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Seattle Seahawks Adopt Phish Song as Rallying Cry

In a new home game tradition, quarterback Russell Wilson is welcomed by one of the jam-band's most beloved tunes.

Russell Wilson Seattle Seahawks L
AP Photo/Tom Hauck

Trey Anastasio may be a Jets fan, but this season he’s giving the Seattle Seahawks a special lift. A song by his band Phish has become popular at Seahawks home games.

Just as quarterback Russell Wilson takes the field, the stadium’s sound system blares four staccato notes -- duh dunt (pause), duh dunt -- and the crowd then cheers “Wilson” for their second-year signal caller.

It’s an old Phish chestnut, part of their popular “Gamehendge” suite that Anastasio wrote when he went to Goddard College in Vermont in 1987. In the song, Wilson is a traveler who becomes the ruler of “Gamehendge.” “He’s the scary guy in the story,” the redheaded singer says.

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It’s always a big moment at a Phish concert when the band breaks out “Wilson,” as they did for their New Year’s Eve show in New York. It was the third song of the first set. The sing-along -- “Wil (pause) Son” -- set the tone for a jovial, playful night.

Back in Seattle, the song has taken on a life of its own. “When we come out for our first possession of the game and they chant Wilson, that’s kind of cool,” the All-Pro QB says in a 15-minute short NFL Films has created about the unique football/rock 'n' roll symbiosis.

Last year at several Seattle area shows, Phish encouraged the crowd to make the “Wilson” chant a Seahawks staple. “I wish they’d do it more,” coach Pete Carroll comments. “I wish they’d do it louder. It’s a nice little tradition they started in the stadium.”

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Mark Tamar, director of game presentation for the Seahawks, says Seattle’s the perfect place for this convergence. “We’re very proud of our background with grunge, very proud of our background with Jimi Hendrix, who was born and raised here in Seattle,” he explains. “Phish kind of fits right in with that lineage of rock 'n' roll. Bringing Phish into our stadium just fits right in with everything else.”

The 13-3 Seahawks share the best record in the NFL with the Denver Broncos. Their next game will be on Jan. 11 in the NFC Divisional Playoffs vs. the New Orleans Saints on their home CenturyLink Field, known for being one of the loudest in the league.

“It’s interesting to see the crossover,” says one fan wearing the Seahawks blue and white jersey and snow hat. “We have friends who are really big Phish fans who are now Seahawks fans and Seahawks fans who are like, 'What’s this Phish thing?' ”

Duh, dunt… duh dunt!