A recap of the activities on Day Five of wild-card playoff week:
Blue Friday. It got off to a flapping-good start, as Seattle mayor Mike McGinn and “Deadliest Catch” captain Keith Colburn raised a huge 12th Man flag atop the Space Needle this morning.
The weather “cooperated,” as a stiff breeze allowed the flag to fly in its full glory as soon as it was unfurled. The moment was captured by local TV stations, as well as Seahawks.com.
It was the kickoff for a day-long series of events around the Sound to celebrate the Seahawks’ wild-card playoff game against the New Orleans Saints at Qwest Field on Saturday.
“This is phenomenally cool,” Colburn said. “The fans in Seattle have always supported the team in a phenomenal way. That’s the thing that’s great; to go to a Hawks game and watch the crowd completely get engaged in it.
Colburn’s journey from captain of The Wizard on the Discovery Channel show to 12th Man flag raiser actually began while he was growing up in Lake Tahoe, where he watched Raiders’ and 49ers’ games on his black-and-white TV.
“We only had two channels,” said Colburn, who now lives in the Seattle area and is an avid Seahawks fan. “Because of some kind of agreement between the two channels, if the Niners were playing well that season then you would get the Niners every weekend.
“But if the Raiders were playing well, then you’d get the Raiders every weekend.”
Colburn had a problem with that arrangement.
“I was a Niners fan, so I would be beside myself if the Raiders were doing well,” he said.
Enter the Seahawks, as an expansion team in 1976. In 1977, they moved into the AFC West with the Raiders.
“Immediately, it was like, ‘OK, I’ve got to like the Seahawks,’ because I need somebody to beat the Raiders to keep them off the doggone tube,” he said.
One thing led to another. “Then it became easy to be a Seahawks fan,” he said. “Just because of the fact that they were in a Northwest town and had Jim Zorn and (Steve) Largent, and the team was a really cool, fun team to follow.”
When Colburn moved to Seattle almost 30 years ago, the Seahawks’ connection already was in place – and in his blood.
“What’s really cool is, the Seahawks always had the loudest fans in the country,” Colburn said. “People will say, ‘No, Philly’s got the rowdiest fans; New York’s got guys that throw D batteries.’ But everybody will concede the loudness of the Seahawks’ crowd.”
THE DEFIANT ONE
Matt Hasselbeck wears his passion on his shoulder pads – as well as his sense of humor. It was apparent after practice on Thursday, and after coach Pete Carroll had announced that the veteran QB will start Saturday’s game against the Saints.
Stepping before the cameras, Hasselbeck noticed that ESPN was present.
“Look at this,” he cracked. “I didn’t know you guys covered the CFL.”
When asked by another out-of-town reporter if he had a reaction to talk earlier in the week about whether or not the Seahawks should apologize for being in the playoffs with a 7-9 record, Hasselbeck offered an incredulous look before saying, “Apologize to who? No, I’m not going to apologize for that.”
Asked about a 7-9 team going up against the defending Super Bowl champions, Hasselbeck said, “They are 0-0 right now, so that’s where my head’s at.”
Asked what advantage the Seahawks might have because all the pressure is focused on the Saints, he smiled and said, “I don’t know how they feel. Maybe they’re bummed that they don’t have a bye and they’ve got to fly seven hours to southern Alaska.”
TWO ADDED TO ROSTER
Cornerback Josh Pinkard and offensive lineman Lemuel Jeanpierre were signed off the practice squad to fill the roster spots that opened when guard Chester Pitts (concussion) and tight end Chris Baker (fractured hip) were placed on injured reserve Tuesday.
Pinkard, a rookie from USC, began the season on the physically unable to perform list and was added to the practice squad on Nov. 10. Jeanpierre, a rookie from South Carolina, was on the practice squad all season.
ON THE FIELD
The players held a final walk-thru in the indoor practice facility at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.
Right tackle Sean Locklear rejoined the team and participated in the walk-thru after tending to what Carroll called “a very serious family situation.” Stacy Andrews replaced Locklear in practice on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. But Carroll said he is counting on Locklear playing against the Saints.
The official end-of-the-week status report, as released by the team:
The Seahawks list no one on their injury report for the first time this season.
For the Saints:
LB Danny Clark (hamstring)
TE Jimmy Graham (ankle)
DL Anthony Hargrove (knee)
FS Malcolm Jenkins (knee)
DE Alex Brown (shoulder)
WR Marques Colston (knee)
LB Anthony Waters (ankle)
TE Jeremy Shockey (groin)
TE David Thomas (knee)
STAT DU JOUR
The Seahawks’ NFC West title is their five in the past seven seasons, and they have advanced to the playoffs seven times in the past 12 years. Only three teams have more playoffs appearances during that span – the Colts (11), Eagles (nine) and Patriots (eight).
YOU DON’T SAY
“I know it’s a great football team (coming in here). We understand that. But we’re going to go play our ball and see if we can get a win.” – Carroll