SEATTLE — Sometime in 1975 or early 1976 — it’s hard to remember back that far exactly — Jack Roberts got a call from a friend.
The friend, who worked at a radio station, told Roberts of a new NFL team coming to Seattle. The friend was going to buy a couple pairs of season tickets for the inaugural season. You know, check out the action at the Kingdome.
Did Roberts want to get in on the deal and buy tickets, too?
Roberts hesitated. Professional football?
“I was really more of a baseball fan at the time,” Roberts says, chuckling.
But because tickets were fairly cheap and his buddies were going in together, he decided to buy a pair of season tickets for the first year of the Seahawks.
Thirty-eight years later and still a ticket holder, Roberts, now 79, says it was one of the best decisions he’s ever made.
“I’ve seen plenty of outstanding football over the years,” Roberts says. “Plenty. Outstanding players and plays at every position. I’ve seen it all.”
Of course, it helps that Roberts told his buddy so many years ago that if they were going to get season seats, he wanted them to be GOOD seats. He wanted to see the players close, feel the action.
When asked by Q13 FOX News if his seats in the Kingdome were close to the 50-yardline — a premiere location for football — Roberts again chuckles.
“I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging, but they’re exactly on the 50-yardline,” Roberts says. “Row 16.”
The first decade or so was the hardest for him as a burgeoning fan and a ticket holder. Sure, they were slow years for the team, he admits. But it wasn’t the losing and the rough seasons that kept him from attending every game. He traveled a lot for work in those days. And he had a family with three young kids.
He has always been impressed in the 12s devotion to their team, something he noticed from the beginning.
“Like any sports team they have their ups and their downs,” Roberts says. “But they’ve always had a strong attendance, from the get-go. I don’t know the numbers but even in the Kingdome, the seats were always filled up.”
When the Kingdome came down in the late-90s and CenturyLink Field — then called Seahawks Stadium — was built, Roberts was faced with a tough decision. The question was never whether or not to continue with his season tickets, but where he would sit. In the Kingdome he wasn’t in danger of driving rain and 35-degree temps. But if he wanted to keep his good seats on the 50-yardline at the new stadium, he would have to subject himself to rough elements.
In the end, though, action and a great sight line took precedence over comfort.
“The seats are out in the open so if it rains, you’re getting wet for sure,” Roberts says. “But I love the intimacy. I like being right up there.”
When asked if he ever misses the Kingdome days, Roberts responds poignantly about the large concrete dome.
“I miss the dry seats,” he says. “But I would never say I miss the Kingdome.”
As the years went on, Roberts’ young children grew into 12s in their own right. Now, with his two sons long out of the home and families of their own, he gets several calls a season checking on the status of the tickets, the hottest show in town.
“My oldest son is taking his son, my grandson this Saturday,” Roberts says. “When they win, than my youngest son will get to go with me to the NFC Championship game.”
His grandson’s love for the game has definitely added another Roberts family member to the tickets fray.
“My 16-year-old grandson plays quarterback for his football team,” Roberts says. “So you know where he stands when it comes to football.”
Roberts says in his 38 years as a season ticket holder, he has plenty of strong memories. The Steve Largent Years. The first playoff game at the Kingdome in 1983. The run under Hasselbeck and Shaun Alexander. And of course, “The Tip” in last year’s NFC Championship game.
But out of all the plays, all the games and screaming, it’s not what happens on the field that Roberts remembers most. It’s who he’s sitting next to in those seats he’s had on the 50 yard line for 38-years.
“Several plays and games have had a big impact on me,” Roberts says. “But what I really enjoy is watching my sons and grandson, the enjoyment they get out of it. Watching them scream and holler. That’s what it’s all about.”