SEATTLE -- Nearly 1 million cheering Seahawks fans crowded downtown Seattle streets on Wednesday to celebrate the franchise's first Super Bowl victory.
So many people streamed into town, the parade started about 40 minutes late because the team buses had a hard time making their way to the starting point near the Space Needle.
Many commuters were turned away from mass transit or were forced to wait in long lines to get on trains, buses and ferries. The Bainbridge Island ferry was reporting a one boat wait even for foot passengers, which is extremely rare.
Seattle Public Schools reported 565 teachers absent out of nearly 3,000 teachers total. They said on average, there are between 270-400 teachers out per day. A total of 13,523 students reported absent out of 51,000 students enrolled in the district. For comparison, there were 2,770 student absences on Tuesday.
The 12th Man packed the 2-mile route, wearing jerseys, blue and green wigs, waving flags, scarves and signs, and erupting into song and dance.
The Washington National Guard escorted many of the players in Humvees and other military vehicles under blue skies and freezing temperatures. Others rode in Ride the Duck amphibious vehicles used to take tourists around the city.
The MVP of the parade was Marshawn Lynch, who stood on the hood of a Duck vehicle, tossing Skittles to the crowd and taking pictures of the cheering crowd.
The players took turns holding up the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Crafted by Tiffany and Co., the trophy is named for famed Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi. The trophy, which depicts a regular size football in kicking position, is made entirely of sterling silver, is 22 inches tall and weighs seven pounds.
Governor Jay Inslee asked for a "Moment of Loudness" at 12:12 p.m. and Boeing's 747-8 airplane painted in Seahawks colors did a fly-by over the stadium.
The parade ended at CenturyLink Field, where a ceremony celebrated the team's first Lombardi Trophy in 38 seasons.
Coach Pete Carroll took the podium saying "Sea-HAWKS! Sea-HAWKS! Sea-HAWKS!"
"One again today the 12th man demonstrated an extraordinary gift that they have, the love, the spirit, that they showed us at this parade today and this celebration is beyond belief and we thank you so much for that," he said.
Carroll thanked the team, saying "They have come together to do something special and it's just not one year."
"We're just gettin' warmed up, if you know what I'm talking about," he said.
"It's extraordinary this relationship that we have with the 12s, there's nothing like it in professional sports maybe anywhere in the world," Carroll said. "We love you, we'll be back again, we're going to do something special again."