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On June 15, 1972, Seattle Professional Football Inc., a group of Seattle business and community leaders, announced its intention to acquire an NFL franchise for the city of Seattle, WA. Around two years later on June 4, 1974, the NFL gave the city an expansion franchise. On December 5, 1974, NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle announced the official signing of the franchise agreement by Lloyd W. Nordstrom, representing the Nordstrom family as majority partners for the consortium. Nordstrom died of a heart attack before the Seahawks played their first game.
The expansion draft was held March 30–31, 1976, with Seattle and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers alternating picks for rounds selecting unprotected players from the other 26 teams in the league. The Seahawks were awarded the 2nd overall pick in the 1976 draft, a pick they used on defensive tackle Steve Niehaus. The team took the field for the first time on August 1, 1976 in a pre-season game against the San Francisco 49ers in the then newly constructed Kingdome.
The Seahawks are the only NFL team to switch conferences twice in the post-merger era. The franchise began play in 1976 in the NFC West division but switched conferences with the Buccaneers after one season and joined the AFC West. This realignment was dictated by the league as part of the 1976 expansion plan, so that both expansion teams could play each other twice and every other NFL franchise once during their first two seasons. In 2002, the Seahawks were returned to the NFC West as part of an NFL realignment plan that gave each conference four balanced divisions of four teams each. This was done after the Houston Texans were added as the thirty-second team. This realignment restored the AFC West to its initial post-merger roster of original AFL teams Denver, San Diego, Kansas City, and Oakland.
The Seahawk fans became known as the loudest fans in all the NFL, so they retired the number 12 on December 15, 1984. Since then #12 Jerseys have been sold by the team and worn by Seahawk fans, often with the name "Fan" on the back. The Seahawks also have a ceremony before each home game where a flag bearing the #12 is raised by a prominent individual. In the 2005 season the fans were again making a difference in games and were recognized with the presentation of a special game ball for their efforts in a game against the New York Giants, a game in which the Giants committed 11 false start penalties in large part because of the crowd noise, which would help the team make its only Super Bowl appearance.
In the 2010 NFL season, the Seahawks made history by making it into the playoffs despite having a 7-9 record. The reason that they managed to do so was because they had the best record in the worst division at the time (Seahawks 7-9, Rams 7-9, 49ers 6-10, Cardinals 5-11) and won the decisive season finale against the Rams. In the playoffs, the Seahawks won in their first game against the then-defending Super Bowl champs, the New Orleans Saints, 41-36. They won on the back of Marshawn Lynch's historic 67-yard run, blowing thru the line of scrimmage and breaking 7 over tackles, to clinch the victory. It even made the crowd cheer so loudly that they registered on a nearby seismometer from the vibrations of the sound. Sadly the Seahawks would lose to the Bears in their second game, 35-24.
In 2012, the Seahawks drafted their now starting quarterback, Russell Wilson, who is up for running for rookie of the year, with other rookie sensations RG3, and Andrew Luck.