In 2011, the Seattle Seahawks local market television rating was 21.8. In 2012 it was 28.3 and in 2013 it jumped to 38.6, which was fifth in the league, per SportsBusiness Daily.
Super Bowl XLVIII recorded 111.5 million viewers, good for the title of most watched TV show ever. Pete Carroll was voted the most popular coach in the NFL by the players this past season.
The list goes on and on.
What was once known as one of the most undesirable places to play football has arguably become the hottest destination.
Golden Tate showed interest in taking a discount to stay in Seattle, Michael Bennett DID take a discount to stay and Doug Baldwin practiced and trained with the team despite the uncertainty of his future contract.
If all of these examples have yet to identify the point I am trying to make, then perhaps this will: this past Tuesday, ESPN did a special two-hour broadcast from Seahawks Training Camp.
John Clayton, “The Professor” was there, Jon Gruden was there, Darren Woodson was there, and Kenny Mayne was there too. These are big names as far as sports broadcasting goes, and all of their attention was on our team.
I remember a few years ago watching SportsCenter, hoping to see something about a Seattle team.
Anything would have been enough, as long as we could get the smallest amount of national attention up here in the Pacific Northwest.
The Sonics were gone so I’d all but given up on the NBA, the Mariners never get any attention even when they have a good season (like this year), and then there were the Seahawks. Even following the Super Bowl XL, all I would hear about was the Dallas Cowboys or the New England Patriots.
But this offseason has been different — much different.
In fact, from my perspective, the Seahawks have been the most talked about team in the NFL this offseason.
From Sherman to Wilson, from Thomas to Beast Mode, our team has a number of personalities that the public has fallen in love with. I can’t remember the last time one team was given two-hour special by ESPN, and I know for fact that Seattle has never been given that opportunity.
In doing so, “The Worldwide Leader in Sports” wanted to display some of the best and most popular players hard at work.
There is a difference between a good player and popular player — according to jersey sales, Johnny Manziel is the NFL’s most popular player, but without having played a single snap, he’s far from the best.
Richard Sherman is both. With 20 interceptions in three seasons, it’s hard to argue that he is the best cornerback in the league.
But with his brash character purposely put on display for the whole nation to see, I believe Sherman is one of the — if not the — primary reasons why the Seahawks are now of the most popular teams in America.
Yes, there was the Super Bowl demolition of the Denver Broncos, yes there is the great play of the defense and Legion of Boom, yes there is Pete Carroll’s unique coaching style; but before all this was discovered by the average football fan, there was U Mad Bro?
Deion Sanders is a household name for two reasons: 1) He was the fastest, most talented lockdown corner of his time, and 2) He nicknamed himself Primetime, and talked the talk as much as he walked the walk.
Thanks to Richard Sherman’s mouth, the cameras have been brought to Seattle.
It may have started as a chance to see just exactly this young corner was and why he thought he could talk smack to Tom Brady. But it turned into America becoming familiar with the most talented roster in all of football; as the famous quote goes, “any press is good press,” and thanks to number 25, the press are now always in Seattle.