Souhan: Seattle offers all we really need in a stadium

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 4, 2012 - 7:14 AM

Those planning the next Vikings stadium should heed what was done there in creating a wonderful atmosphere.

hide

The Seahawks and Falcons take the field at CenturyLink Field before an NFL game last season.

Photo: Elaine Thompson, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

This weekend the Vikings will fly to Seattle, adapt to a different time zone, alter their watches for Daylight Savings Time, and set their calendars ahead to 2016.

Sunday the Vikings will play in what might be the best football stadium in the country, one combining shrewd architecture, rampant crowd noise, a dramatic sense of place and passionate fan involvement.

CenturyLink Field, nee Qwest Field and Seahawks Stadium, is what the architects for tentatively named Vikings Stadium should aspire to. In Twin Cities terms, it's as intimate as Target Field and as fan-friendly as Xcel Energy Center.

"I know it was a long, ugly fight in the Twin Cities, but the Vikings have a grand chance to build something special now,'' said former Seahawks and Wild executive Tod Leiweke.

"The atmosphere in that stadium is so good that I still have season tickets, and I moved here [to Minnesota] in 2007," John Carlson of St. Paul wrote in an e-mail.

"As far as I can tell, it probably is the loudest outdoor stadium in the NFL," said longtime Seattle sports columnist Art Thiel.

It was Seahawks Stadium when it opened in 2002. It features 67,000 seats. Like Target Field, it is built on a remarkably small site. Like Target Field, CenturyLink takes advantage of the magic of cantilevering to keep fans close to the action.

In baseball, proximity creates intimacy. In the NFL, proximity creates waves of noise and a marked home-field advantage.

The Seahawks are 3-0 at home and 1-4 on the road. According to the Seahawks, they lead the NFL in false-start penalties by opposing offenses during home games since 2005, with 113. (The Metrodome ranks third, with 108.)

"The Seahawks knew they had a great audio advantage in the Kingdome and didn't want to lose it, even moving outdoors," said Thiel, co-founder of Sportspress Northwest. "When the bond measure passed and they designed the stadium, they kept in mind a design that would capture noise.

"When it opened, there were people who said they were enhancing the noise with audio blasted through the speakers. That's not happening. It's loud because of the reverb that's created by the lower-bowl grandstands and captured by the degree of overhang in the upper-deck roof."

Leiweke, now CEO of Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment, has worked as the Seahawks' CEO and the Wild's president. He remembers seeing the construction of the Xcel Energy Center. "I thought, 'Wow, this place is going to have a soul,'" he said. "Buildings with soul capture the imagination of the fans, and that feeds on itself."

The Wild has survived many poor seasons by making fans comfortable and feeling like they are part of the team. In the Kingdome, Seahawks fans were so loud that, in 1985, they prompted the NFL to install a rule penalizing home crowds if opposing quarterbacks couldn't call plays at the line of scrimmage.

Their home-field advantage became known, predictably enough, as the "12th Man." At CenturyLink, a fan raises the "12th Man" flag before every game.

Thiel credits Leiweke with engaging a fan base that tired of former owner Ken Behring.

"Tod took over when the Seahawks were at low ebb," Thiel said. "He really grasped the need to get the team much more connected to the community in so many ways. He was the creator of, and the guy who pushed, the '12th Man' concept.

"I think you would find it unanimous among the sportswriters who dealt with him here that Tod was the best sports executive Seattle has had in its modern history. He saw around corners.''

CenturyLink also is home to the Seattle Sounders, which leads North America soccer clubs with an average attendance of about 38,000.

Leiweke raved about the sports fans of the Twin Cities, fondly remembering his days with the Wild. He envisions the Vikings playing in a stadium that could rival the Seahawks'.

"I know a lot of promises get made about sports facilities, and they don't always come true," Leiweke said. "The ones in Seattle came true, just like the ones in St. Paul. The baseball stadium and football stadium in Seattle changed the neighborhood. These places have a soul."

Jim Souhan can be heard Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon and weekdays at 2 p.m. on 1500-AM. His Twitter name is SouhanStrib. jsouhan@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago 17 FINAL
Detroit 34
Philadelphia 33 FINAL
Dallas 10
Seattle 19 4th Qtr 7:20
San Francisco 3
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Edmonton 0 FINAL(OT)
Nashville 1
ULM 54 FINAL
Robert Morris 71
Santa Clara 57 FINAL
Tennessee 64
Oklahoma 59 FINAL
Butler 46
Austin Peay 79 FINAL
Brown 58
Princeton 56 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 62
Coastal Carolina 67 FINAL
Chattanooga 78
Kansas 76 FINAL
Rhode Island 60
Wisconsin 68 FINAL
Georgetown 65
FIU 53 FINAL
USC Upstate 68
Long Island 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 73
San Diego 71 FINAL
Xavier 82
Illinois 88 FINAL
Indiana State 62
Cal State Fullerton 67 FINAL
Wright State 62
Western Ky 62 FINAL
Saint Josephs 59
Michigan State 77 FINAL
Rider 45
UCLA 56 FINAL
North Carolina 78
Long Beach State 73 FINAL
Western Mich 55
Marquette 72 FINAL
Georgia Tech 70
Stephen F Austin 70 2nd Half 0:29
Prairie View 61
UAB 45 2nd Half 4:54
Florida 44
Rice 48 2nd Half 8:11
Mercer 53
San Jose St 0 1st Half 17:01
Washington 4
Washington St 10:59 PM
UC Santa Barbara
Baylor 10:59 PM
Memphis
LSU 23 FINAL
Texas A&M 17
(6) TCU 48 FINAL
Texas 10
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
Hartford 43 FINAL
Furman 53
Clemson 77 FINAL
Ohio State 86
Idaho State 53 FINAL
San Diego State 68
East Carolina 58 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 69
Santa Clara 0 Cancelled
Texas-El Paso 0
Florida State 68 FINAL
Washington 80
Wichita State 39 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 56
Wisconsin 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 67
Kansas State 0 Cancelled
LSU 0
BYU 73 FINAL
BYU-Hawaii 52
Charlotte 58 FINAL
Montana 67
Illinois 77 FINAL
(9) Kentucky 71
Central Michigan 61 FINAL
Richmond 56
Oklahoma 68 FINAL
South Florida 83
Princeton 72 FINAL
Wake Forest 55
(19) Oregon State 85 FINAL
Butler 53
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close