This is a tough pill to swallow for American pro soccer fans. The club with the best U.S. support live at matches, the Seattle Sounders, is not the biggest sports draw in their city/area.
In fact, it feels like the number '12' that depicts the home crowd's number as a participant during the game has been completely hijacked by the Seahawks. I don't remember '12' being used so dramatically by Sounders fans. The number works for either team, as 11 athletes are playing for one side in American football or soccer.
So, how does the huge soccer fan base, including all of those involved in administering professional soccer, in the U.S., evaluate this Seattle enigma?
What's it all mean if the best club soccer crowd in the U.S. belongs to the same place that can turn out an even bigger, better and more boisterous American football crowd?
It's disappointing to say the least for MLS fans because it proves that soccer is not the number one sport followed in its biggest pro club hotbed and that there may still not be even one metro area where soccer can claim number one status. Basically, if soccer can't achieve number one status in Seattle than how long before it can be number one in any metro area?
Could it be that Sunday's NFL NFC Conference Championship Game, only the second one ever played in Seattle, is generating so much buzz (as has this entire season-the Seahawks have played all season as a Super Bowl favorite) only because the Seahawks have been a doormat for so many of the years that the team has been around since 1977?
No, I don't think so. The support from fans feels more genuine than just a quick turnaround in fortune to become a winning team.
Fans are crazed to the degree that they are because it appears simply that there are more American football fans than soccer fans.
So, how are the Sounders such an anomaly for MLS? This is not easily explained, either. Though, the team had its roots born in 1974, before the Seahawks.
Soccer is the beautiful game. American football is the power, finesse game. Beautiful ultimately trumps power and finesse, but it can take a little while to figure that out.