Seattle’s CenturyLink Field is famous for the vocal output of the fans that pack the stadium to watch their Seahawks on Sundays. The home-field advantage provided by the “12th man” is a part of Seahawks lore, and CenturyLink’s denizens hold the record for loudest crowd with a roar of 137.6 earth-shaking decibels in a game against the Saints in December.
Seahawks fans have also recently added an unlikely new chant to their arsenal: a snippet from a song by the band Phish. Yes, Phish, the jam band with an enormous cult following that your cousin Simon has seen 47 times and keeps asking you to, like, just take a listen, man, but it’s so much better live, you know?
It turns out that Phish frontman Trey Anastasio is a football fan and an admirer of Russell Wilson, the Seahawks’ standout young quarterback. Serendipitously, the band has a song entitled “Wilson,” which is a fan favorite. When it’s played at Phish shows, the audience will chant “Wiiiiillsooon” following the song’s distinctive opening notes. When Anastasio played a solo gig in Seattle in April, he implored the home crowd to integrate the song into Seahawks games the following season. A return to the area with Phish in July saw Anastasio don a homemade Russell Wilson shirt a fan had made, and that’s when the campaign really revved into gear.
After being bombarded with requests from fans -- and phans, as Phish followers are known -- the Seahawks decided to give the idea a shot. Now, when Wilson (the football player) takes the field for the first time, the Phish song “Wilson” blares from CenturyLink’s sound system and the crowd serenades their star with his name. Even Pete Carroll seems to like it, as it probably reminds him of all the good times he had at Grateful Dead concerts back in the 70s.
An inventive, grassroots birth of a football tradition in a city that’s inextricably linked to its music history was too great for the NFL to pass over, with the result being the extremely well-made video above. If you watch the whole thing there’s even a Tim Tebow dig that snuck its way in there.