Volume 12 staff member, Justin Biza was lucky enough to be on board the Russell Wilson 12th Fan Airlift! This is his account of Super Bowl weekend!
The weekend started off about 5:30 am Saturday morning, full of energy and excitement, chants of “SEA-HAWKS” and “LET’S GO HAWKS” filling the C Gates of SeaTac. Everyone was clad in Seahawks and 12th man gear from head to toe, ready for the biggest game in Seahawks history. Fans kicked off the trip to The Big Apple emphatically tapping the “I’M IN” sign as they boarded the Alaska Airlines Russell Wilson themed airplane.
Fans entered the contest through the Alaska Airlines Facebook page by January 26th and the 56 winners were selected and notified the following day. Fans traveled in to SeaTac from all over the Northwest and Alaska, each one as excited as the next. Each winner received two round trip tickets, a two night stay in a downtown Manhattan hotel, and the opportunity to attend an exclusive Super Bowl viewing party at the Royalton Hotel, less than half a mile from Times Square and Super Bowl Blvd.
Once aboard the plane, the 12s continued the chants. You could feel the excitement of everyone aboard soaking in this once in a lifetime opportunity. After take-off everyone was encouraged to connect to the complimentary in-flight WiFi and document their trip using the #12thfanairlift tag on their various social media outlets. About one hour into this flight the excitement was continuing to build, and it was now time for the Tailgate Trivia. Six questions were asked about Seahawks history for some great prizes. This was followed by the random drawing for Super Bowl tickets! Everyone was ecstatic about the opportunity to watch their favorite team live at Metlife Stadium. The rest of the flight the energy level grew even higher among the fans and staff from Alaska Airlines. We arrived with a loud cheer of “SEA-HAWKS” from everyone on board! After a roughly 45 minute bus ride and check in at the hotel, everyone was free to explore the sights and sounds of The Big Apple and Super Bowl Boulevard.
Super Bowl Boulevard was set up right in the heart of Times Square, spanning at least six blocks. Every major sports news network had a large setup for their pre-game broadcasts, as well as an area for fans to participate in competitions throughout the week. During my time on Super Bowl Blvd I heard numerous battles between groups of Seahawks and Broncos fans to see who was louder. Of course, the 12s won all of the noise battles! Great work, 12s on traveling across the country and bringing the Volume 12 with you!
By 5:00pm Sunday, you could feel energy at the Alaska Airlines 12th Fan Airlift Viewing Party. It was special seeing all the 12s come together, talking like they were best friends, even though they had only met the day before. That’s one of the best things about sports; it brings together people who wouldn’t normally meet. Before kickoff and during commercial breaks Alaska Airlines raffled off jerseys, hats, shirts and numerous other prizes to those attending the party. By the time kickoff came around you could feel all the pent up energy, waiting to explode on one big play. That play happened to be the first play of the game, when the Seahawks defense, known as the Legion of Boom, caused a safety! The rest of the game was pretty much along the same lines. The defense dominated, Russell did his thing, Marshawn did what he does best, Percy made that trade completely worth it, and the number 1 offense of all time was held to just eight points!
Following the game everyone at the viewing party at The Royalton Hotel was absolute ecstatic. Some had waited decades to see a championship come back to the Emerald City, and others hadn’t been born yet when the Seahawks went to the Super Bowl in 2005. Strangers were hugging and high fiving complete strangers, and at one point, everyone sang We Are the Champions! Here is a video of that moment! Shortly after, most people cleared out of the party and headed to the numerous Seahawks parties around the city! All in all, for Hawks fans and the Alaska Airlines 12th Fan Airlift, this trip was a great success!