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Best Seat in the House

Photography, sports and life as seen through the lens of Seattle Times photographer Rod Mar.

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January 5, 2008 11:14 AM

Feeding the Beast

Posted by Rod Mar

The Seahawks finished the season with the number three seed in the NFC playoffs, which means they were guaranteed one home game, and if the seedings hold (i.e., the favored teams win), their remaining games would be on the road.

What that means for the local fans, and thus, the newspaper, is that everyone gets super jacked-up for that first home playoff game.

The Times is like every other media outlet. Fans want info, and we want to give them everything they want and more. Cynics would call it, "feeding the beast".

With that in mind, I was sent down to Qwest Field on Friday afternoon with the assignment of seeing if there were any fans down there getting ready for the next day's game.

As much of a stretch as that might seem, some fans are crazier than others, and it was not impossible to think that someone might actually camp out overnight.

I arrived at the stadium around 2pm. While I didn't see anyone pitching a tent, I did see fans signing a large "12th Man" flag outside of the team shop. The flag, and another like it, were to be placed into the Seahawks locker room on game day:

(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 16-35mm, f2.8 lens @ 16mm, ISO 800, 1/125th sec, f2.8)

Having a decent, yet expected shot, in the bag, I went off in search of something more and found my way to the field. The turf was covered in tarp, but there was still action abounding. Television crews were setting up their cameras, and workers were cleaning seats:

(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 16-35mm, f2.8 lens @ 16mm, ISO 800, 1/320th sec, f5.6)

Continuing my wanderings, I saw one of the team's equipment trucks parked in the bowels of the stadium. I located the team's veritable equipment manager Eric Kennedy, and asked what kind of preparations were going on. A new shipment of gloves for the players had arrived and they were sorting those, while some of his guys were putting jerseys on shoulder pads for the next day's game. I made quick call to the Seahawks media relations office and got clearance to do some shooting.

I can't even begin to explain to you how much preparation and detail goes into one game before the ball is even placed on the tee for kickoff. Here it was a full day before the game, and jerseys were already hanging in lockers. Rick Rainwater, who describes his job as "one of the equipment guys", was fitting jerseys onto shoulder pads. Players who tend to get held a lot (think linemen, blocking backs) use tape on the inside of their jerseys to adhere them to their shoulder pads. Rainwater was preparing pads for Leonard Weaver when I shot this:

(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 16-35mm, f2.8 lens @ 16mm, ISO 1600, 1/125th sec, f2.8)

**UPDATE, 1/5/08, 8PM**

I guess Rainwater prepared the pads perfectly, as Weaver scored the first touchdown of the Seahawks' victory over the Redskins on a 17-yard run to the right corner of the end zone, right in front of me. Look how his jersey is perfectly adhered to his pads:

(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 16-35mm, f2.8 lens @ 16mm, ISO 800, 1/1000th sec, f2.8)

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