Arrow-right Camera


Seahawks Didn’t Need Much Help Seeming Cheesy

Mon., Sept. 30, 1996

Horizon Flight 2787 jetted over for a look at the formation of fog and clouds shrouding Sea-Tac on Sunday, then audibled into a reverse back to Spokane.

In the physical sense, that’s as close as I would get to the Packers and Seahawks at the Kingdome.

But that was close enough, thanks.

In the spiritual sense, however, I didn’t have to get beyond security at Spokane International to find a seat on the 50.

It was at our own cozy airstrip that I bumped into my old friends Mike and Ray, both bound for the same game. It was there that Mike reached into a plastic bag for a gift that keeps on giving: My very own yellow, foam-rubber, cheese-wedge beer-can snuggie.

Mike, you see, lives in Oconomowoc, Wis., in the heart of Packers Country - where no self-respecting football fan leaves home without his chedder.

So he had a wedge to wear on his head and canholders to accommodate a party of five and a camera to record all the cheesiness of his rowdy road trip - though cheesy, it should be noted, is a much better fit for the state of the Seahawks these days than for the Pack, which beat the whey out of Seattle 31-10 to start the Hawks on a new losing streak.

It should also be noted that Mike wasn’t so single-minded as to make the Packers game his sole grail for this weekend rendezvous with Ray.

I vaguely recall something about Jimmy Buffett at the Gorge on Saturday night and a VIP tent with all-you-can-drink Coronas and other anecdotes soon to be anthologized under the title, “Maturity is Way Overrated.”

But the Packers game was to be - how do you say? - the coup de fromage to a perfect weekend, even if they were playing Seattle.

As it happened, Mike and Ray were booked on a different airline than I - one boasting either better instrumentation in the cockpit or pilots with more guts than sense.

In other words, they landed. I didn’t.

So I went home, screwed a soda into my new snuggy and flipped on the tube - figuring it would be mere minutes before the Fox cameras located Mike, a lonely Cheeser in a sea of Hawks.

And that’s when I saw …

Gouda grief.

Cheese. Everywhere cheese. Cheese heads. Cheese ties. Cheese earrings. Cheese cowboy hats.

A sign: Mama, Papa, Send Cheese.

I knew cheese paraphernalia was a cottage industry - heh, heh, heh - but this was ridiculous.

The Kingdome, which now only sells out for Mariners games and Promise Keepers conventions, was jammed to the tiles with People of the Cheese to see the Packers do the Munster mash.

Two weeks ago, fewer than 40,000 football fans made the pilgrimage to Pioneer Square out of duty to the Seahawks. Sunday, the turnstiles were pushing 60,000 - and the difference, to the Fox-filtered eye, had been made up entirely by Cheeseheads either unearthed in Seattle or airlifted in like my friend Mike.

There were piles of Packers green and Velveeta yellow - and precious little Seahawks blue, green and silver.

A little of this was to be expected. The Pack is back - everyone’s favorite to be the NFC pledge to the Super Bowl. The national pastime is not baseball or football, but front-running - though to be fair, Bay Backers packed Lambeau Field even in the limburgerish days of coach Bart Starr.

The Hawks, meanwhile, sawk. Sorry.

And they’ve sawked for so long now that the patience of the faithful has not only been tried, but convicted. The season-ticket waiting list has long since eroded away by the indifference and orneriness of the Behring regime, and even the pending sale to local gazillionaire Paul Allen is something of a sore point because the man wants civic money for a new stadium or a remodel when he could pay for it with a week’s dividend from his Microsoft stock.

But, really, what’s keeping people away is the football team.

Watching the tube, I weakened momentarily and unmuted the sound just in time to hear Jerry Glanville blather something about the Seahawks looking up in the stands during warmups and seeing all that green and yellow and, well, getting a little cheesed off.

That’s right. These cold-as-ice pros - these businessmen - were hacked that Packers backers outnumbered their own.

Fellas, I guess there’s just one thing to do.

Play better!

Sorry, it’s a silly notion - like ordering a Sprite on the rocks with a beer back.

Like thinking Rick Mirer should be stamped “returned to sender” to South Bend just as soon as the post office opens this morning.

It used to rock in the Kingdome no matter who the opponent was, and even for a few Seahawks teams that in many respects were only marginally more gifted than this one. It seemed like unconditional love at the time, though apparently there were conditions that the team be well coached and play hard. Whatever buttons Dennis Erickson is pushing, he’s not giving his team the best chance to win - not as long as he’s apologizing to Quarterback A for trying Plan B.

Just how the Seahawks could rebuild this bridge is unclear. Perhaps they could start throwing themselves into the stands after touchdowns a la the Packers, but that means scoring touchdowns first.

Mirer, of course, would inevitably be intercepted.

As they exited the Kingdome and trooped toward the Square, Ray called in on his cellphone for a live report.

“This is like New Year’s in Green Bay,” he said. “It’s all Cheeseheads and green. All the Seahawks fans left in the third quarter. All I can see is cheese. It’s like everyone’s delivering the message that, ‘Seattle, you have no pride.’ “

I asked and, yes, he was wearing a cheese wedge on his head as he said it.

Guess you had to be there.

, DataTimes The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = John Blanchette The Spokesman-Review

Click here to comment on this story »