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Speculation Swirls Following Death Of Seahawks Owner Paul Allen

Elaine Thompson
AP Photo (file)
In this Sept. 27, 2015 file photo, Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen, left, talks with Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll before a game against the Chicago Bears in Seattle.

A lot of people are wondering about the future of the Seahawks following the death of owner Paul Allen this week. KNKX sports commentator Art Thiel talked with Morning Edition Host Kirsten Kendrick about what might happen and what is definitely not happening.

Seahawks Staying Put

Thiel said the one question he can answer definitively is the team is not leaving Seattle.

"The Seahawks are an incredibly robust franchise. And they've got the most vital fan base in the NFL," he said.

"NFL commissioner Roger Goddell and several owners have said that there's no chance that this franchise would be relocated. But it will have a new owner."

Ownership In Question

Thiel said it's unknown whether Allen's sister Jody Allen would want to retain ownership of the team.

"She said nothing. We don't know any plan of succession. That's all been kept very quiet. Certainly that's the case with a lot of his other projects, but two of the most prominent were the Seahawks and, of course, the Portland Trail Blazers, the NBA team."

"Both of those were similar purchases, but one was passion. Paul cared about the Trail Blazers and basketball. He didn't necessarily care about football or the Seahawks."

"He did it out of a sense of civic good in 1997when the team was, indeed, ready to be moved to Los Angeles. In fact, it was for two weeks before the NFL pulled the Seahawks back and told owner Ken Behring, 'Don't ever do that again.' And he subsequently sold to Allen."

'Grew To Be A Fan'

"Paul did that out of his sense of civic duty. He grew to be a fan and he had his greatest sports success as the owner of an NFL champion team."

"Allen really did bring something unique in ownership. He liked the Seahawks and enjoyed their success but didn'think he knew more than coach Pete Carroll or general manager John Schneider."

"He didn't mess it up. He stayed at a distance. And I thought that was probably the key asset that he brought. And it's a great thing that the Seahawks had going."

Carroll And Schneider Have Most To Lose

Thiel said the real question is what happens to the two men at the top if a new owner moves in.

"That's gong to be high drama. If we assume that Jody wants to sell, there will be a new owner. And it will be a very difficult thing for Schneider and Carroll, I think, because they had such a great relationship with Allen. I think they're going to be a little bit apprehensive."

"So I really do think it's going to be a big change for the Seahawks and to say better or worse is impossible right now. But it would take an unusual person to fulfill the legacy of what Allen had created here."

Never miss an episode again. Subscribe to Sports With Art Thiel with iTunes orGoogle Play now. You can find Art Thiel's work at Sportspress Northwest and

Kirsten Kendrick hosts Morning Edition on KNKX and the sports interview series "Going Deep," talking with folks tied to sports in our region about what drives them — as professionals and people.
Art Thiel is a co-founder and writer for the rising sports website Sportspress Northwest. In 2003 Thiel wrote the definitive book about the Seattle Mariners, “Out of Left Field,” which became a regional bestseller. In 2009, along with Steve Rudman and KJR 950 afternoon host Mike Gastineau, Thiel authored “The Great Book of Seattle Sports Lists,” a cross between and Mad Magazine that has become mandatory reading for any sports fan who has an indoor bathroom.