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If 2005 is the year of the 12th man in the NFL, then this is Kitsap's contingent
They cross the waters once a week with one common purpose in mind. With deep determination and unrivaled focus, Seattle Seahawks fans are at the forefront of a 12th man revival, lending a direct hand in several Seattle victories.
Just how important has the 12th man been to the Seattle Seahawks this year?
The 12th man is really big, Seahawks cornerback Marcus Trufant said. It gives us an advantage in getting all those penalties. It definitely gets us fired up.
Its great, Hawks defensive end Grant Winstrom added. When were playing an offense like (Indianapolis), we need all the noise we can get, especially when we hit the playoffs.
Its a huge advantage for us, Seattle Pro Bowl fullback Mack Strong said, following Christmas Eves win over Indianapolis. We just appreciate the fans making a lot of noise. And (the fans) deserve it. Theyve supported us through a lot of tough years.
Many of those fans, remaining faithful through 22 years without a playoff victory (not to mention just five total playoff appearances since the 1984 season), come from far and wide each week to catch a glimpse of a hopeful Seahawks victory.
If 2005 is the year of the 12th man in the NFL, then this is Kitsaps contingent.
Just being able to get in the enemys head, longtime Seahawks fan Rob Larsen, a Bremerton landowner, said. Its true, it works. We get in their heads big time.
Larsen, 47, made it a point to get season tickets right along side the visitors tunnel at the north end of Qwest Field. Arguably the biggest road-team taunter in Qwest Field on any given Sunday, Larsen and his crew are ready and equipped with multiple sheets of poster board, several markers and an unlimited supply of witty trash-talk etiquette (dont worry kids, they make sure to keep it clean).
For example, as the Seahawks battled the San Francisco 49ers on Dec. 11, a 41-3 drubbing by the Hawks, Larsen and Co. got started even before the game did.
Keep your chins up! Larsen yelled as the 49ers made their way from the field to the locker room following pregame warm-ups. Its not over yet!
Larsen has no problem finding individuals to heckle either. In the same contest, Larsen targeted Pro Bowl linebacker Julian Peterson.
You aint got nothing! Larsen yelled, finger pointed. You aint nobody!
With finger pointed back and a smile on his face, Peterson barked back.
You aint got no ring, Peterson responded.
You aint got one either! Larsen yelled.
Not to be deterred, Larsen and his crew put pen to paper.
Its not your fault you have no players, read one poster.
As the game goes on, the signs change.
Start over Fire your whole team! exclaimed another.
The effort of Larsen, and other Seattle followers, has not gone unnoticed.
The main man, Paul Allen, always comes through at the end of the games and thanks us for what were doing, Larsen said. Were pounding the living begeezus out of these teams. When we get acknowledged by the boss, you know youre doing something right.
Bremerton is not the only part of Kitsap represented at games.