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Public announcer has seen Seahawks highs and lows
He is beyond clichés when describing his career.
Instead, Randy Rowland, who has served as the Seahawks’ public-address announcer since 1990, prefers analogies when describing his tenure with the team.
“It’s a little like surfing,” he said.
“Sometimes the surfs up and then it goes flat,” Rowland said.
He has seen both during his tenure with the franchise. Rowland was in the Kingdome for Seattle’s disastrous 1992 season when scored just 140 points, which is the fewest by an NFL team in a 16-game regular season, en route to a franchise-worst 2-14 record.
“When you’re 13-3, it’s just absolutely thrilling,” Rowland said. “I think good fans are the ones that paint their faces blue when we’ve won two games.”
Thirteen years later, Rowland witnessed then-coach Mike Holmgren choreograph the league’s highest-scoring offense as the Seahawks finished 13-3 and advanced to their first Super Bowl. Rowland’s favorite memory of that season was the team’s dominating 34-14 win against Carolina to earn Seattle’s first conference title.
Another highpoint for Rowland was witnessing standout cornerback Richard Sherman tip a pass intended for San Francisco wide receiver Michael Crabtree that was intercepted by linebacker Malcolm Smith to secure the Seahawks’ 23-17 win Jan. 19 in the NFC championship game.
Rowland’s other favorite moment occurred when wide receiver Steve Largent, arguably the best player in franchise history, was inducted into the team’s “Ring of Honor.” Largent, who played with Seattle from 1976-89, was the team’s first Hall of Famer.
“They’re just a wonderful, wonderful organization,” Rowland said. “It’s been a great association for a lot of years.”
And one he never anticipated.
Rowland worked in broadcasting from 1975-88. He was the sports director for KING radio and hosted a Seahawks’ show on one of the many precursors to what is now ROOT Sports. But Rowland decided to leave the media to work in the ministry. He now is the pastor at the Christian Reformed Church in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood.
That might have been the end of Rowland’s broadcasting career if the Seahawks’ public-address announcer had not abruptly quit. Rowland received “the call.” He was offered the job on an interim basis.
“I jokingly say I’m still the interim,” Rowland said, laughing.
His work went into overtime with Seattle’s playoff run, but it now is finished for the season. Rowland will watch the Super Bowl and then celebrate his birthday Feb. 7 — he turns 61 years old — before he flies the following day to Panama. Rowland said he was awarded a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., which is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937, for a “renewal sabbatical.”
“The opportunity to get away and be in a completely different culture,” said Rowland, who hopes to continue to develop his Spanish and pursue other favorite activities, including SCUBA diving, during his four-month stay. “That’s what would make my heart soar. I love the culture and people.”
But before he leaves, Rowland hopes Seattle’s sports fortunes can soar through the city’s first championship in a professional men’s sport since the Sonics won the NBA title in 1979.
“I think it’s a really exciting time to live in the Puget Sound area,” he said. “I’m fortunate to have a tiny part in this organization. It’s just a game, but it’s a game that has a psychological impact on the city. I hope Seattle benefits deeply from this opportunity.”