Photos by Steve Shay
Hundreds of fans attended the Seahawks send off rally on 188th St. in SeaTac Friday, Jan. 4., near Valley Ridge Park. Pictured are three of the four buses that took Seahawks players to the airport as they head to Washington, D.C. to battle the Redskins for the playoff game two days later. CLICK ON PHOTOS ABOVE FOR SLIDESHOW or click photos in gallery below.

SLIDESHOW: Exuberant Seahawks fans align 188th St. in SeaTac to cheer team buses heading to airport

SLIDESHOW: Click on photo for more, or click on photos in gallery below

The Seattle Seahawks players were cheered on with screams and high spirits Friday, Jan. 4, by hundreds of fans in blue and green giving them a send off. Four airport-bound team buses with the players drove west along 188th St. in SeaTac just off of I-5 across from Valley Ridge Park. The team was off to our nation's capital for their playoff game against the Washington Redskins Sunday, Jan.6., at FedExField.

The fans wore plenty of gear, including jerseys, helmets, and pins, many waving #12 signs to honor the boisterous 12th man that seemed to help the team make it to the playoffs with audience-induced adrenaline, while their ruckus often caused the opposing teams to have trouble hearing their own plays called. Mayor Mike McGinn declared January 4 "Blue Friday", although Seattle fans hoped it would be the Redskins who get the blues.

Two official Seahawk cheerleaders, or "Sea Gals", Charlotte and Shelly, helped raise the volume by frantically waving their blue and green pom-pons. Despite roomers of cat-fights and rivalries among cheerleaders we sometime hear about in the media, they said they are the best of friends, and volunteered to come to the send off together.

"We really do have the best fans in the NFL," said Shelly, referring to the 12th man. "We're very, very lucky."

Charlotte said it is "almost impossible" to describe the excitement on the field during the games.

"You can feel everyone's energy on the field and that's why the 12th man is so important," said Charlotte. "The fans make such a huge difference."

Jason Billingsley came in from Issaquah and draped the Washington State flag around his shoulders like a caped crusader. He advocates all area sports.

"I wear the flag with state pride," he said. "I do this at 'Bring Back the Sonics' rallies, too, all of them. My friends and I here want to send a message to the mayors that we're fans of everything."

Super-fan and season ticket holder Susan Frost of Des Moines came with her neighbor, Shelley Sagmo. They painted a sign to wave at the passing buses, and other fans. She wore the Hawks jersey and jacket, also a white wristwatch with the Hawks logo on the face, and a cap with many players' autographs. She left one of her favorite items, her autographed Russell Wilson football, at home.

"Century Link Field is so loud and vibrant," she said. "I recommend everybody go there even if you don't have a ticket. Be a part of the activities."

So does Frost have a second-favorite team?

"No," she replied quickly, but did add her least favorites. "We didn't like the Steelers or the 49ers."

Robert Mariani of West Seattle toted his young sons, Nick & Nathan, and their buddies, Konrad & Ethan Zarnick. The Marianis are Seahawks season ticket holders, and were doing something nobody else at the send off did. They weren't just spectators. They took out a football and passed it around while waiting for the buses.

We encourage our readers to comment. No registration is required. We ask that you keep your comments free of profanity and keep them civil. They are moderated and objectionable comments will be removed.