JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD The Seattle Seahawks and the Joint Base Lewis-McChord community have shared a warm relationship for many years, through lean and good times.
The Seahawks arrived on-base Tuesday during a tour to share the NFL franchises best times since Nov. 7, 1976, when it celebrated its first home victory in the Kingdome.
The Seahawks were crowned the National Football League Super Bowl XLVIII champions this year after defeating the Denver Broncos Feb. 2 at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands of East Rutherford, N.J.
To say thank you to their fans serving in the armed forces, the Seahawks came to JBLM to show off the teams first-ever Vince Lombardi Trophy.
The 2014 Seattle Seahawks 12 Tour is taking the Super Bowl championship trophy on a journey through the Northwest this summer; from Portland, Ore. to Anchorage, Alaska. Airmen transformed Hangar 9 on McChord Field into a 12th Man party zone to kick off the tour this week.
Were actually doing two tours this year, said Tony Ventrella, Seattle Seahawks digital media host. Its the end of the Heroes of the 12 Tour visiting military bases and the beginning of the 12 tour all in one day.
Ventrella, a 27-year Seattle TV sports reporter before joining the Seahawks in 2005, thanked Airmen and Soldiers for their military service and their long-time support as Seahawks fans. He invited Col. David Kumashiro, 62nd Airlift Wing commander, onstage to thank him and present a Seattle Seahawks 12 flag.
When looking at the Seahawks championship season, it is inspiring for us as service members to see that kind of performance, Kumashiro said. Like the Seahawks, the Airmen and the Soldiers you see here today are all about teamwork, commitment and dedication.
While the Lombardi trophy took center stage, the event brought a wealth of entertainment for JBLM service members. Sea Gals, Blitz the mascot and the Blue Thunder drumline band were there, chatting with the guests.
Soldiers and Airmen were visibly excited about the chance for an autograph from three Seahawks players.
Thunderous applause greeted linebacker Korey Toomer, cornerback DeShawn Shead and wide receiver Phil Bates as they entered the hangar. Toomer was drafted by Seattle in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL draft, while both Shead and Bates signed later that year as free agents.
Under a giant 12 flag that flapped in the wind, the three players sat on the stage, fielding questions before signing autographs and posing for photos with service members.
We appreciate you guys a lot, Shead said. You guys are a tremendous factor in our game. Without your support we honestly wouldnt be here today, and even Peyton Manning can tell you that.
As if the Sea Gals and Blue Thunder werent enough to keep autograph seekers amused while they waited in long lines, the Seahawks set up a bean-bag-toss game and unique photo opportunities. Fans took pictures inside an oversized, inflated football helmet or next to life-sized cutouts of popular players.
Service members took turns seeing how they physically matched up next to their professional athlete-heroes.
Ventrella challenged the 12th Man fans to prove they were still the loudest in the NFL, leading cheers that reverberated throughout the hangar. Despite a five-month rest for vocal cords since the big game, the military crowd couldnt push the sound meter to records beyond the 2.0 earthquake fans generated during Marshawn Lynchs famous beast quake run in 2011, or the Guinness Book World Record of 137.6 decibels recorded at Century Link Field in 2013.
Tuesday the fans in Hangar 9 clearly enjoyed the opportunity to cheer for the Seahawks once again and demonstrate the military communitys affection for the home NFL team that went all the way. Ventrella said the organizations feeling was mutual.
Its just the Seahawks way of sharing the success all of the fans helped bring, he said.