A Seahawks playoff game at 10 a.m. Sunday complicates plans for some, but loyal Seahawks fans will be ready.
Three years ago, the last time the Seahawks had a playoff game on TV at 10 a.m., Pastor Barry Crane at North Sound Church in Edmonds changed the nature and time of his Sunday morning service so members could get home in time for kickoff.
He’s not doing that for this Sunday’s game in Minneapolis, though. And it’s partly because if the Seahawks win this early Sunday game against the Vikings, they have another one in the same time slot next weekend in Charlotte, N.C.
“We can’t change every Sunday in January. It’s a big adjustment,” he said.
Instead, members are invited to a 6 p.m. service at the church’s Bothell campus.
“I don’t understand why all of the churches don’t do this,” said Ryan Meeks, the church’s Bothell pastor, saying the church has worked around Seahawks playoff games since 2011.
The uncertain nature of the playoffs, in which teams win and advance or lose and go home, can make weekends in January and early February difficult to plan.
And it’s not just churches that risk losing attendance or attention.
Seminars, corporate gatherings, organizational meetings — even personal events such as weddings and family reunions — can be affected if a Seahawks playoff game is happening.
“It can be a challenge,” said Aaron Lindseth, sales manager of West Coast Entertainment, who has helped clients adjust their schedules or events.
Sometimes, he said, that has meant rescheduling to a different date or hour. But for certain events that can’t be rescheduled, the answer might be bringing in TV monitors or one large screen for those in attendance to keep track of the game.
Countless wedding receptions have included a TV in one corner of the hall, so the most sports-minded guests could peek at a game. These days, ardent fans get sports updates via quick glances at their phones.
The complexities of NFL playoff scheduling can confound event planners, since the who, when and where of a playoff game might not be known until a week before the game.
Case in point: It’s been known since Dec. 20 that the Seahawks would be in the playoffs, and would be on the road for a wild-card round game this weekend. But it wasn’t known until last Sunday evening whether they would play on Saturday or Sunday this weekend, and who the opponent would be.
Cynthia Flash Hemphill of Flash Media Services said she has been involved with three nonprofit organizations that have delayed, canceled or put activities on hold because of the Seahawks’ schedule.
“One group canceled a long-planned board retreat for this coming Sunday after learning the game would start at 10,” she said.
One factor in the difficulty of shaping plans around a Super Bowl run may lie in the fact that Seattle doesn’t have a wealth of experience at it.
Before the last two seasons, the Seahawks had made only one trip to the sport’s ultimate game, losing Super Bowl XL to the Pittsburgh Steelers 21-10 in Detroit in 2006.
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Eight years later, with the approach of Super Bowl XLVIII, backers of the Seattle Boat Show announced shortly before the event started that it would end a day early, on Feb. 1, because the Seahawks were in the Super Bowl to be played Feb. 2 in New Jersey.
Closing a day early was “the toughest decision I’ve been involved in,” said George Harris, president of the Northwest Marine Trade Association, announcing the shift.
But it wasn’t the date or time of the Super Bowl that had been unknown until mid-January, it was the fact that the Seahawks would be in it.
This year, the boat show runs Jan. 29 to Feb. 6, ending the day before Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara, Calif.
NFL kickoff times depend on geography and the assignment of TV time slots.
The Seahawks don’t play home games at 10 a.m., but some of the games they play in the Central or Eastern time zones start when it’s 10 a.m. in Seattle.
Gearing up for an early game broadcast is not a big deal for avid Seahawks fans or many of the bars and restaurants that cater to them.
The Seahawks played four regular-season games this season that started at 10 a.m. Seattle time, losing at St. Louis and Cincinnati, then winning in Minnesota and Baltimore.
Mick McHugh, proprietor of F.X. McRory’s in Pioneer Square, a sports fan destination since the 1970s with a bar that holds 150 people, said he expects at least a modest line outside his door when he opens at 9:30 a.m. Sunday.
On nongame days, he doesn’t open until noon.
McHugh, a longtime Seahawks fan who has been to all three of the team’s Super Bowl appearances, said he doesn’t offer special promotions or activities to draw Hawks fans.
“We don’t need any more drama than the game itself,” he said.
For those not plugged into the playoffs, Sunday could be an ideal time to shop or run errands, with less competition for good parking spaces.
Or Puget Sound area residents could have some fun outside on what is forecast to be a partly sunny day in Seattle with a high near 42 — some 40 degrees higher than Seahawks and their traveling fans are expected to face in Minneapolis.