NFL: Seahawks fans rock Seattle for parade; Jets name special teams coordinator

Hundreds of thousands of notoriously loud Seahawks fans cranked up the volume Wednesday, cheering, chanting and going berserk during a parade to celebrate the team’s first Super Bowl victory.

The mood in downtown Seattle was electric as the parade featuring the NFL champions began near the Space Needle and made its way to CenturyLink Field, the team’s home. Police estimated 700,000 people — more than the city’s population — attended what might have been the largest gathering in Seattle history.

Shawn Cooper and Marlana Studebaker of Covington, Wash., staked out a spot hours before the parade started and displayed supersized photo cutouts of quarterback Russell Wilson and cornerback Richard Sherman, prompting many fans to stop and take photos.

“This was a long-awaited win. It’s well worth the wait,” Cooper said. “They’re years ahead of their time, which makes me believe there’s another one coming.”

Dakota Heaphy, 20, who called himself a lifelong Seahawks fan, and friend Ellie Hergert, 20, drove all night from Cheyenne, Wyo. — over 1,400 miles away. “My boss is a Broncos fan and said we kicked their butts and deserved to go,” Hergert said.

Players enjoyed the celebration as much as the fans. Running back Marshawn Lynch sat on the hood of a vehicle carrying the Sea Gals cheerleaders. He tossed Skittles — his favorite treat — into the crowd. Other players threw jerseys and T-shirts to fans while waving blue “12” flags as a sign of gratitude to the loyal fans, known as the team’s 12th man.

Boisterous fans observed a “moment of loudness” at 12:12 p.m. Crowds also gathered in Spokane and Olympia to celebrate.

Jets: Former LSU assistant coach Thomas McGaughey has been hired as special teams coordinator. He replaces Ben Kotwica, who left Rex Ryan’s staff for a similar position with the Redskins. McGaughey spent three seasons as the Tigers’ special teams coordinator, helping lead them to the BCS national title game in 2011. He went to LSU after working as the Giants’ assistant special teams coordinator for four seasons, including being part of the team that won the Super Bowl in 2008.

CBS wins Thursdays: The NFL will shift eight of its Thursday night games to a broadcast network, and CBS won the bid. CBS will air the games in the first eight weeks of the season with its top broadcast team of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms, simulcasting them with the NFL Network. The league’s cable network will show six Thursday night games alone later in the season, produced by CBS with Nantz and Simms also in the booth. Two Saturday games are in the deal, but it is unclear whether they will be on CBS or NFL Network. The contract is for one year, and the NFL has an option to extend it for 2015. Financial terms were not disclosed. CBS will have no flexibility in what games it broadcasts on Thursdays. CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox and Turner were all interested in the NFL’s Thursday night package.

Chiefs: Receiver Weston Dressler has signed a futures contract. Dressler, 28, spent the past six years in the CFL, where he caught 442 passes for 6,531 yards and 43 touchdowns for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He caught 70 passes for over 1,000 yards and nine TDs in helping the Roughriders win the Grey Cup.

Dolphins: Attorney Ted Wells, who is investigating Miami’s bullying case, says his report likely will be issued late next week or early the following week.

Falcons: Two former starters, cornerback Asante Samuel and linebacker Stephen Nicholas, were released. Samuel, 33, who began his career with the Patriots, had six interceptions in his two seasons in Atlanta. He has 51 career interceptions, including a career-best 10 with New England in 2006.

Saints: Former scout and current Tulane assistant Mike Neu has been hired as quarterbacks coach. Neu will replace Joe Lombardi, who left this offseason to become the Detroit Lions’ offensive coordinator.

Vikings: Quarterback Matt Cassel will void the 2014 option on his contract and become a free agent, a person who requested anonymity told The Associated Press Wednesday. Though the Vikings could have cut him before paying a roster bonus next month, Cassel could have made $3.7 million this year had he not opted out. Cassel signed with the Vikings as the backup to Christian Ponder but finished the season as the starter.

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