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Kingdome goes out quietly
Associated Press

SEATTLE -- Seattle Seahawks fans danced into the Kingdome to the tunes of an upbeat salsa band.

Seattle Seahawk fans
Seahawks fans were in full throat for the final game in the Kingdome.
But when the playoff game ended in a 20-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins, the Seattle faithful sat in stunned silence.

Jack Middleton, 50, and Aileen Middleton, 54, were still sitting silently in their field-level seats 20 minutes after the game ended, watching coach Mike Holmgren's postgame interview.

"I'll miss staying dry," Jack Middleton said. "Seattle winter is lousy in January. We can look forward to new stadiums, new memories and maybe, a new winning tradition."

The Middletons are planning a Kingdome implosion party at their West Seattle home when the Kingdome is leveled to make room for the new stadium in March.

The Seahawks -- with nine winning seasons out of 24 -- ended their long run in the drab gray Kingdome the same way they began. They lost an exhibition game to the San Francisco 49ers 27-20 on Aug. 1, 1976.

Jack Ritchie, 61, of Bellevue, donned a brown paper sack as the clock ticked off its final seconds.

"I love this dome," he said. "I'll need to buy rain gear for next year at Husky Stadium," the interim home for the Hawks.

Seahawks fans made their presence felt throughout the game beginning at 11:50 a.m. PT when they booed the appearance of the Miami Dolphins special team nearly 90 minutes before kickoff. They rose to their feet countless times waving white towels and trying to disrupt the Dolphins offense.

Miami quarterback Dan Marino called the crowd "as loud as they are anywhere," in his postgame comments.

It was an emotional afternoon for many of the Seahawks faithful.

John Lockhart, 29, sales manager for United Broadcasting in Bellevue, has been attending Kingdome games for 22 years.

"The new stadium will be great, but I treasure the memories," he said.

"The Kingdome will disappear from the skyline, but those memories of coming to games with my father will always be there."

The fans were eager for a Seahawks victory. As they waited in line, they cheered as each fan ahead of them passed through the turnstiles. One held a giant fish net, ready for the Seahawks to net a Dolphin. Another held a sign above his head, "I was 10 in 1989. Go Seahawks."

Nick Morine, 59, has been selling programs and souvenirs at games for 20 years. The man with the booming baritone sold programs as fans filed out of the game.

"I had the feeling before the game we would win big," he said. "I'm sorry to see it go. I hope to be here when the Seahawks get a new start in a new building."