More than most NFL logos, the Seahawks log always made an me impression on me. There is an angry, yet somewhat passive, look to the bird's face on the older version of the logo. The beak pulled down, the Seahawk looked somewhat fierce, yet it retained much more of a traditional native feel than the logo that would soon follow.
It always looked cool to me, and I remember as a kid, Seattle was considered a tough place to play, with a reputation as the loudest stadium in the country. That somewhat mean, yet mysterious, looking logo rather contributed to the feeling that your team was going to have a hard time winning at Seattle.
The Seahawks changed the logo, and the team colors, following the 2001 season. They had a new look, and the logo was considerably different, looking far more fierce than the previous logo, yet retaining enough of the traditional native roots, that little, if anything, was lost in the transition. However, the uniforms were pretty boring, and probably qualified as the worst uniforms in the league, frankly. More recently, following the 2011 season, the franchise changed the uniforms again, altering the logo again, although not in any major way this time. Now, the team sported navy blue uniforms from top to bottom in their home games, with some neon green highlights, and these looked really awesome! Admittedly, the white jerseys with white pants uniforms look pretty boring, but when they wear those dark blue pants with their white jersey, the uniforms look pretty sleak!
As usual, success makes uniforms look all the more appealing, and the new Seahawks uniform, which I was admittedly luke warm towards initially, now looks pretty damn solid!
Also, seeing the team reminds me so much of my pleasant memories of the city of Seattle in particular, and the Pacific Northwest more generally, that I have a hard time rooting against them. I have been pulling for them most of this season, impressed with the uniforms, their old school reliance on defense and a cloud of dust, and, yes, their success. Also, not least of all, their obvious ties to the beautiful city of Seattle.
Being privileged enough to go on a trip to the Pacific Northwest, and to Seattle in particular, back in the late nineties, gave me a new appreciation for the region. By then, of course, the Seattle music scene had exploded into national prominence, and everything associated with the city was consider really cool. A lot of that died of a bit over the course of several years, but it has largely been considered a hip place ever since.
I loved Seattle. Going there made me appreciate the reality of the city so much more than what I had heard. Prior to going there, I always had thought of it as a blue collar town, a city of grey and bleak weather, and I had assumed it was a lot colder than it actually wound up being. The weather while we were there in May could not have been more accommodating, and it was the perfect setting for being able to appreciate the abundance of natural beauty of the surrounding region, which is so green, yet has striking, snow-capped mountain ranges spanning pretty much all directions. I learned a tremendous amount about volcanoes (the movie Dante's Peak released earlier in the year had also helped to trigger this fascination), which was a learning experience for me. Seattle as a city was pretty cool, too, and the Space Needle and the surrounding area reminded me somewhat of a more modern version of the Eiffel Tower and the Champ de Mars in Paris. Needless to say, I fell in love with Seattle, and could not help but dream of making a move there.
We visited Seattle and the region again in October of 2001, and this time, the weather was a lot less accommodating. Yet, I was starting to know what to expect, and began to explore certain other elements of the region, particularly the presence of the native culture. We visited Vancouver, a few hours north, and I fell in love with that city, too, and tinkered with the idea of a move there, as well. Specifically, I loved the mountains, and began to fall in love with the totem poles, having seen those at Stanley Park.
It was then that I truly got the sense of the connection with the Seahawks logo to the traditional native culture of the region, and a newfound appreciation for the Seahawks, and what they meant to Seattle, and the surrounding area.
I meant to explore where the logo specifically came from, but never really did. Not, at least, until I ran into an article in Yahoo Sports recently, on the occasion of the Seahawks making their second straight trip to the Super Bowl, as defending champions with the rare chance to repeat.
So, where exactly did the idea for the logo originate? Well, as it turns out, that is an interesting question, and here is at least part of the possible answer:
Specifically, it's believed the Seahawks logo is derived from a photo in a 1950 book, "Art of the Northwest Coast Indians." That photo depicts a "transformation mask" of an eagle (or "thunderbird"), which opens up to reveal a human face. The mask is from the Kwakwaka'wakw nation, but it's not known exactly which family.
Indeed, I saw the resemblance of the logo to some of the totem poles that I saw, and this made me appreciate the idea behind the logo so much more. Far more than the supposed respect for native culture that another franchise in the NFL loudly proclaims, despite the controversy regarding whether that franchises's name is offensive and insulting as a racial slur is concerned, the Seahawks had a more subtle, but much more honorable and flattering, tribute to the native culture that had been such a prominent part of the region's past, and still had a stronger presence in the modern day than what can often be seen or is available back east.
It began to be another aspect of Pacific Northwest culture that I admired, and found fascinating.
In any case, here is an article that expands on this theme of where exactly the logo for the Seattle Seahawks came from, and I recommend it!
Inspiration for Seahawks logo visits Seattle with assist from Patriots fan By Eric Adelson of Yahoo Sports, January 28, 2015: