Skip navigation

Air Allen had Seahawks soaring happily to the Super Bowl

Associated Press

Dearborn, Mich. — It's Super having the Microsoft co-founder as your team owner.

The Seattle Seahawks travelled the 3, 780 kilometres to their first Super Bowl in Paul Allen-style Sunday, stretched out in the charter jet he bought for them years ago. Plenty of oversized, first-class seats for everyone.

Of course, other teams have similar rides. But do they also have a satellite television receiver on board? On this flight, it was picking up, among other things, CNN and an Arkansas-Kentucky college basketball game that Florence, Ky., native Shaun Alexander enjoyed when the Wildcats pulled out a narrow win.

"We do have it tough," Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said with a wry smile.

So tough, they have to endure not one, but four DVD players.

"This is the best I've ever traveled," said defensive end Bryce Fisher, a former Air Force officer and member of the St. Louis Rams. "We're not packed in like cattle."

Among the team's movie choices for the trip to play the Pittsburgh Steelers: "Wedding Crashers," "Hustle & Flow" and ... "Coming to America"?

The 1988 comedy starring Eddie Murphy as an African prince visiting New York City is a personal favorite of Alexander, the league MVP. Thus, it has become a personal favorite of all Seahawks on the road.

After all, why argue with seeing Prince Akeem discovering America for the ninth time in five months when you are 15-3 and in the Super Bowl — and the appeased Alexander is the NFL rushing king with 1,880 yards and a league-record 28 touchdowns?

"We were really enjoying the laughs," Alexander said. "All that is part of this experience."

The Steelers planned to arrive in Detroit on Monday, a day later than most Super Bowl teams have done it in the past.

During an early morning fan rally Sunday in front of Seattle's Qwest Field, many Seahawks such as defensive back Jimmy Williams filmed the scene and each other with video cameras.

And last week, 13th-year veteran Mack Strong began writing in a diary — "uh, a JOURNAL," the rugged fullback corrected — about his first and perhaps last Super Bowl experiences.

"We know this is one of those things where it could be like Dan Marino and you're only here once," he said.

The entire franchise is taking that approach.

The team invited every employee in its Kirkland, Wash., headquarters to the Super Bowl. The Seahawks also left 75 percent of their 17.5-per-cent Super Bowl ticket allotment — over 11,000 seats — for season-ticket holders to purchase.

The players' families arrive Thursday.

"Everyone's coming," vice president of administration and longtime NFL Super Bowl coordinator Gary Wright said last week. "We're doing this the right way."

That everyone included the "12th Man." The blue flag with a "12" in white, block numbers representing Seattle's rabid, title-starved fans was draped across the front of the team plane Sunday. And when the players arrived at their hotel 20 minutes west of Ford Field late in the afternoon, the "12th Man" flag was flying out front.

The colorful Sunday will yield to a normal work week for the Seahawks on Monday — at least on the field.

Holmgren said he will put his team through a light workout at the Detroit Lions' team facility at nearby Allen Park. Tuesday, a normal players' day off, he will not work them out before or after the circus-like Media Day at Ford Field.

Holmgren said the last time he had a team in the Super Bowl — Green Bay in 1998— "I practiced them hard on Tuesday. And I am not sure that was the right thing to do."

His Packers lost five days later to the underdog Denver Broncos.

Wednesday and Thursday are regular, full practices and Friday is a light workout, per the Seahawks' norm.

"Trying to keep them on somewhat of an even keel, given the surroundings," Holmgren said.

Unlike Pittsburgh, the Seahawks got much of their planning and implementation of the game plan done over four practice days last week at home. The Steelers were off for three days after winning the AFC and did not return to practice until Thursday.

Recommend this article? 4 votes

Back to top