Commentary: The Spirit of 12 has gone international – in a very big way

LONDON -- As far as I can tell, this is our first “Q It Up Sports” from overseas.

But at times this week, you really wouldn’t have known we were 5,000 miles from home.

From the main Seahawks pub to the double-decker tour buses to simply walking down the street, the 12s were everywhere, representing this team with a flair and a passion with which our city should be proud – and even got the attention of the Seahawks GM.

“It’s amazing when our fans are around us throughout the season – but to be here like this in London? It’s really special,” Schneider said.

I understand that this week was a novelty – that a showing this impressive might not be the norm if the Hawks played here every year. But they’d definitely get a head start, thanks to a booster club in the UK that’s now up into the thousands– one of the biggest, if not THE biggest, NFL fan group here.

I mean, imagine how things would be for longtime UK Seahawker, Terry Peppard, if he didn’t have the UK Seahawkers in his life!

“I’m the only Seahawks fan in my family,” Peppard said. “My son likes the Jets and Giants, my daughter likes the Titans. One of my brothers is a Niners fan – we don’t talk to him (laughs). And my other brother is a Cowboys fan.”

But he shares a quality that we saw from all the 12s here this week: Dedication. Some fans here were on their honeymoon. Others celebrating a wedding anniversary. Others, with no reason at all, aside from supporting their team. Win, lose, draw, every one of them was “all in.”

And I think that’s what continually impresses me the most: The large-scale commitment by so many to represent that purpose – The Spirit of 12.

You felt that spirit today at Wembley Stadium – a venue that holds 82,000 fans – where there’s rarely any semblance of a home field advantage in an NFL game, because the locals who normally attend are fans of many different teams.

You felt that spirit when all the Green and Blue Union Jack Flags – appropriately called “SeaJacks” - went up at the end of the first quarter, as a tribute to Ian Robert Smith, the former leader of the UK Seahawkers, who died unexpectedly two years ago.

It was a reminder that to many, this fan base is a family, one that continues to gain strength in numbers.

It was a privilege to be here this week – and to witness it first hand.

The 12s continue to blow me away – that’s my biggest takeaway of all.