SBD/January 20, 2014/People and Pop Culture

Seahawks' Owner Paul Allen Profiled As "Eclectic Tycoon" And Philanthropist

Allen raised the "12th Man" flag at CenturyLink Field before yesterday's game
Sports have been a "constant presence through the remarkable life" of Seahawks Owner PAUL ALLEN, who became a "software prodigy, a player in the dawn of personal computing and eventually an eclectic tycoon, real-estate baron and philanthropist," according to a front-page profile by Brier Dudley of the SEATTLE TIMES. The Seahawks' CenturyLink Field was "designed in part to re-create the aura" of Univ. of Washington games Allen "enjoyed with his late father, KENNETH." Allen said, "It’s just so much more real, a compelling Northwest experience to be out there in the elements. You didn’t care if it was cold or the wind was whipping around or you were getting rained on. You were still completely into the game.” Allen "engages particularly when a business question arises or he’s concerned about a player’s health." Allen, who also owns the Trail Blazers, said, "In football and basketball I like to think of myself as more of a sounding board, somebody that, especially with the general manager, will talk through some things, different options.” Allen "isn’t reclusive." He "likes engaging with fans and freely shares his thoughts on games via Twitter," but he "doesn’t want to be a sideshow." Allen: "I never want to be a distraction. ... From my perspective it’s so much about finding the right people -- both to coach the team and help find the talent, the general manager. That is your most important job as owner, is those two positions" (SEATTLE TIMES, 1/19).

THE 12TH MAN: The AP noted Allen "raised the '12th Man' flag" prior to the Seahawks' win over the 49ers last night. It was the second time he raised the flag "since the team started the tradition." The "only other time" was before the '05 NFC championship game when the Seahawks beat the Panthers for their only other Super Bowl trip. As he "did the previous time he raised the flag, Allen walked to the railing and waved a towel exciting the fans before kickoff" (AP, 1/19). In N.Y., Ken Belson notes the Seahawks since '03 have "asked celebrities and famous athletes from the Northwest, as well as longtime Seahawks supporters," to raise the flag "before each home game." The Seahawks’ "embrace of the slogan, though, prompted Texas A&M to sue the team, claiming infringement on the university’s trademark of the 12th Man name." The two sides in '06 "settled and the Seahawks agreed to pay the university a licensing fee." When Allen bought the team, he "vowed to keep it in Seattle, built CenturyLink Field and recruited MIKE HOLMGREN as coach." CenturyLink Field, with its "high-arcing roofs covering most of the main grandstands, is often credited with amplifying the 12th Man." But it was "not designed with noise in mind." Allen, a Seattle native, "asked only that the new stadium look and feel like the Huskies’ football stadium across town" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/20).
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