CenturyLink Field: Breaking Down the NFL's Most Intense Place to Play

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistSeptember 27, 2017

CenturyLink Field: Breaking Down the NFL's Most Intense Place to Play

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    When visitors come to CenturyLink Field, they find it to be a most intense venue.
    When visitors come to CenturyLink Field, they find it to be a most intense venue.Michael Zagaris/Getty Images

    When the Seattle Seahawks play in front of their home fans at CenturyLink Field, they have a huge advantage over every team in the league.

    The Seahawks moved into their current home in 2002, and they are 87-35 since then. No team has a home record that can match Seattle's.

    There are many reasons for that, and one of the key factors why the Seahawks have excelled at home in recent years is that they have been a dominating team. They have won one Super Bowl and been to another in the last four years, and they have simply been better than most opponents.

    However, that doesn't tell the full story. They have loud, supportive and intimidating fans, and they know how and when to up the noise level when their opponents have the ball and when to be quiet when the Seahawks have the ball.

    Here's a look at what makes Seattle such a challenging place to play.

Perfect Home Seasons

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    Seattle knows how to dominate at home.
    Seattle knows how to dominate at home.Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    When the Seahawks are at home, there is an expectation of victory.

    Not only will they win when playing at home, they will dominate for seasons at a time.

    Seattle was going for an undefeated home record when the Arizona Cardinals came calling in Week 16 last year. If the Seahawks pulled off the victory, it would have marked their fourth 8-0 season at CenturyLink. They lost by a 34-31 margin, but a 7-1 home record is something to be proud of.

    The Seahawks have gone 8-0 at their current home field in 2003, 2005 and 2012. Opponents who can win in Seattle know they have earned the rarest of victories.

Cantilever Design

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    The unique construction at CenturyLink makes it more intimidating for opponents.
    The unique construction at CenturyLink makes it more intimidating for opponents.Michael Zagaris/Getty Images

    CenturyLink has a unique look to it that helps the Seahawks gain a key edge over the visitors who try to figure out a way to beat them on their home field.

    Take a look at the overhang that sits on top of the upper deck. It sits on both sides of the field and was designed to keep fans in the upper deck dry during Seattle's frequent rainstorms.

    However, that cantilever design had another effect, and it may have been intended. That design keeps the noise in the stadium—a noise that can intimidate opponents. 

    The noisiest stadiums used to be domed stadiums, and it's harder to sustain those levels in open-air stadiums. That's not the case in Seattle or Kansas City, where the noise level is ear-splitting.

The 12s

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    The Seattle Tradition.
    The Seattle Tradition.John Froschauer/Associated Press/Associated Press

    The noise created by the Seahawks' fans is not a new development. It goes back to the franchise's earliest days when the team played in the Kingdome.

    The Seahawks played their first season in 1976, and fans had been starved for professional football. The city of Seattle and the surrounding area quickly embraced a team that became known for playing high-scoring and exciting football with Dave Krieg at quarterback and Steve Largent at wide receiver.

    The Seahawks won more often than most expansion teams, and the fans embraced them with a roar that was seldom heard in an NFL stadium.

    The noise made by the team's "12th man" was more like a raucous college crowd. The tradition of the 12s was born early with the Seahawks and has intensified since then.

Marshawn Lynch's Epic Run

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    The 2010 season was not a legendary one in Seahawks history.

    The team finished with an unimpressive 7-9 record, but that was still good enough to earn a division title in the tremendously weak NFC West.

    Not only did the Seahawks make the playoffs, they had a home game against the New Orleans Saints in the wild-card round.

    The Saints were 11-5 that season, but they finished second in the NFC South to the Atlanta Falcons, and their wild-card status forced them to go on the road.

    The Seahawks managed to trade punches with the Saints, and they had a 34-30 lead in the fourth quarter. They had the ball and were attempting to run out the clock.

    That's when running back Marshawn Lynch took off on a remarkable 67-yard TD run, breaking tackles every step of the way.

    CenturyLink Field shook with a sound and fury that was remarkable.

Raising of the 12 Flag

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    Raising the 12 flag in Seattle is a proud tradition.
    Raising the 12 flag in Seattle is a proud tradition.Scott Eklund/Associated Press

    The Seahawks not only get a lift from their crowd and gain an advantage from their volume and support, they also honor those fans with a unique ceremony.

    They raise a flag at each home game to honor the 12th man, and the 12s are very appreciative.

    The Seahawks give the honor to many current and former Seattle athletes, including those from other sports. 

    Some of the those who have raised the flag include Steve Largent, Curt Warner, Kenny Easley, Warren Moon, Jack Sikma, Robinson Cano and Sue Bird.

    Here's a complete list of the Seahawks' flag raisers.