Rob Oxford: Rest in Peace, Mr. Allen

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Paul G. Allen
Photo from Vulcan Inc
Sitting in my office Monday afternoon, my eldest son came in and shared what I had thought initially to be a hoax. He said the NFL Network was reporting that Seahawks owner Paul Allen had died.

I immediately began searching the internet and all I could find were links to a supposed celebrity death hoax that had been circulating earlier in the month. How someone can find joy in creating viruses and spreading such rumors is beyond me and perhaps an article for a different day.

It was no secret that Mr. Allen had been dealing with complications from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, but because of his desire for privacy, I don't think the media was even aware of the severity of his illness. Sadly, what I had hoped would indeed be a hoax was soon confirmed by several local news affiliates and Paul's sister Jody.

Paul Allen's story is one Seahawk fans know all too well. Not only as co-founder of Microsoft, owner of the Portland Trailblazers and co-owner of the Seattle Sounders, but in 1996 when the most hated man in Seattle (before Clay Bennett stole our Sonics) Ken Behring threatened to move our beloved Seahawks to Southern California, Paul Allen stepped in and offered to purchase the team.

As anyone living in the area at the time can attest, there were plenty of stipulations that needed to be met before a deal could get done. For starters, Mr. Allen wanted an open-air stadium. That meant the Kingdome had to be imploded and a new stadium built.

After much discussion and not all of it favorable, the proposed $430 million project would be put to a statewide vote. Mr. Allen would be responsible for $130 million dollars of the overall tab, while the public via various taxes and lottery sales would have to pony up the remaining $300 million. For football fans, losing the Seahawks was not an option. However, not everyone in the state was a football fan. At least not yet.

When it was all over, the measure for a new stadium and exhibition hall narrowly passed by 51 percent. Paul Allen had saved our Hawks!

Under his ownership, the Seahawks made eight playoff appearances, have won 52 percent of their games overall and have played in 3 Super Bowls. The parade downtown to celebrate winning Super Bowl XLVIII 43 - 8 over longtime AFC division rival Denver is a day very few residents will soon forget.

As Co-founder of Microsoft, Chairman and Founder of Vulcan Inc., owner of the Seahawks, Sounders and Trailblazers, Founder of the Allen Institute for Brain Science, Allen Institute for Cell Science, Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence and his various philanthropic endeavors, as well as establishing KEXP Radio, MoPop (formerly EMP) and the Flying Heritage and Combat Armor Museum at Paine Field, Mr. Allen will long be remembered as a favorite son of Seattle.

For undeniably selfish reasons however, I will admire him most for providing me with the opportunity to spend quality time with my wife and sons on Sunday afternoons.

From a forever grateful 12, may you rest in peace Mr. Allen.

Thank you,
Rob Oxford


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