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Originally published January 31, 2015 at 5:24 PM | Page modified January 31, 2015 at 10:52 PM

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Paul Allen to Seahawks fans at Super Bowl rally: ‘You never wavered’

A crowd of 25,000 Seahawks fans cheered Saturday at a rally before Sunday’s Super Bowl.

Seattle Times staff reporter


PHOENIX — A crowd of about 25,000 Seahawks fans — some of whom had waited two hours in the rain — packed a Saturday rally in a Phoenix ballpark in which Seahawks owner Paul Allen thanked them for their “amazing, amazing, incredible support.”

“You never wavered,” Allen told the crowd, noting fans were faithful even when it appeared a Super Bowl return was going to be difficult. “What an amazing feeling for me and everybody else in the Seahawk organization.”

His brief remarks came at a rally at Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The event was a chance for bonding, celebration and anticipation for “12s,” many of who cannot afford the $8,000 for a seat at Super Bowl XLIX.

Fans posed for photos with Sea Gals cheerleaders, tossed beanbag at targets, and picked up free gear including “12” flags and towels.

On the mammoth screen above the center-field wall, highlights were shown of this Seahawks season, game by game. The loudest cheers were triggered by the improbable series of plays that keyed the Seahawks’ come-from-behind victory over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game.

Although the stadium’s roof kept fans dry during the 2½-hour event, early arrivals waited in the rain outside.

“A little rain doesn’t bother us,” said Susan Adair of Bellingham at the front of the line. “We are Seahawks fans, and we never give up.”

Laura Gallino, 24, Seattle, wore the blue plastic “12” poncho she wears to Seahawks home games. Even though she doesn’t have a ticket to the Super Bowl, she was already hoarse by Saturday afternoon from pregame events and the impromptu “Sea-Hawks!” chants that break out on the streets of downtown Phoenix.

Heather Bronson, who grew up in Tacoma, was there with her husband, Steve. The couple now split their time between Tempe, Ariz., and San Felipe, Mexico, where they recently started a Seahawks fan club.

“I was born and raised in a Seahawks family, and this is a dream come true for me,” said Bronson, who bought two seats online early for $1,000 each.

Ben and Sue Bicknell of Maple Valley paid $3,000 apiece for 50-yard line seats from a season-ticket holder who was unable to use them. Asked hypothetically if he would accept $8,000 apiece for them, Ben Bicknell said, “No way ... This is a bucket-list thing.”

Some fans at the event, while expressing affection for the team, grumbled at the sky-high price of tickets. On Saturday afternoon, the cheapest tickets on the NFL Ticket Exchange were priced at nearly $7,900.

Seahawks broadcaster Steve Raible introduced team president Peter McLoughlin, along with former players in the team’s “Ring of Honor,” and former Seahawks coach Chuck Knox, 82 and in a wheelchair.

Defensive end Greg Scruggs, now on injured reserve, took the stage to thank the fans and assured them he would pass on their best wishes to his teammates.

Jack Broom: or 206-464-2222

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