By Christian Zerbel Herald Writer
The familiar Seattle Seahawks logo looms out of a massive dark cloud brewing over Atlanta. The caption reads, “Storm frightening Atlanta Falcons.”
The message was a hit with droves of excited Seahawks fans, who left comments like “The storm is coming, GO HAWKS,” or “its gonna b [sic] a nasty storm. hold on.”
It’s one of dozens of memes popping up on the increasingly popular Seattle Seahawks Memes Facebook page, which was started in August and has almost 50,000 followers who view it daily and spread its magic far and wide.
“I couldn’t have imagined it would become so popular,” said Adam Johnson, a Seahawks fan who lives in Redmond and started the page with a few friends. He and his buddies create many of the memes on the page. Other fans have been submitting their own versions.
Memes are cultural ideas or themes that spread virally through social circles. On the Internet, memes can take the form of photos or art with text helping to convey wisdom or a joke or, in the case of sports, smack talk.
While Johnson may be surprised by the site’s popularity, Alex Garcia and Jason Barbacovi aren’t. They work for the digital consulting agency Banyan Branch in Seattle.
“Memes are humorous nuances about something that is trending in society,” Garcia explains.
Barbacovi agrees, “It’s a very fast and efficient way to share a joke.”
Their firm helps businesses connect with customers through social media. They explain that memes are tailored for social media, “pictures are always great for engagement, and that Seahawks Meme page is really funny,” Garcia says.
Johnson, 23, who is an out-of-work entrepreneur and fresh graduate of Seattle University’s journalism program, originally started the Facebook page over the summer to create memes for the Seattle Mariners. But by the time he did, the season was winding down, the Mariners were going nowhere and he quickly switched over to the Seahawks as they started training camp.
As the Seahawks started gaining steam, more and more people started visiting his page.
“Having the Seahawks being such a good team in the playoffs helps. People are going crazy about it,” said Johnson, who dons a Seahawks hat and a thin chinstrap beard.
Some of the memes are clever and others, not so much.
Johnson monitors the page frequently and reposts what he considers are the best memes. He said creating memes seems easy, but it’s hard to create the popular ones.
Some of the most liked memes play off of some sort of inside knowledge regarding the players or coaches, or have a certain smack-talk factor.
“Richard Sherman is probably the player we most use because he talks the most trash in the league,” Johnson laughs. “People on the site are just rabid Seahawk fans who just need a place to talk trash about the other team.”
One meme features starting Seahawk cornerback Sherman roaring, with a staff in one hand and a sword in another as text reads: “You Shall Not Pass.”
Another meme shows two identical endzones, with one key difference. The first one shows a typical playing field and the caption reads: “How we see the endzones.”
The second one shows the endzone covered with Skittles and a line that says: “How Marshawn Lynch sees the endzones.”
Lynch is famous for eating Skittles during a game last year, saying he’s been getting them after games since childhood.
So watch the meme page Sunday. Even if the game doesn’t go so hot for Seattle, maybe the page will be funny.