Seattle Seahawks fans will return in September to games inside Lumen Field as they were packed in for this one against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Nov. 3, 2019. (Joshua Bessex/McClatchy News Service)

Seattle Seahawks fans will return in September to games inside Lumen Field as they were packed in for this one against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Nov. 3, 2019. (Joshua Bessex/McClatchy News Service)

FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Huskies, Cougars will return to full houses in September

  • By Gregg Bell McClatchy News Service
  • Wednesday, June 23, 2021 1:30am
  • SportsNFL

By Gregg Bell

McClatchy News Service

RENTON — As the Northwest and nation continue to get vaccinated and emerge from the coronavirus pandemic, the Seahawks just regained one of the NFL’s biggest home-field advantages for 2021.

The team announced Tuesday its league, Seattle, King County and Washington state government and public-health officials have approved full-capacity crowds at Lumen Field for all Seahawks home games this season.

The usually packed, rocking, 68,000-seat stadium in the SoDo section of Seattle was essentially silent and empty for all the 2020 season. That was because of league and local restrictions from the coronavirus pandemic. The restrictions negated what has been a huge edge for the Seahawks over the past decade: roaring Seattle fans shaking the building’s cantilever roofs and opposing teams into mistakes and defeats.

“Can’t wait to see those 12s,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said last week in anticipation of the team approval to have its fans back this fall and winter. “Can’t wait to see the 12s.

“I know they’re coming. I know somebody is going to be in those stands. Can’t wait to get you out there.”

Fans will not be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend Seahawks home games this year, per Washington public-health guidelines. Those who are not vaccinated will be required to wear masks.

The Seahawks reiterated Tuesday they support and encourage all fans to get vaccinated for the community’s common good.

The Seahawks’ announcement that fans will be coming back in full this season came two weeks after Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Seattle was the first major U.S. city to have at least 70 percent of its population fully vaccinated from COVID-19. Durkan said June 9 that 78 percent of Seattle’s residents had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

New York City, by comparison, had 56 percent of its adult population fully vaccinated.

Seattle’s first regular-season home game is scheduled for Sept. 19 against Tennessee.

The Seahawks weren’t the only football team in the state to announce full capacity crowds for the upcoming season. Washington will have full crowds at Husky Stadium and Washington State will have the same at Martin Stadium.

The Huskies and Cougars are scheduled to open their seasons at home on Sept. 4. Washington hosts Montana while Washington State hosts Utah State.

The Seahawks are 106-46 at home since the 2002 season. Only Green Bay has a better home record in the NFL in that span (108-42-2).

“You never know what it’s like to not have something until you don’t have it. And when we didn’t have the fans, you could tell it was different,” said Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett.

“It taught me how not to take fans for granted, but how to be able to enjoy and be appreciative that people are actually there. So I’m excited for the fans to come back. I’m really excited just to be able to go out there — I always call it a concert, because that’s what it feels like ever since I first stepped on that football field.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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