Cronkite Header

Cronkite News has moved to a new home at Use this site to search archives from 2011 to May 2015. You can search the new site for current stories.

Seahawks feel at home in Valley, at University of Phoenix Stadium

Email this story
Print this story


It’s a comfortable feeling. Been there. Done that. Just ask the Seattle Seahawks, who are revisiting old stomping grounds at the University of Phoenix Stadium.

The stadium will host Super Bowl XLIX Sunday, but during the regular season it’s the home field of the Arizona Cardinals. The Seahawks travel to Glendale once a year to matchup with Arizona in an NFC West showdown and they think the familiar territory will give them a leg up over the New England Patriots.

“I’m big on visualization and seeing the stadium, knowing where the play clock is,” said Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. “I think it gives you a little bit of an advantage to me personally and mentally throughout the week.”

The Seahawks are 2-1 at the stadium since Wilson took over under center, losing the 2012 game in Glendale but winning the past two contests by a combined score of 69-28. It’s not just knowing the Valley roads or the arid heat, even the intricacies of the stadium make a difference.

“I guess it’s a very infinitesimal advantage,” said Seahawks corner Richard Sherman. “We’re more familiar with the stadium, the looks, the lights, the layout, the locker room.”

Seattle is 2-2 in Glendale since Sherman joined the NFL in 2011 but even before that he played for the Stanford Cardinals and made trips to the Valley to play against ASU in Sun Devil Stadium. Cornerback Earl Thomas also drew on his college experience. He played at University of Phoenix Stadium in 2009 as a Texas Longhorn against Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl. His Texas team won that game, 24-21.

“Every time we play here, I love this stadium,” Thomas said. “This is kind of like a home game to me.’’

However, defensive end Michael Bennett doesn’t think there is anything gained by playing in a more familiar place.

“There’s no competitive advantage because we’re playing a whole different team, a whole different organization,” Bennett said. “It’s a different team with a different mindset; it doesn’t give us an edge.”

The Seahawks’ recent success has rubbed Cardinals fans the wrong way. When introduced at the Pro Bowl Sunday night, Seahawks players received a loud chorus of boos from fans inside the stadium.

The confines may not have felt friendly then, but Feb. 1 knowledge of where they’re playing could make the difference between losing and hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the second straight season.

“It does feel familiar to us. Our players have commented on that as well. We feel comfortable coming here. We know what it feels like,” said Pete Carroll, who is 3-2 in Glendale as the Seahawks’ head coach and 4-0 at Sun Devil Stadium against ASU.

“There is a sense of comfort, maybe more so than some other places we haven’t been in the past, and we’re happy we’re here to play.”

While the Seahawks make an annual trip, the Patriots haven’t played in Glendale since their appearance in Super Bowl XLII against the New York Giants. That was the Super Bowl that spoiled the Patriots’ perfect season.