Advertisement

‘Unforgettable’: Seahawks wowed by, marvel at Germany crowd during loss to Buccaneers

Let’s be clear: Charles Cross knows wild, loud, fun crowds.

He played in front of college cathedrals packed with fans in the rabid Southeastern Conference.

But he and the Seahawks, to a man, said Sunday they’ve never played, coached or seen a crowd like the unforgettable spectacle of football celebration inside Allianz Stadium in Munich for the first-ever real NFL game in Germany.

Cross, the Seahawks’ rookie left tackle, played for Mississippi State in college. He’s been in front of roaring crowds of 100,000 college fans and students at mighty Alabama. In Death Valley at LSU and at Rocky Top in Tennessee.

Cross said he’s never experienced what he and his Seahawks were privileged to have happen Sunday at FC Bayern Munich’s stadium: 69,811 Germans and Americans singing, cheering, booing and basically partying for 3 1/2 hours for the first NFL regular-season game ever played in Germany: Seattle’s thrilling, 21-16 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

It was 68,911 Germans, Americans and Europeans having a festessen.

“This stadium was amazing, man. The fans in the crowd — I’ve never played anywhere like it before,” Cross said.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers play the Seattle Seahawks during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022, in Munich, Germany. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers play the Seattle Seahawks during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022, in Munich, Germany. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

He was so taken with the experience, he was wearing a Bayern Munich game jersey out of the visiting locker room to the team bus and the first-place Seahawks’ 12 1/2-hour flight home into their bye week Sunday night.

And it wasn’t just the noise. The knowledge matched.

“What a spectacle. This is an unforgettable occurrence,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said.

During the second quarter, thousands in the crowd — apparently the contingent just there for the spectacle and not the game — began the wave around the stadium. Many more thousands booed “The Wave.” Why? It was happening during play.

Cross wasn’t the only Seahawk — or Buccaneer — marveling about Munich.

Tom Brady has been playing in the NFL for 23 seasons. He’s won seven Super Bowls as the greatest quarterback ever.

He was awed by Sunday in Germany.

“Yeah, that was one of the great football experiences I’ve ever had,” Tampa Bay’s leaders said. “So that says a lot for 23 years in the league. ...Incredible.

“At the end of the game with them singing “Sweet Caroline” and “Country Roads,” that was pretty epic. I think everyone who was a part of that experience got to have a pretty amazing memory for their life.”

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) runs onto the field before an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022, in Munich, Germany. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) runs onto the field before an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022, in Munich, Germany. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

Brady’s counterpart, Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith, called the scene Sunday “amazing.”

“It was electric the entire time,” Smith said after his rally with two late touchdown passes fell short.

“They had a few soccer chants. I was looking forward to that,” Smith said. “So it was a great experience. I definitely enjoyed it.”

Seattle Seahawks’ Tariq Woolen (27) reacts after an interception during the second half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022, in Munich, Germany. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
Seattle Seahawks’ Tariq Woolen (27) reacts after an interception during the second half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022, in Munich, Germany. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

DK Metcalf had never been overseas. He wants to come back. Soon.

“I mean, I loved it,” Seattle’s star wide receiver said. “The crowd was energetic. They were into the game, the whole game.

“My experience out here — this is my first time out of the U.S. It was just a good experience, overall.”

Seattle Seahawks’ DK Metcalf (14) is defended by Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Jamel Dean (35) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022, in Munich, Germany. The pass was incomplete. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
Seattle Seahawks’ DK Metcalf (14) is defended by Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Jamel Dean (35) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022, in Munich, Germany. The pass was incomplete. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

Even though it was technically a Buccaneers home game — the NFL designated Germany as Tampa Bay’s international partner market — the Seahawks felt more than at home in Munich.

An estimated 20,000 Seahawks fans from countries such as Italy, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway — and Seattle — made the trip for Sunday’s game and the weekend revelry throughout the Marienplatz, old-town section of the Bavarian city.

“Yeah,” said Metcalf, who shared top billing with Tom Brady on displays in the city for Seahawks-Buccaneers. “I kept looking around and I saw a lot of blue and blue and gray jerseys, a lot of Seahawks fans in the stands.”

Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf shares top billing with Tampa Bay Buccaneers legendary quarterback Tom Brady, 21 years his senior, on this display in the Marienplatz section of Munich for Sunday’s first NFL regular-season game in Germany.
Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf shares top billing with Tampa Bay Buccaneers legendary quarterback Tom Brady, 21 years his senior, on this display in the Marienplatz section of Munich for Sunday’s first NFL regular-season game in Germany.

Asked by European and Seattle media members alike about it, Carroll went on and on after the loss about the scene and the fans. He wants to come back to play here again as soon as the NFL will let Seattle come back.

“If the league gives us a chance to do it, we’ll be wide open for it. This was a great event for us,” Carroll said. “Having it come the week before the bye is really valuable. It’s a total different experience if you didn’t have that. I wouldn’t want to do that if it wasn’t with the bye...it’s just competitively such a challenge.

“Yeah, we’re wide open. I would love for us to be able to extend the relationship with the fans here in Germany. They were great to us. It’s just as classy as it could possibly be. Everything about it was first-class.”

Carroll went on. And on. He loved on the hosts at the Hilton hotel in Munich, at the English Garden. He raved about the drivers who bused the team from there to the Seahawks’ practices at Bayern Munich’s training center across town.

“Let me say this. We were with a lot of people that were part of the group moving us around, security people and all that. The kindness was obvious,” Carroll said. “People were so good to us and so thoughtful and ahead of everything and really made this a really wonderful trip.

“I say that, now we got to get to the airport and get out of here, too.”

He laughed, ruing the 12 1/2-hour flight awaiting him and his team after 3 1/2 hours of violence on the field — all for first-place Seattle’s first loss in five games.

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll waves to fans as he walks onto the field before an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022, in Munich, Germany. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough)
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll waves to fans as he walks onto the field before an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022, in Munich, Germany. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough)

The Seahawks next play Las Vegas Nov. 27, after their week off. They love their crowds at Lumen Field back in Seattle.

But it won’t be like this one in Munich. None ever will — unless Carroll gets this wish and the Seahawks return.

“It was definitely an exciting moment,” said the 21-year-old Cross, a native of Laurel, Mississippi. “Football has brought me to a lot of places I never thought it would take me. Germany is one of those.

“I am just so excited and happy that I was able to play here today.”

Germans loving kicking

The punts and field goals were especially exciting for the soccer-first German fans.

They roared at a 63-yard punt by Tampa Bay’s Jake Camarda off his own goal line in the first half, a punt that may kept Seattle from easily kicking a field goal before halftime.

To begin the second half, Seahawks offensive coordinator Shane Waldron had Smith throwing. His four completions in four snaps, two to tight end Will Dissly then to Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, put Seattle deep into Buccaneers territory. A quarterback draw, then two incomplete passes into tight coverage ended the drive.

Metcalf argued for pass interference on Smith’s short, back-shoulder throw. He argued so much officials flagged him for unsportsmanlike conduct. That pushed Jason Myers’ field-goal attempt back to 55 yards.

Myers drilled it, good by at least 5 yards halfway up the screen behind the goal post. The Germans were oohing at that. Seattle got its first points to cut Tampa Bay’s lead to 14-3.

It was business-like Seahawks locker room after the loss. There was no real anger. They players were frustrated they played so poorly to begin the game — and, as Smith said, proud of how they stormed back in the fourth quarter.

They know they are still in first place. And they absolutely loved the trip, the game scene, the people--all of it.

“Just the excitement the fans had,” Cross said. “Every time you looked in the crowd you see the fans, they are having fun. They are interacting in the game. ...

“It was grand.”