Those planning the next Vikings stadium should heed what was done there in creating a wonderful atmosphere.
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. firstname.lastname@example.org
|Golden State||7:00 PM|
|Oklahoma City||9:30 PM|
|Philadelphia||0||1st Prd 10:55|
|Chicago||1||1st Prd 9:08|
|St. Louis||7:00 PM|
|East Tenn St||71||2nd Half 0:48|
|Jacksonville St||23||2nd Half|
|Sacred Heart||44||2nd Half|
|Western Carolina||24||2nd Half|
|Char Southern||37||2nd Half|
|Western Ill||25||2nd Half|
|Nebraska Omaha||28||2nd Half|
|St Francis-NY||25||1st Half 1:08|
|High Point||42||2nd Half|
|Mount St Marys||26||2nd Half|
|Coastal Carolina||23||2nd Half|
|Central Conn St||34||2nd Half|
|Ga Southern||16||1st Half 11:01|
|SIU Edwardsville||7:00 PM|
|Green Bay||7:00 PM|
|Texas-El Paso||7:00 PM|
|Eastern Ill||7:00 PM|
|North Dakota St||7:00 PM|
|Old Dominion||7:00 PM|
|TX-San Antonio||7:00 PM|
|UT Martin||7:00 PM|
|Fla Atlantic||7:00 PM|
|Northern Ariz||7:00 PM|
|Grand Canyon||7:05 PM|
|Utah Valley U||7:05 PM|
|Georgia State||7:30 PM|
|Tenn Tech||8:00 PM|
|Southern Utah||8:00 PM|
|Montana State||8:05 PM|
|UC Davis||9:00 PM|
|UC Santa Barbara|
|UC Irvine||9:00 PM|
|Cal State Fullerton||9:00 PM|
|Arizona State||9:30 PM|
|San Diego||10:00 PM|
|St Marys-CA||10:00 PM|
|Oregon State||10:00 PM|
|Long Beach State||10:59 PM|
|TX-Arlington||60||2nd Half 0:38|
|ULM||40||2nd Half 1:28|
|Troy||54||2nd Half 8:35|
|Georgia State||33||2nd Half 15:00|
|William & Mary||45||2nd Half|
|Coll of Charleston||33|
|UMBC||13||1st Half 1:51|
|UMass Lowell||30||2nd Half|
|Stony Brook||30||2nd Half|
|Boston College||31||2nd Half|
|(23) Syracuse||33||2nd Half|
|(16) Duke||19||2nd Half|
|Florida||22||1st Half 0:10|
|NC State||27||2nd Half|
|(9) Florida State||39|
|(11) Miss State||23||1st Half 0:54|
|(2) South Carolina||35|
|Fairfield||38||1st Half 0:02|
|Quinnipiac||51||1st Half 1:22|
|(15) North Carolina||35|
|(4) Notre Dame||40|
|Ohio State||36||2nd Half|
|(22) George Washington||33||2nd Half|
|Saint Louis||21||2nd Half|
|Wright State||34||2nd Half|
|Green Bay||38||2nd Half|
|Western Ky||23||1st Half 6:59|
|North Texas||23||1st Half 3:25|
|Central Arkansas||2||1st Half 13:47|
|Sam Houston St||6|
|SE Louisiana||17||1st Half 10:41|
|Incarnate Word||7:00 PM|
|Stephen F Austin|
|No Dakota State|
|IUPU-Ft Wayne||7:00 PM|
|Western Ill||7:00 PM|
|South Dakota St|
|(12) Texas A&M|
|(13) Kentucky||7:00 PM|
|(20) Rutgers||7:00 PM|
|Southern Miss||7:00 PM|
|North Dakota||7:30 PM|
|Northern Colorado||8:00 PM|
|Eastern Washington||8:00 PM|
|(6) Tennessee||8:00 PM|
|(24) California||8:00 PM|
|(19) Stanford||8:00 PM|
|(7) Oregon State|
|Chicago State||8:00 PM|
|Utah Valley U|
|San Francisco||8:00 PM|
|Santa Clara||9:00 PM|
|Cal State Fullerton|
|UC Santa Barbara||9:00 PM|
|Long Beach St|
|Cal Poly||9:00 PM|
|Aug 8 - vs. Oakland||7 pm||X||10-6|
|Aug 16 - vs. Arizona||7:30 pm||X||30-28|
|Aug 23 - at Kansas City||7 pm||X||30-12|
|Aug 28 - at Tennessee||7 pm||X||19-3|
|2014 regular season|
|Sep 7 - at St. Louis||Noon||X||34-6|
|Sep 14 - vs. New England||Noon||X||30-7|
|Sep 21 - at New Orleans||Noon||X||20-9|
|Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta||3:25 pm||X||41-28|
|Oct 2 - at Green Bay||7:25 pm||X||42-10|
|Oct 12 - vs. Detroit||Noon||X||17-3|
|Oct 19 - at. Buffalo||Noon||X||17-16|
|Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay||Noon||X||19-13 ot|
|Nov 2 - vs. Washington||Noon||X||29-26|
|Nov 9 - Bye|
|Nov 16 - at Chicago||Noon||X||21-13|
|Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay||Noon||X||24-21|
|Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina||Noon||X||31-13|
|Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets||Noon||X||30-24 ot|
|Dec 14 - at Detroit||3:25 pm||X||16-14|
|Dec 21 - at Miami||Noon||X||37-35|
|Dec 28 - vs. Chicago||Noon||X||13-9|
Poll: With Adrian Peterson's suspension overturned, what should the Vikings do?