks because of...ah, what do I care?

My old temporary home city, Raleigh, has something in common with Seattle. Very transient, with a high percentage of its population working in Research Triangle Park.

All the Panthers fans watch the games in caps and jersey's purchased at the mall, and they all have this pleasant, bemused look on their faces -- it's not the team they grew up with, but it'll do because it's fun! Not the same attitude you get at a Jets or Yankees game, where generations mark their worth based on the performance of their home team. You can get killed at a Yankees game. At a Panther's game, you just get sick at the Cinnabon concession.

Jon Clarke said...

"Thousands people moving to Seattle when the economy was going strong, and thousands leaving when the economy sank."

Kinda like you.