Welcome back, 12s.
After playing the 2020 season in an eerily quiet Lumen Field, the Seahawks announced Tuesday they will be able to welcome fans back into the stadium at full capacity to open the 2021 season.
The Seahawks have received approval from local health officials and the NFL to reopen the 68,000-seat Lumen Field, which has historically ranked as one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL.
“Can’t wait to see those 12s — can’t wait to see the 12s,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said last week. “I know they’re coming. I know somebody is going to be in those stands. Can’t wait to get you out there.”
Under the state’s reopening protocols, fans will not be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend Seahawks games, but the team announced that fans who are not vaccinated will be required to wear masks.
The state’s reopening guidelines for outdoor sporting events do not require vaccination status be verified to attend a game.
“Oh man, I’m excited to have them,” Seahawks receiver Tyler Lockett told reporters last week. “You never know what it’s like to not have something until you don’t have it. And when we didn’t have the fans, you could tell it was different.
“… It taught me how not to take fans for granted, but how to be able to enjoy and be appreciative that people are actually there. So I’m excited for the fans to come back. I’m really excited just to be able to go out there. I always call it a concert because that’s what it feels like ever since I first stepped on that football field. And so when the fans come back, it’s time to get it going.”
Even without their usual home-field advantage, the Seahawks went 7-1 at Lumen Field last season and won the NFC West title. They did, however, lose at home to the rival Rams in their wild-card playoff game.
The Seahawks are scheduled to open the 2021 season with a road game at Indianapolis on Sept. 12. Their first home game — the return of the 12s — is set for Sept. 19 against the Tennessee Titans.
The team has not yet announced plans for opening training camp to fans. That announcement is expected in mid-July.
The state is on track to lift all COVID-19 restrictions on June 30, and other local teams have already announced plans to reopen facilities at full capacity.
The Seattle Mariners and Storm will reopen at full capacity starting with their games on July 2.
The Sounders will reopen at full capacity for their July 7 match against the Houston Dynamo FC, and the OL Reign will reopen at full capacity Tacoma’s Cheney Stadium on July 11 against Kansas City.