SEATTLE (AP) — Hundreds of thousands of notoriously loud Seahawks fans cranked up the volume Wednesday, cheering, chanting and going berserk during a parade and ceremony to celebrate the first Super Bowl victory in the history of the franchise.
The mood in Seattle was electrified as the parade featuring the NFL champions began near the Space Needle and made its way to CenturyLink Field, the home of the team.
At a ceremony inside the stadium, the team thanked its loyal followers — the 12th Man — capping a day of boisterous celebration that drew an estimated 700,000 revelers to Seattle.
Players were introduced by the order of their jersey numbers and ended with No. 3, quarterback Russell Wilson, who walked onto the field pumping the Lombardi Trophy in the air to thunderous applause. "Our plan is to win another one for you next year," Wilson said later.
Coach Pete Carroll led the crowd in a "Seahawks! Seahawks!" chant and said the team will be back. "We're just getting warmed up, if you know what I'm talking about," he said.
Nick Sutton watched the parade from Westlake Center and considered it a highlight when he threw a football to one of the players who threw it back to him. "It's surreal. It's hard to believe. Seeing this now, it's finally sinking in," he said.
Hundreds of thousands of fan lined the streets of downtown Seattle early in the day and cheered as the players rolled by.
Thousands of students apparently skipped school to attend. Seattle Public Schools said more than 25 percent of the district's 51,000 students were absent in the morning. By comparison, about 5 percent were absent the day before. The school district also said 565 teachers were absent, far more than usual.
"This is a historical event, once in a lifetime. To not show up would be blasphemy," said Jesse Lake, 36, a carpenter from Port Orchard, who stood in the packed parking lot outside CenturyLink Field to greet the team as they arrived.
Shawn Cooper and Marlana Studebaker of Covington staked out a spot hours before the parade started and displayed supersized photo cutouts of Wilson and cornerback Richard Sherman, prompting many fans to stop and take photos.
"This was a long-awaited win. It's well worth the wait," Cooper said. "They're years ahead of their time, which makes me believe there's another one coming."