My alarm goes off at 3:15am. Cab arrives at my condo at 4, I’m at the airport shortly after 4:30 and the first leg of my first trip to the Pacific Northwest gets off the ground right on time at 6. An uneventful flight to Newark is followed by an equally uneventful flight to Seattle. I even managed to select a row where no one was in the middle seat for the 6 hour cross continent leg. A painless train ride into the city has me at my hotel by 2pm PT with enough time to unpack and take a quick breather before the 15 minute walk to the stadium so I can be inside as the gates open at 3. Here’s the view as I approach the stadium:
Once inside, I make a beeline to the NFL network set – they’re live on the air for the pregame show. From left to right, here’s Mooch (Steve Mariucci), Marshall Faulk and Michael Irvin:
Rich Eisen and (obscured by the set lighting) Deion Sanders:
As the NFL network guys throw to a commercial break, I head over to the Eagles sideline for a look at a few players starting to warm up.
On my way to the other side of the field, here’s Brandon Mebane, defensive tackle for the Seahawks signing some autographs:
I love getting into the stadium as early as I can so I can walk around for a bit before it gets crowded. Here are a couple of pics of this very beautiful stadium.
Looking south from the north endzone:
Looking north toward downtown Seattle:
The sideline seats:
It’s difficult to be a fan of the visiting team in any NFL stadium. I’ve seen beer-fueled fights and confrontations just for wearing the opposing team’s jersey in games in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New Orleans and Chicago. As I really lean much more toward the lover end of the lover-fighter scale, my lack of physical intimidation skills meant I left my Eagles jersey at home. Unlike the mass of Eagles fans behind me in the picture below, I’m taking no chances – nothing with an Eagles logo graces my body today (Luckily, when I make my way to my seat in the upper deck, I’m sitting next to season ticket holder Steve who’s a huge Seahawks fan but agrees not to out me as an Eagles fan):
About an hour before game time, it’s time to find some stadium food. I’m a bit disappointed in the selections here. With the great Pacific Northwest cuisine, there’s not much at the stadium different from general run of the mill stuff. However, I’m a sucker for garlic fries and microbrews (Red Hook IPA, one of the best beers I had during my trip), so this works out pretty well:
After the delicious snack, I walk around the upper deck and find this great view of downtown Seattle:
After two hours inside the stadium, here are the pregame festivities – fireworks during the Seahawks player introductions as seen from my seat:
… and finally, the moment I’ve been waiting for. Here are the teams lined up for the opening kick-off:
The game ended up being a real disappointment for the Eagles. Here’s a picture of one of the high points – LeSean McCoy taking a hand-off on what would be a 2 yd TD run:
Here are the Seahawks on offense, lined up for a play directly in line from my seat:
The Eagles end up losing 31-14. As you can tell from the picture below just after the game, I’m not too torn up about the loss. It was a great experience. The Seattle fans were really friendly, the stadium is beautiful and it was a perfect December night for football.