Detroit Lions want to dismantle Seattle Seahawks' 12th man mystique
Watch out, Seattle Seahawks. You might have the 12th man. But there’s one man in Detroit who wants to wreck your mystique and silence your boisterous fans.
That man would be Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah, who sacked quarterback Russell Wilson twice last season on his way to the Pro Bowl and is looking to do something similar in Saturday night’s NFC wild-card game at CenturyLink Field (8:15 p.m., NBC).
“It is loud and I like the crowd out there,” Ansah said Thursday. “I like the vibration that that stadium brings to us. We are going to come ready to play. We are excited to be in the playoffs. This is one of 12 (teams) going into this game and we’ll be ready for them.”
Um … vibration?
“I mean, when you’re away the home crowd is that loud you just have that (urge) to shut them up,” he said. “We’ll be ready for them.”
More Lions coverage:
Putting Ansah’s good vibrations aside, the question is whether it’s actually possible to silence the Seahawks’ fans in a stadium that can get as a loud as a commercial airliner and even made a blip on the Richter scale during Marshawn Lynch’s famous playoff run.
“They bring it just about every play, when I’m on offense,” Lions receiver and former Seahawk Golden Tate said. “So we’re going to just bring it, but coach (Pete) Carroll told me back when I was there the quickest way to shut up a crowd is to put up points, handle your business, do your job, control what you can control and they won’t have anything to cheer about.”
A lot easier said than done. Since 2005, Seattle leads the NFL with 155 false starts at home.
“It’s something they use to their advantage,” Tate said of the noise. “It’s definitely a loud, emotional place with a lot of passion and it’s hard. I think we’ve done a great job of preparing this week and simulate the noise as much as we possibly can and we’ll see how it goes.”
Tate played for Seattle in 2010-13 and he said he suffered only a few losses at home. But he admitted he did remember an opposing team silencing the crowd.
“Briefly, briefly,” he said. “A time here or there.”
As Tate spoke, Lions receiver Andre Roberts said, “We beat them when I was in Arizona.”
Yep, in 2013 the Cardinals won at CenturyLink, 17-10. Roberts said it was entirely possible to silence the 12th man.
“Yeah,” he said. “We did. It’s very possible.”
Even last year, when the Lions lost at Seattle on a controversial call, they didn’t seem too affected by the crowd noise. Only one false start was called in the game, and it was against the Seahawks.
But the Lions game and the Cards’ 2013 win came in the regular season. In playoffs, where the Seahawks have won nine straight home games, CenturyLink turns into something like an impregnable Fortress of Solitude.
“The stadium is amazing,” Seattle defensive end Michael Bennett said. “I think we have so many great fans that do a lot of good things for us. I think being at home is always good.”
If nothing else, you have to respect what the Seahawks and their fans have done to earn their reputation. They started their loud crowd tradition in the old Kingdome. The Seahawks retired the No. 12 jersey in 1984 and the organization duked it out in court in 2006 with Texas A&M for the right to use the “12th man” name. After the fans induced the New York Giants into 11 false-start penalties and three missed field goals in 2005, coach Mike Holmgren presented a game ball to fans.
“We love playing here,” Carroll said. “We’ve had a lot of success. I don’t know what you want to attribute that to, but we feel very familiar and comfortable and love playing in front of the 12s. They’re crazy about our football team and it just brings a lot of energy on game day.”
Contact Carlos Monarrez: email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.