December 31, 2009

Sorrow Drips Into Your Heart Through a Pinhole

Well, now the decade ends. On balance, the '00s was the best decade in Seahawks franchise history: 82 regular season wins, 4 playoff wins, 5 playoff appearances, 4 NFC West titles, and one NFC Championship. Those memories, particularly of 2003-2007, will be cherished forever.

But it's sure ending on a sour note, isn't it? The radio confrontation between Seattle's WRs and Hugh Millen the other day didn't do anything to dispel this feeling: Our beloved team is in total disarray. We can only hope that rock bottom has been struck, and the front office makes the moves that start leading back to contention in the new year.

It's somehow worse than that though, isn't it? I feel worse than I ever have before as a Seahawks fan, and I think it's the sobering realization that we had our shot, and now it's gone. Over. Kaput.

Of course, eventually, the team will contend for a Super Bowl again. We just have no idea when that will be at this point. We had a glorious opportunity to break into that cadre of franchises that have won a Super Bowl, and you can ask fans of any team that has a Lombardi Trophy: It changes everything.

Only 17 of the NFL's 32 franchises have won that big game with Roman Numerals, and a victory with a billion people watching changes how your team is perceived FOREVER.

If Bill Leavy and his minions hadn't tipped the scales in Pittsburgh's favor back in February of 2006, Mike Holmgren would be the only coach to win a Super Bowl with two different teams. Matt Hasselbeck would probably have a Super Bowl MVP trophy, based on the epic 99-yard drive he led which produced the go-ahead score in the 4th quarter (of course, that never happened.. the drive was killed by that bullshit holding call on Locklear). The entire public perception of our franchise would have been radically altered, and it would have been a watershed cultural moment across the Pacific Northwest.

Maybe Hutch stays in Seattle after winning a ring with the Seahawks. Maybe Shaun Alexander's decline wouldn't have been quite so steep. Maybe Hasselbeck wouldn't have taken all the hits that have led to the rapid decline of his abilities. Maybe Holmgren's swan song wouldn't have been a 4-12 disaster.... and so on.

The pain is so much worse with the knowledge that our performance in XL, though flawed, was better than Pittsburgh's. We made mistakes, but so did the Steelers. The difference was an officiating crew intimidated by history, by 60,000 towel-waving Yinzers, and by two weeks of media slobber over how great it would be for Jerome Bettis to win a Super Bowl in his hometown. But who gives a shit, right? It was just the Seahawks. No one gives a shit about THEM.

After XL, I told myself we'd be back... and in 2006, despite a 9-7 regular season, we came WAYYYY closer to a return Super Bowl trip than anyone cares to admit. The 2007 team was even better, but doomed by its inability to run the ball and play defense in the snow at Lambeau.

Now it's over. The boulder rolled back down the hill, and plunged into a neighboring ravine. We're back to being a punch line, even in the friendly territory of the Pacific Northwest. I've been here before, and it isn't fun. I hope that all the fans that discovered the Seahawks this decade don't cut and run after a couple of bad years... We WILL bounce back, and it WILL make your loyalty worthwhile.

Right now, it just stings like a scorpion bite, doesn't it? Would it be too much to ask that we start the '10s off with a win on Sunday?

Let's Go Seahawks!

December 27, 2009

Blow. It. Up.

The last three weeks have been traumatic for me, and I'm sure for most of you readers as well. Since Olindo Mare's game-winning kick sailed through the uprights against the Niners, the Seahawks have plummeted from the down side of mediocrity to shameful, historic failure/incompetence.

They've been outscored 106-24 over these terrible 180 minutes, and as Mark Tye Turner pointed out over on his twitter feed, the 2009 Seahawks have suffered more losses of 17 points or more than any other squad in franchise history. Matt Hasselbeck has morphed into Stan Gelbaugh before our eyes, and ceded any rational claim that he should be allowed to play quarterback for the Seahawks ever again. Sentimentality might dictate that he starts in his final home game next week, but all the arguments that he should be back in 2010 as anything but a back-up have been obliterated by two particularly awful performances. Unless your name is Mark Sanchez or Jay Cutler, no NFL QB should commit 9 turnovers in two games.

Beyond that, Beck's overall decline, that I tried to deny and wish away until very recently, couldn't be more obvious now. Over his last 20 starts, the Seahawks are 6-14. Beck has thrown 20 TDs, but also 26 picks. His QB rating? 69.6. That's comparable to the career numbers of Joey Harrington and Rex Grossman. Ewwww.

I might not think he's a good quarterback anymore, but I still love Hasselbeck. He's a warrior, and what he's accomplished as a Seahawk can never be denied or taken away. However, I have nothing but contempt for Jim Mora, whose inability to inspire, prepare or motivate this team is the main reason Seattle has become the worst team in the NFL at the moment.

The talent gap between NFL teams is, by design, never THAT wide. Hell, just today Tampa Bay beat the playoff-bound Saints after falling behind 17-0, and Carolina laid a 41-9 lead-pipe beatdown on a Giants team playing at home and needing a win to boost their wild card hopes. Yes, you need good players, and the Seahawks need a LOT more of those, but just as importantly, you need an emotional and mental edge when you take the field. You also need coaches with strong strategic and tactical skills, and excellent aptitude at interpersonal relations and dealing with the media.

Jim Mora would get a failing grade from me in ALL of these areas. You could see it today in the way the Seahawks WILTED after Hasselbeck's first interception. It was if the attitude was "well, we made a big mistake... might as well pack it in, because we are fucked."

No one in the organization should be safe from the scrutiny of the new GM. His first act should be Mora's firing, followed by a brutally honest assessment of the roster. High-priced veterans should be cut or traded (Hasselbeck, Big Walt, Kerney, and Branch are obvious candidates for outright release). Younger players should be made available for the right bounty of draft picks. In free agency, get players who have experience in successful organizations and can show the young guys what it takes to win in the NFL. Only by getting younger, cheaper and nastier will this organization have a chance to return quickly to contention.

Right now, the Seahawks are the worst team playing in the NFL. Despite their 5 wins, they might be the worst squad in team history. In some sense, the good news is that we've hit rock bottom. With the right (albeit painful) moves in the coming months, we can climb out of hell.

December 24, 2009

Happy Christmas, Twelve Army.

26 years ago today, our Seahawks won the first-ever playoff game in team history over the hated Denver Broncos. Things don't look nearly as hopeful in Seahawks Nation tonight, but I'm still thankful that I root for a team with such passionate fans, such a rich, interesting history, the best stadium in the NFL, and a wise Billionaire owner.

We won't be down for long, fellow Twelves.

So use this as a forum to talk about your best Seahawks Xmas memories, and brag about the cool Seahawks crap you score from Santa tomorrow. :-]

December 22, 2009

Everybody Needs to Chill the F**k Out

Let's face it: Seahawks fans can be a hysterical, dramatic bunch. We're also prone to negativity (which I've tried to make this blog an antidote to), so that often means you hear fans talking about how one move made or NOT made means the team is DOOOOMED! DOOOOOOOOMED!

Mike Holmgren taking over the Browns (which I wrote about over on the excellent No Logo Needed blog), coupled with the first consecutive losing seasons for Seattle since the early 90s, has Seahawks fans acting more screamo than usual... "ZOMG! There's no hope for the future! The team is run by Donald Sterling-level incompetent boobs! Paul Allen is going to sell the team back to Ken Behring, who will implode Qwest Field, move the team to L.A., and shower the Space Needle with pig shit!"

Obviously, bad decisions by the front office got the Seahawks to this valley of suckitude, but the assumption that Holmgren was guaranteed to succeed as GM, or that anyone else is destined to fail, is laughably stupid. Let's look at the list of GM candidates Pro Football Talk says the Seahawks are bringing in for interviews:

Cardinals director of player personnel Steve Keim, Chargers director of player personnel Jimmy Raye, Eagles G.M. Tom Heckert, Ravens director of player personnel Eric DeCosta, Packers director of football operations John Schneider, Patriots senior football adviser Floyd Reese, Patriots pro personnel director Jason Licht, Interim Seahawks G.M. Ruston Webster, Chargers consultant Randy Mueller, and 49ers director of player personnel Trent Baalke.

I don't know a ton about these guys specifically, but they're all at least associated with consistently successful teams (with the exception of Baalke and Webster). There's no reason to think any of these guys are drooling morons, and one of them might be football's Theo Epstein for all we know.

That's the other thing. As fans, we're wrong A LOT. I was initially mad when we drafted Lofa Tatupu (as were a lot of other Twelves), and when Epstein traded away Nomar Garciaparra, I was convinced that my Red Sox were frakked. Three months later? World Series Champs.

Bottom line: I don't know if it was the wrong move to let Holmgren walk, and neither do you. Whoever the new GM is, we won't know fuck-all about the guy's skills until we see how the roster he builds performs on the field. Personally, I'd like to see Mora canned because I think he simply doesn't have the right temperament to be a successful head coach. But if he's back in 2010, I'll still renew my season tickets and hope that I'm proven wrong.

For those of you talking about "boycotting" the Seahawks? Fuck you. For realsies. Anyone who would talk about boycotting the team they supposedly love after two bad seasons A) is a fairweather dicktard and B) has no appreciation for how good they've had it this decade. If this is how you really feel, take your Seahawks gear to Goodwill and stock up on Mariners and Sounders stuff. At least I'll know that if I see someone rocking a Carlson jersey, they are a REAL fan.

I've seen the Seahawks be kings of the Seattle sports scene, and I've seen them tumble into lowly serfdom. I don't care about the M's, Sounders, or Huskies, so the Seahawks are MY main emotional connection to my home state. I've endured taunts of Seachickens, Seashits, Seabags, and more from folks festooned in the garb of other Seattle squads, and I've been to games in the Kingdome and Husky Stadium where the stands were half-full or mostly filled by fans of the enemy. And I'm not going anywhere.

Are you? I'm perfectly happy with this blog becoming a haven for dead-ender Twelves, hiding out in the jungle, not knowing or caring that the war is lost. If one bad two-year stretch of football makes you flee, so be it. I'm sure you'll come crawling back when liking the Seahawks is fashionable again.

December 20, 2009

The End of All Things

The Seahawks today proved why Mike Holmgren would have been a terrible choice to lead the franchise into the next decade: He's too loyal and too invested in this franchise. He, like myself, might be sentimental when it comes to players and coaches he shared the glory days with.

We don't need that right now.

We need a Wet Boy, an assassin. Someone with no connection to or investment in the current incarnation of this franchise. We need someone who will cut heroes and legends. We need someone who will trade or release talented guys who are nonetheless too old/expensive. We need someone who will fire a local boy made good after only one season, because that homegrown coach has made Tom Flores look like Chuck Fucking Knox.

The Seahawks are broken. Some parts can be salvaged, but this football team needs to be completely rebuilt, from the front office to the long snapper. I didn't really believe this until today. I clung onto the comforting fiction that Seattle wasn't THAT bad, that we were only some minor tweaks away from contention... I was brutally proved not just wrong, but stupidly naive today.

I haven't been this embarassed to be a Seahawks fan since 1992, and even that awful team could boast the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year, a 1,000 yard rusher, and a memorable MNF win over the hated Broncos. The '09s are a lethargic, rudderless bunch who have shown almost no fighting spirit over fourteen motherfucking games. The blame falls squarely upon Jim Mora, who has quickly become a stain on his father's legacy. Whoever the new GM is, his first act should be to fire the man who sent our team out completely unprepared and unmotivated most Sundays this fall.

I wish I could put some sort of positive spin on this, but I can't. The next moment we are likely to feel any excitement or joy is the shitcanning of Mora, then hopefully some smart moves in Free Agency and the Draft. There will be a lot more unpleasantness though. Walter Jones will have to be cut, as will Hasselbeck unless he accepts a huge pay cut and a diminished role. We're going to have to let go of some decently talented guys in an effort to get younger and cheaper, too.

Frankly, no one SHOULD be safe. No one involved in this disasterous campaign is above scrutiny, and I hope the new boss is a cold hearted, ruthless sumbitch. This is going to get even uglier, and I'm glad Holmgren isn't going to be the one who has to get tits-deep in blood, bile and guts to cure this cancer-ridden team.

Happy Christmas, Everyone!

December 16, 2009

Strength of Victory? Sounds like a Leni Riefenstahl flick...

First of all, the Holmgren thing... If he came back to the Seahawks in some capacity, I'd be pleased. However, I'd totally be OK with him going to Cleveland. It's an AFC team that isn't the Broncos, Raiders or Steelers, and the chances of him ruining his existing Seattle legacy would evaporate. In short, I'd welcome you back with open arms, Big Show, but if you choose Cleveland? Good luck, and I'd look forward to your eventual Ring of Honor and Hall of Fame inductions.

I want to offer some clarifcations on my insane ramblings from yesterday. The Seahawks only path to the playoffs is this one: A four way tie at 8-8 between Seattle, Dallas, New York, and Atlanta, followed by Seattle having the best "strength of victory."

In this scenario, Dallas gets knocked out because they'd lose the head to head tiebreaker with NYG (division tiebreakers are applied first by the NFL). The Giants, Seahawks and Falcons would remain. Each team would have a 6-6 conference record, and there wouldn't be enough common opponent games between the three teams to use that next tiebreaker, so it would go to strength of victory.

Strength of victory is actually how the Seahawks slid into the 2003 playoffs as a Wild Card, and three weeks out from the end of the season it's very hard to project. It's simply the winning percentage of teams you have beaten, and we won't know that for certain until all the games have been played.

What we know now is that the Giants have a solid edge over us in SoV, and Atlanta has a slight advantage. The Seahawks would be helped most here by strong finishes by the Jaguars, Rams, and Lions, and by the Packers and Titans winning their games that aren't against Seattle. Conversely, since NYG beat the Chiefs and Raiders, and Atlanta beat Miami, Carolina and Chicago, we want those suckas to keep losing.

Simple, huh?

The basic parts of the equation are still: Seahawks have to win out, and Dallas has to lose out. Unfortunately, the Niners will also need to lose to either the Rams or Lions as well.

In any case, Go Seahawks!

December 15, 2009

Watch as I continue to torture myself... UPDATED

I stopped gambling on football after I lost money on the Bills four years in a row (though I think I bet on Buffalo the last couple of times out of spite), and I'm only in one fantasy football league (and that's only because I am the Commisioner and I get a charge out of making up the rules). If I'm going to find excitement out of watching the Seahawks these over these final three weeks, I've got to create it myself.

This week, I'm holding onto the Seahawks sub-atomic playoff hopes as a reason to get myself geeked up. Yes, Seattle is still technically alive, though it would take an avalanche of opposition collapses. You can play with various scenarios over on Yahoo! Sports... Here's one that results in the Seahawks reaching the playoffs.

Seahawks would make the playoffs in a 4-way 8-8 tie between Seattle, Cowboys, Giants, and Falcons based on- wait for it- Strength of Victory

The simple parts? Any Seattle loss or Dallas win eliminates the Seahawks. Rooting for the Hawks and against the Cowboys? Shit, I do that anyway.

Holy crap. Ran the numbers again. If ANY of NINE teams win on Sunday, Seahawks are eliminated. (DAL, ATL, SF, BUF, OAK, MIA, PIT, CAR, CHI)

I know a lot of you are utterly disgusted with the Seahawks right now. I am too. However, if by some miracle they can win at Green Bay in addition to besting the Bucs and Titans at home, why shouldn't they make the playoffs over the imploding Giants, Falcons, etc? Plus, we know from terrible first-hand knowledge that an 8-8 team can win in the Wild Card round.

I'm trying to talk myself into this crap at this point. Anyone want to help me get on this bullet train to insanity?

December 14, 2009

The Seahawks are 5-8. The Twelve Army is Not.

Our team is a bedraggled mess. We don't have a GM. The coach is spitefully calling out guys who are playing hurt. To quote Hot Naked Chicks and World Report: Shit Sucks!

Even in these times of woe, we have a responsibility: To fill up Qwest Field and make things as difficult as possible for the enemy. This doesn't change because the guys wearing Seattle unis are mostly a gaggle of lame-os who won't be around after January 3. The Twelve Army still has a chance to prod this team to a 6-2 home record, which frankly would be pretty miraculous.

I'm stuck out in the wilderness of Northwestern Ohio, so I won't be there for the last two home games... but to everyone reading this who is going to those games: Cheer, be loud, don't boo. Really, what's the point of booing this team? Even a 3-0 finish isn't going to stave off sweeping coaching and roster changes, so why not keep it classy up in the stands?

The Seahawks have played 67 regular season and postseason games at Qwest Field, and won 47 of them. Yes, the teams have tended to be pretty good since 2002, but the roar of the Twelves has been the margin between victory and defeat more than once for Seattle's team. We can't let a Bucs or Titans fan walk out of Qwest over the next month thinking "pfft, Qwest Field wasn't THAT loud." Fuck that. Much better for them to stagger out into the night, ears ringing, with the knowledge that Qwest Field is damn near an insane asylum.

Besides Twelve pride, what else can we root for over these last 3 weeks?

-An 8-8 finish seems incredibly unlikely, but is still possible, and would give the organization a nice boost going into the offseason. Even 7-9 just feels way better than 6-10 or 5-11.

-Matt Hasselbeck only needs 329 passing yards to become the all-time franchise leader in that category. Hopefully he can rack up those yards this week in front of us Twelves, against the 3rd worst defense in the NFL.

-In the season finale, Chris Johnson might be gunning for Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record. Even though we won the "Emmitt Smith breaks Walter Payton's record" game, it's still lame to see Seattle as the victimized team in that NFL Films footage. I don't need to see another example of a guy setting a major record against my team.

What do you think, sirs?

December 13, 2009

I Admit It: The Seahawks Suck.

Even the most negative creep in all of the Twelve Army couldn't have guessed that the Seahawks would utterly dishonor and disgrace us today. Lose? OK, fine... We all knew that the Seahawks hadn't won a road game outside the division in over two calendar years. But look even more pathetic than they did against the Cowboys, Vikings and Colts? That's unacceptable, and if they had any pride the Seahawks would offer themselves up voluntarily to get pelted with rotten fruit by the general public.

After this pathetic display, no one is safe from a purge by the forthcoming regime. I agree with John Morgan over at Field Gulls that Coach Mora is probably going to be one of the first casualties after the season ends. The Seahawks have been even less competitive in 10 am games than usual this season, getting blasted by an aggregate score of 168-77. That falls squarely upon the head coach, who has consistently failed to prepare this team to compete on the road.

The offense looks headed for a complete demolition, with even Hasselbeck vulnerable to the big, ugly ax. The defense is less pathetic, but big changes are probably coming on that side of the ball as well after another implosion of the pass defense on the road.

Admittedly, I was willfully blind to all the evidence that the Seahawks have crumbled into a twitching mass of suckitude... Today's game was like a rotten, stinking fish smacking me across the face. I still hope for wins these last three weeks, but I no longer have any realistic expectations of anything better than a 6-10 finish. If the Seahawks win their last two home games, it will be more a testament to the home field advantage granted by the Twelve Army than the Seahawks' coaching acumen or on-field talent.

Right now, us Twelves do not have a team worthy of our efforts. We will still cheer and scream to defend our own reputation, but the Seahawks as a team are at their lowest point since 1992. In less than a month, the rebuild begins. Let it be a quick rise back to respectability.

December 9, 2009

Don't Believe the Hype. You Haven't Seen the Last of the Green Jerseys.

Yeah, yeah, most of y'all are celebrating after Coach Mora's announcement that the lime green alt jerseys are "retired." Unfortunately for the bright green haters, this "retirement" is more like when a butler says he's going to bed than when Rick Deckard would ice a replicant.

Do you really think they bothered to introduce these jerseys and pimp the hell out of them to only wear them one time EVER? Pfft. No. Hell No. We won't see them again this season, but I guarantee they'll be back in 2010 after Coach Mora does some verbal backpedaling on the subject. The team didn't pour the resources into designing the jerseys and doing market research on their commercial viability, followed by dressing the players in them, only to create a weird footnote in franchise history.

I will say this: Keep the lime greens to wear a couple times a year. I'm fine with that. But it's also time to go throwback.... as I've said before, Dec. 20 against the Bucs would be the perfect time for the Seahawks to dress like it's 1976.

What do you think, sirs?

December 8, 2009

PS: I am not a crackpot.

The joyous news in Seahawks Nation this week was the dramatic win over the 49ers, of course. Unfortunately, despite that win, our chances of making the playoffs by winning out and finishing 9-7 plummeted from 21% to 9% thanks to some unfavorable results in other games. Here is the simplest summary of the scenario that gets the Seahawks a wild card berth in the NFC playoffs:

Seahawks win out + GB loses 3 + NYG loses 3 OR DAL loses 4 OR PHI loses 4 + ATL loses 2 + CAR, SF, and CHI all lose 1 = PLAYOFFS

You might notice that I haven't included the NFC West title as a possibility. It's still technically possible, but in addition to Seattle winning out, Arizona would have to LOSE out, including losses to the Lions and Rams. That aint happening.

The Seahawks have not only lost too many games, they've also lost the WRONG games. If Seattle wins out, they'd have a 6-6 conference record, which is the next wild card tie breaker after head-to-head. That's not going to be good enough to beat anyone else contending for a wild card spot in the NFC, so a LOT of teams need to finish 8-8 to give the Seahawks a shot. Also, the Seahawks would lose head-to-head tiebreakers with Dallas and Chicago, the division-record tiebreaker with SF, and the common-games tiebreaker with ATL.

The key teams are really Green Bay and NYG. The Seahawks would edge out the Packers if both teams finished 9-7, because one of Seattle's wins would be over GB. If one assumes Dallas and Philly get, say, the 4 and 5 seeds, the Giants would still stand in Seattle's way. Simply put, the Hawks need both the Packers and Giants to lose 3 of 4 from here on out.

Yes, I know all of this seems HIGHLY implausible, but the good news is that the Seahawks will still be alive next Tuesday morning if they leave Houston with a victory. For now, that's plenty good enough for me. Here's a list of the results that would be MOST helpful to the Seahawks this weekend (which, admittedly, is a matter of opinion to some extent):

Saints over Falcons
Bears over Packers
Patriots over Panthers
Chargers over Cowboys
Eagles over Giants
Cardinals over Niners

What do you think, sirs?

December 6, 2009

Seahawks 20, 49ers 17

Oh, San Fransisco, let me taste your tears!!!

Let me say this clearly: Fuck the Niners. Fuck 'em. For all the bluster and chest-beating and media slobbering over them, these Niners haven't accomplished DICK yet. Nothing. Zilch. 2009 will be ANOTHER season that will end with them in their usual place: sitting at home, watching the playoffs. Once again, with feeling: FUCK the Niners.

All week all we heard about was how Coach Bug Eyes and the big, mean 49ers were going to come into Seattle, pistol whip our players, pillage Pioneer Square and generally lay waste to all things Seahawks. Mr. Commercial Star Mike Singletary would motivate his talented minions to subjugate our poor, defenseless Seahawks on their way to reclaiming what the media sees as the SF birthright: the NFC West title.

The Seahawks decided not to play the victim in this perfectly composed narrative. Of course, it helped that Singletary passed up 3 sure points by arrogantly going for it on 4th and goal early in the game. It also helped that the over-rated Frank Gore killed a Niners scoring drive in the 4th by coughing up the ball, and that Michael Crabtree was scared shitless by a charging Lawyer Milloy on what could have been SF's winning TD in the waning minutes.

Others can dwell on 49er mistakes, though. The Seahawks took this game. It wasn't given to them. Seattle has been derided for lacking mental toughness, but today the Seahawks proved to be the team with the steelier resolve. To some degree, you have to credit Matt Hasselbeck's veteran leadership as the difference. Despite a very frustrating offensive performance overall, Beck avoided the big mistake and made a perfect game-changing throw to Deon Butler. Alex Smith had better numbers, but couldn't get the Niners in the end zone to take the lead late in the game.

Be proud of the Seahawks today, Twelve Army. Your team had plenty of excuses to implode, but they fought to double-zeros and won. Don't dwell on the imperfections, but revel in the damage we've done to the playoff hopes of a hated foe. Rejoice that we've got another week of meaningful football to look forward to, and a winnable game against the flaky 5-7 Texans.

I told y'all that the Seahawks could win their last six games. Two down and four to go, huh? The NFC West Crown is AZ's again, but there's still that tiny chance for Seattle to win a wild card spot in the postseason. With all the speculation and uncertainty swirling around this organization, the Hawks have shown some heart by stringing two wins together for the first time all season. They can do more. I believe.

Do you?

December 4, 2009

300 Minutes Left?

To an outsider, these might seem like "meaningless" games down the stretch, but such is the myopia of many casual "fans." These last five games will influence scores of personnel decisions for the forthcoming VMAC administration, including the fate of Seattle's most well-known and probably most popular player.

I vividly remember when I first heard that the Seahawks had sealed the long-rumored trade to acquire Green Bay back-up QB Matt Hasselbeck. I was at a Steve's Dakota Grill in Findlay, Ohio with my wife and a couple of her friends, and when the Hasselbeck deal was announced on ESPN I pounded on the table and let out a squeal of delight. Holmgren had his QB of the future. WE had OUR franchise quarterback. No more Kitna, no more Huard. Hasselbeck had been "Mr. August" for the Packers and I fervently hoped he'd be Mr. January for us.

At the first opportunity, I ran out and bought a Hasselbeck jersey, but like everyone else in the Twelve Army I was let down by his performance in 2001. I won't lie: After Dilfer took the reigns, I thought HE'D be the man for a spell, and Beck would join Gale Gilbert, Kelly Stouffer, Dan McGwire, Rick Mirer and Jon Kitna as failed "QBs of the future."

Thankfully everyone, including me, was dead wrong. Matt Hasselbeck blossomed into the best quarterback who ever put on a Seahawks uniform, and came damn close to bringing a World Championship back to Seattle. Now, slowed by injuries and hitting his mid-30s, there is rampant speculation that his days as the Seahawks QB are numbered.

There's lot of rational evidence that Beck's skills are diminishing, and that the Seahawks need to find his replacement in next year's draft (most of which you can find over on Field Gulls). My problem is that when it comes to Beck, I'm pretty irrational. I feel a personal bond with him based on his personality, our near-exact ages, and his years of success in Seattle despite absorbing brutal punishment. He's my favorite player by far, and I don't want his time with Seattle to end on a down note. Over these last five games, I want him to make the case that the Seahawks don't need to run out and spend a first round pick on someone like Colt McCoy.

The more clear-eyed and cutthroat folks out there probably see this as folly: Hasselbeck is clearly spent! There's no room for sentimentality! There's probably even some people out there rooting for Beck to stink it up over these last five games, just to remove all doubt about his future as Seattle's starter. It's entirely possible that a rough finish for Beck this season could lead to the new regime cutting #8 loose, and then we might see him linger in the league as a back-up for a few years like Krieg did before him. Backing up Tom Brady in New England would seem like a natural fit given his Boston roots, but this is too depressing to contemplate.

I want to see Beck make the next GM's decision about the QB position complex and difficult. Over these last five games, I want Beck to go all Dave-Krieg-in-1986 on everyone's asses. If you're old enough, you remember the magical final month of the '86 season. This was the absolute peak of Dave Krieg's career: Over a 5-0 stretch he fired 11 touchdowns and one lonely interception. His QB rating? 130.96. Of course, Krieg was a spry 28-year-old in 1986, not a 34-year-old warhorse.

The end of Dave Krieg's Seahawks saga also is a word if caution for the team's incoming leadership. Krieg was tossed out into the street when he still had productive years left, and Seattle went through a dark decade vainly groping around for the answer at quarterback. Even if a young stud is drafted, it would be wise to keep Hasselbeck and his voluminous football knowledge in the Seahawks fold (for vastly reduced pay, of course... Hermes Conrad-style).

This Sunday, I hope not just for a win, but for something special from The Objectivist. Either way, I plan to appreciate what might be our last month watching this man lead our team.

Good luck, Hass!

December 3, 2009

The Ruskell Legacy

There's an NFL Films clip of D.J. Hackett's game-changing catch-and-run in OT against the Giants in 2005, and in the background you can see a doughy front-office type jumping up and down like a winner on The Price is Right. That suit was Tim Ruskell, and even though his departure was inevitable and probably necessary, we shouldn't forget that he was part of the brain trust that got us to XL, won three division titles from 05-07 and notched four of the seven postseason wins in franchise history.

8-19 over the last two years is nothing to be proud of, but before 2007 the Seahawks were 36-19 under Ruskell. A 44-38 overall record isn't going to get anyone in the Hall of Fame, but we've certainly seen far worse 5-year stretches in Seahawks lore...

Ruskell's legacy won't be entirely understood for years, but just based on the one NFC title Seattle won under his stewardship, I'd give the guy a thumbs up.

Now the final five games of 2009 are auditions for the next boss, Seahawks. Why not win them, huh?

December 1, 2009

For those of you still interested in THIS season....

Our team is 4-7, and it seems like every Seahawks blog besides this one has already moved on to performing autopsies on the 2009 squad. Seattle's football team might be comatose, but so was Steven Segal in Hard to Kill... Then he woke up, laid waste to his enemies and hooked up with Kelly LeBrock.

Yeah, yeah, our team probably won't miraculously reach the postseason, but there's still a chance. Until we lose another game, there's no reason for the Twelve Army to abandon hope. If the Seahawks win out, they have a 21% chance of making the playoffs. Those chances are slimmer than DJ Lance Rock, but it's enough to keep me focused on THESE Seahawks, rather than the theoretical team of the future.

If you're keeping the faith, if you're as batshit crazy as I am, I'm here to give you mental ammunition. It might just be self-deluding propaganda, but it you're a dead-ender Soldier of Twelve, I'm here to give you some reason to believe.

First, it's time to leave the bodies of the 49ers broken and splayed out all over the Qwest fieldturf. The continuing media love affair with these jokers is based almost entirely on the tough-guy bluster of Mike Singletary rather than results on the field... Seattle and SF have both beaten the Rams twice, and the Jags at home. The difference? SF knocked out Hass and beat us in week two, which directly led to our narrow loss to Chicago. SF, with their starting QB, barely beat the Bears. Despite public perceptions, there isn't much separation between these two teams, and the Niners are still a team the Seahawks SHOULD beat at home.

Beyond this Sunday, the Seahawks have the 3rd easiest remaining schedule in the NFL. While winning out is unlikely, there isn't a game left on the schedule which seems absolutely hopeless, like our trips to Indy and Minnesota. The Texans are only 2-4 at home in 2009, and while that game in Green Bay after Xmas looks tough, the Pack are a not-exactly-fearsome 7-5 at Lambeau since September 2008.

Assuming the Hawks win on Sunday (which I think will change some minds about Seattle), here's the other games that are important this weekend, with the results that help the Hawks:

Falcons over Eagles, Ravens over Packers: If GB and Philly get to 10 wins, we are eliminated from the Wild Card race. Them being brought back to the pack is imperative.

Vikings over Cardinals: Not that I'm happy Warner got concussed, but no Seahawks fan needs to apologize about our guys possibly BENEFITING from an opposing player getting injured for once. If the Cards get to nine wins, we're out in terms of the NFC West race, so each AZ loss helps keep us alive a little longer.

Cowboys over Giants, Rams over Bears, Bucs over Panthers: In terms of the Wild Card, each of these results would hurt a team ahead of or tied with the Seahawks right now.

So there's your daily dose of crazy... What do you think, sirs?

November 30, 2009

Seahawks 27, Rams 17

No NFL team should ever apologize for a win fairly earned. Those out there who want to minimize or disregard today's win in St. Louis show their lack of respect for the team they supposedly root for and the sport they follow.

Let's face it, the general reaction to last week's loss in Minnesota was "The Seahawks fucking SUCK!" Very few people graded Seattle on a curve because they were playing a Super Bowl contender. The loss "counted." Playing Favre, Purple Jesus, Hutch, Jared Allen, etc? Who gives a shit? You still lost, losers.

However, many of the same people want to give the Seahawks NO credit for a win today, because it was against a team deemed "less than." I call bullshit on that. You can't have it both ways. Are the Seahawks an elite team? Hell no. They're 4-7, and there's no way to spin that in a positive way. However, they have a collection of some pretty good players, and they still have something to play for.

Sure, there's the vanishingly small chance of winning out and making the playoffs, but that's not what I'm talking about. If it's true that Ruskell will not return, all these guys are auditioning for the next boss, whether it's Holmgren, Mueller, or somebody else. There's also the chance to destroy the playoff dreams of up to four teams down the stretch, including those preening fake tough guys from down the coast next week.

Yes, the Niners come to Qwest next Sunday, and this week will be a marathon of media blather about how SF is going to roll into Seattle and leave it a smoldering ruin, pillaged of its football honor. I say fuck that noise. I say the Seahawks, with the might of the Twelve Army behind them, can and WILL win. I'm not afraid of Mike Singletary. Vernon Davis? Frank Gore? Alex Smith? Patrick Willis? Michael Crabtree? Just guys. Just a 5-6 team. Nothing special. They can be had. The Seahawks are 20-7 at Qwest all-time against opponents with losing records.

For now, we have a meaningful game against a divisional rival at home next week. Lose? I'll admit that all hope is lost, cover my face in ash and gnash my teeth in grief. Win? We get to huddle around the flickering fires that warm the hearts of us dead-ender, delusional fans for another week.

November 27, 2009

Looking for Seahawks Stuff for Xmas? Why not buy from DKSB?

Remember... When you buy from my amazon store, you're getting great Seahawks merchandise AND helping out your favorite unemployed, bedraggled blogger.

Happy Xmas, everyone!

November 24, 2009

More Ramblings from Captain Insano...

A very common cognitive bias is to overvalue recent events. Recently, the Seahawks have been playing terrible football, and this has led to near unanimity in this sentiment: The Seahawks gargle monkey nuts.

But wait! This team HAS posted two shutouts. They DID outplay Arizona for much of the game a couple of weeks ago. Seattle football isn't just a boundless ocean of fucktardery and suckitude... We've seen flashes of competence, even moments of dominance. Is it possible that part of the problem is that we've played a bunch of very good teams?

If you look at the current records of Seahawk opponents, Seattle has played two 9-1 teams, A 7-3 team three times, a 6-4 team, two 4-6 teams, and two 1-9 teams. The remaining sked? Two 1-9 teams, two 4-6 teams, a 5-5 team and a 6-4 team. If the Seahawks rally against weaker opponents, will that performance be exalted? Dismissed?

If you look at the records of teams on the day that they faced the Seahawks, Seattle has gone 0-5 against teams with winning records, 2-2 against teams that were .500, and 1-0 against teams with losing records. It's HIGHLY likely that five of Seattle's last six opponents will sport losing records when they face the Seahawks on the gridiron. As Disco Stu might say, "if these trends continue? Ayyyyyyyyyy."

Are the Seahawks going to win their last 6 games? Probably not... But it's more possible than anyone out there wants to admit. Four or even five wins? Completely plausible. The "lose out to get a high draft pick" crowd might not like to hear this, but these Seahawks are going to win some games over the final stretch of this season.

So many people out there are absolutely convinced that Seahawks are the suckiest bunch of sucks who ever sucked. What if they claw back to the 7-9 to 9-7 range? Idiots will still say "Seachickens suck!" But reality, as usual, is far more complex.

Don't give up on your team just yet, Soldiers of Twelve.

November 23, 2009

Use Your Delusions

I've spent most of the last 24 hours in a haze of anger and depression, thinking about the draft, thinking about the idea of The Big Show returning, etc. You know what I've decided? I'm not ready to face stupid reality quite yet. For at least one more week, I'm more than willing to fool myself that there is something left to fight for this season. If you want to join me in the padded room, here's some ammo for you...

The Seahawks looked atrocious yesterday, but they were also playing a very formidable Super Bowl contender. This week? It's the 1-9 Rams, who haven't beat our guys since the 2004 NFC Wild Card game. A lot of you are so disgusted right now, that you think we won't even beat STL... Thankfully, you're wrong. Pfft, right? Who gives a shit? 4-7.

Ahh yes, but a week later, we come home to face the 49ers. After what happened back in week two, the Hawks BETTER be geeked for this one. Yes, Seattle is 2-4 over the last 6 games. The Niners? They're 1-5. As rough as things have looked this season, the Hawks have only served one outright crapburger at Qwest (the big loss to AZ). SF is a team we can and SHOULD beat at home. Ho hum. 5-7. Meh.

December 13 at the Texans, for our first trip to Houston since 1994. After two straight wins, the Seahawks have built up a bit of confidence... They catch the inconsistent Texans wallowing in complacency, and pull off an upset win. 6-7, and things are getting interesting.

The Hawks come home to play the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay stupidly fails to wear the creamsicle throwbacks, and the suddenly hot Seahawks (resplendent in the lime green alts) lay a beating on them. 7-7.

Then, it's at Lambeau on December 27th. The graveyard of Seattle playoff hopes many times before... Green Bay comes in 8-6 and fighting for their postseason lives, but Al Harris isn't around to pick off Hasselbeck, and the Hawks pull off another stunning upset. 8-7, and very much alive.

The regular season finale against Tennessee is a win-and-in scenario for Seattle. Qwest is rocking like it's 2005, and even the Vince Young-led, revitalized Titans don't stand a chance against the onslaught of the Hawks D and the twelve army. 9-7! The Seahawks squeeze into the 5th spot in the NFC playoffs, earning a Wild Card trip to.... Glendale, AZ to play the Cardinals.

Yes, it probably won't happen. But for at least one more week, it's theoretically possible, and I'm clinging to that like it's the last stimutax on Sealab.

November 22, 2009

If Chuck Knox was were dead, he'd be spinning in his grave.

We all were pretty sure Seattle was going to lose today, but the manner in which they lost was shameful. It was a comprehensive, team-wide fail of epic proportions; one so embarrassing and incompetent that it puts the jobs of all but a handful of personnel at risk.

Yes, the Vikings are an excellent team, but there's no reason Seattle couldn't have made a more competitive showing (particularly when the lowly Chiefs defeated the World Champions just minutes after our game ended). There's no reason ANY NFL team should be held to 4 yards rushing, no matter how stout the opposing defense is. There's no reason our defense should allow an opposing QB to go 22 for 25, even if it's Brett Favre playing at an All-Pro level. There's no reason that we should be so absolutely maladroit in these 10 am road games when other teams find ways to prevail in the same situations.

This is an organizational failure, and regardless of the results over the final 6 games (which may be respectable), big changes need to be made to avoid tumbling into an early-90s-ish abyss. I'm going to officially come out in support of hiring Mike Holmgren as the new Master and Commander of All Things Seahawks. Let him hire a GM and Head Coach who will carry out his organizational vision, and we'll see if Seattle's greatest coach can create a new era of Seahawks glory.

Some other observations from today, shamelessly cut and pasted from my twitter feed:

-Since that 41-0 blowout at Qwest, Seahawks are 1-4. Jaguars? 4-1.

-Anyone who claims to be a Seahawks fan and wants us to LOSE at STL next week is a moron and a traitor. Just saying. The Seahawks still have four very winnable games on the schedule, and yes, I want them to win all of them.

-In their last two games wearing the white jerseys and blue pants, both in Minnesota, 6 years apart, the Seahawks were outscored 69-16.

-Saddest thing you'll read today, from Yahoo! Sports... SEA Top Performer: J. Forsett, 8 carries, 9 yards, 1 TD.

-Anyone else think Minnesota is going to XLIV? I've got them losing to Indianapolis in Miami at this point.

-Will the Seahawks be a legit contender by the time the Steelers come to Qwest in 2011 for the biggest regular season game EVAR? Discuss!

UPDATE: Thanks to loyal reader Toftie for correcting by awful grammar in the title. She writes...

Because I love you and because I think you're brilliant, I have to correct a
grammar error so no one thinks you are just a douchebag fan (instead of the
god that you are). You DKSB entry about Chuck Knox. It's "If Chuck Knox
WERE dead...." not "was dead." At least in everything I've been taught.

That was free. No charge for that. :)

Here's a bonus pic of Toftie and I kicking it at Qwest at the Rams game in September. She = awesome.

November 18, 2009

No Revenge for us Nerds

I used to dread getting up and going to high school back in the day. This is what every day held for me back then: Boring classes, social isolation, terrible food, having to hang out with friends I didn't really like (but whose company was better than being completely alone), pining for girls I had absolutely no chance to ever date, and the very real possibility of getting dumped face first into a garbage can by the popular jocks. I would meet every school day with a weary, exhausted sigh.

That's what the lead-up to Sunday's game feels like for me. Another shitty day at high school.

I'd love to be the optimist here, but unless Brett Favre suddenly and completely reverts to "golly gee shucks, I'm gonna just chuck it into a clump of 4 DBs" mode, we are FUCKED. The talent gap between these two teams is massive, and it's a 10 am pacific road game against a team with a winning record.

On top of that, we've got the Hutch thing to deal with this week, which while totally played out, is still a reminder of Seattle's biggest organizational fuck-up of this decade.

It's very sad that things have gotten to this point, but I just want the Seahawks to go out and play with emotion and intensity. Just don't get embarrassed, guys.

And as this season threatens to start circling the drain, it's getting harder than usual to deal with our franchise's clear status as 2nd-class citizens in the NFL. Do you really think that Darnell Dockett would even be playing this weekend if he had jammed his elbow onto Brady, Manning, or Brees' larynx? Hell no. But we're the Seahawks, so who gives a fuck, right? Just imagine if Brandon Mebane did that to Favre on Sunday. You'd see a shower of yellow flags, an ejection, a suspension and a giant-ass fine.

So just like I did damn near 20 years ago, I'll get up, go through the motions, and just try to survive the day on Sunday. At least I won't have to go to gym class this time around... or eat cafeteria food.

November 16, 2009

Unfounded, Uninformed, Wild Speculation

Today we get the sad reports that Paul Allen has been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Obviously, we all wish the Seahawks' owner a speedy and full recovery, but I have to wonder if this might have an effect on the decisions Allen must make about the future of the team.

Mike Holmgren is transparently angling for a Parcells-like "football czar" position with the Seahawks, and my initial read is that Allen's condition makes this more likely to happen in the off-season. Allen and The Big Show have always had a great relationship, and it makes sense that the owner would want a trusted, proven commodity (who just happens to be one of the most important figures in franchise history) running the team.

A seriously ill owner is a terrible source of uncertainty for a team to deal with. Holmgren's steady, skilled hand would lessen this institutional anxiety considerably. Barring a spectacular turnaround from the 2009 Hawks in the next seven games, I think the momentum is cleary building for Mike Holmgren's return next year.

What do you think, sirs?

November 15, 2009

I Fear We Can Only Wave Goodbye

Seattle's realistic hopes of winning the NFC West quietly died today, and the way those hopes slipped away was particularly depressing. For most of the game, the Seahawks played their best football of 2009, but all that got us was an 11-point defeat.

I was pleased to see Seattle play with urgency and intensity, and those qualities might stave off mathematical elimination for a few more weeks. 7-9 is still a realistic goal, which would be a 3-win improvement over 2008 and avoid the stigma of double-digit losses.

Inevitably, however, the Twelve Army is going to start thinking about 2010, with the imposing spectre of Mike Holmgren's possible return (in some capacity) looming over everything. I'm undecided about The Big Show returning at this point, given that these last 7 games are going to have some effect on what this team's future looks like. My gut feeling is that it's at least worth considering, since it looks like the team's major rebuild is going to come on the offensive side of the ball.

It's unpleasant to know an era of great team success is ending, and also to know we are entering a period of vast change and uncertainty. The good news is that I doubt we'll be out of the playoffs for 10 seasons, like we were from 1989-1998... The difference in ownership between Behring and Allen is great enough that a quick return to the postseason is plausible. But I'm scared shitless knowing that we need a franchise QB and an elite LT, and SOON.

Of course, there's that loony part of me that says "hey, we're only two games out of the wild card!" Goddamn I'm great at torturing myself, huh?

Side note: Fuck the Cardinals. Fuck Darnell Dockett and his dirty play. Fuck Beanie Wells and Fuck Kurt Warner. They are an undisciplined, inconsistent gaggle of schmucks, and I have nothing but loathing and contempt for them. I hope they get blown out in the Wild Card round, accompanied by a spectacular array of injuries.


November 13, 2009

No Excuses

The Seahawks are about as healthy as they are going to get this season going into Sunday's Glendale Deathmatch, with Sean Locklear set to step in a left tackle. Over the last year and half the Seahawks have been dogged by a ridiculously high rate of injuries that even the most talented of teams couldn't be expected to overcome, but here we are... The season on the line, with the most talented line-up we'll be able to muster for this campaign.

Regardless of whether or not the Seahawks reach the playoffs, the final eight games of this season are going to shape the short and long-term future of this team. Rally to an 8-8 or 9-7 finish? We'll probably see some big moves but not a complete razing of the team as it's currently built. Collapse to 5-11 or 6-10? Paul Allen would have every justification to bring in new management, new coaches, and LOTS of new players.

I know a lot of you are of the mindset that you want the Seahawks to implode, so higher draft picks are obtained, people in management you don't like are replaced, etc. To those of you who think this way, I don't know what I feel more towards you: Pity or disdain.

What is it like to root for your team to lose? To be UNHAPPY when they win? What is it like to be a miserable, curdled bastard?

Yes, I'd rather see the Seahawks finish 8-8 and miss the playoffs than go 4-12 again and get a better draft pick. You know why? Because losing sucks, and each time this team ends a game defeated, I die a little bit inside. Rooting for your team to lose is ultimately futile anyway, because

A) There's no guarantee that a high first round pick will be any better than a mid-or-late first rounder.
B) There is, however, a guarantee that the higher pick will COST more, and hamper the team's ability to sign free agents.
C) If you were a free agent, and the money was the same, would you go to the team that finished 8-8 last season or the team that finished 4-12?
D) The players on the team now have NO incentive to dog it so the team gets a higher draft pick. They are not only professionals, they also don't want to help the team draft their replacement. In addition, they want their good performance to be recognized by current management and other organizations, in case they get cut loose.

If Seattle loses Sunday, you'll start hearing the chorus of fucktards who will bitch each time the Seahawks win a "meaningless" game the rest of this season. These people deserve our scorn, ridicule, and a good old-fashioned cock-punching.

But, I clearly don't think the Seahawks WILL lose on Sunday. They are going to win, and they are going to be fighting for the postseason until the final quarter against the Titans next January. They have no excuse not to.

November 8, 2009

Seahawks 32, Lions 20

A lot of people want to dismiss this victory, but I've been watching this team since R.E.M. was just an obscure indie band, and I can tell you this: In Seahawks history we've seen plenty of examples of a 17-0 deficit turning into a 41-0 humiliation. Big comebacks have never been common for Seattle, but today the Hawks shook off one of the worst quarters of football ever played by mankind and found a way to win.

Of course the Lions lent us a hand via their overall shittiness, but the Seahawks held up their end of the deal. Hasselbeck was mistake-free after that awful opening pick, and the offense found ways to move the ball in spite of a still-pathetic running game. Mare also banged through four FGs (the winning margin), but I haven't heard many huzzahs pointed his way... Thanks Olindo!

The defense was the story yet again, holding Detroit to a field goal over the last three quarters and intercepting Stafford five times. At least at home, Seattle's D has been mostly impressive this season (and a key asset for my fantasy football team).

There's plenty to nitpick about today's victory, but I refuse to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. The Seahawks are still playing meaningful football, and if that doesn't make you happy I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion (so to speak).

There's already a line around the block of folks giving Seattle no chance in Glendale next Sunday (Mike Sando, I'm looking in your direction), but now, in full view of the football blog-reading public, I guarantee a Seahawks win over Arizona.

The Cardinals have already lost three home games, two of them to teams with losing records... What one team can do, another can do. The Seahawks WILL win.

If they don't, I'll admit the season is over and shut the fuck up as the voice of irrational optimism.... stay tuned.

November 6, 2009

My Attempt to Win That Signed Beck Practice Jersey...

My friend Woody and I, being jackasses in the TWO old school Hasselbeck jerseys I once owned...

November 5, 2009

A Grim, Joyless Death March

This Sunday the Detroit Lions come to town, and while that's good news for a Seattle team that desperately needs a win, it's a rough assignment for the Twelve Army. Why?

This isn't a game anyone could possibly get excited about, because A) If the Seahawks win, even in blowout fashion, the collective reaction of the football world will be "so?" and B) If Seattle somehow loses, it would be an terrible, intensely embarrassing low-point in franchise history.

How low? Detroit hasn't won a road game in over two years. The Lions are 0-15 away from Ford Field since October 28, 2007. Not only would a loss on Sunday be humiliating and season-killing for the Seahawks, it would be a "Carrie at the prom" level embarrassment for the Twelve Army. Just think about it: How can we claim to provide a huge home field advantage if one of the worst road teams in NFL history wins at Qwest?

We came close to a loss this humiliating against 1-8 Miami in 2004, but Michael Boulware bailed us out with a late game-winning interception return TD. If Sunday's game is even a close win like that, it will be hard to whip up much hope for the rest of this season.

However, the best case scenario looks like this: Fading Kurt Warner throws a few more picks in an Arizona loss at Chicago... The Seahawks convincingly blow Detroit out, and Vince Young somehow rallies the Titans to an upset win at Candlestick. If that happens, next week's game in Glendale will be for 1st place in the NFC West.

Yup, despite everything traumatic and craptacular we've endured this season, we could be in first place 11 days from now. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean that watching the game on Sunday is going to be much fun, unless the Hawks run out to a big early lead and allow all of us to exhale a bit.

Those of you going to the game? You know the drill. Make Stafford's ears bleed. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Jeez. I'm making myself nauseous just thinking about this game.

November 2, 2009

The Path

As you know, I'm not giving up on the 2009 Seahawks just yet. I've poured over the schedules of the three NFC West contenders AND the NFL tie-breaking procedures. The Seahawks can win the west with an 8-8 record, but they'd obviously need help from other teams around the league. Here's how the playoffs could still happen for the Seahawks... Wins for each team are in bold.

A few things of note:

1. The Niners win any scenario where there is a 3-way tie at 8-8, because they would most likely have the best record in "common games." So the Twelve Army has to hope SF limps to 7-9.

2. The Seahawks MUST win at Arizona in two weeks. There's no plausible path to the playoffs without a victory here, and later at home v. SF. If they lose either game, I will admit that yes, the season is over.

3. I truly believe that almost everything I've laid out is plausible. The least likely part of this scenario? A Jaguars win at Candlestick.

4. The Seahawks make this a LOT simpler by getting to nine wins, but a 7-2 finish feels like a fantastical notion. 6-3 with our schedule? Doable.

I know a lot of you out there are scoffing, rolling your eyes, and/or making a wanking motion. Fine. But if that's your reaction to me trying to give the Twelve Army a glimmer of hope, I wonder why you even bother watching the rest of the season. We watch the games because we want Seattle to win, don't we?

Let's get past the Lions on Sunday, then the season is on the line in Glendale after that.

November 1, 2009

Delusion and Defiance

The Seahawks sucked today, and people are writing obituaries. They're working on concession speeches and articles of surrender. The message from everywhere I've looked on the internets? The 2009 Seahawks are dead, and the vultures are tearing the rotting flesh from their bones.

I've been watching this team for over a quarter century, and I remember the days where I'd furiously pore over the schedule to figure out what had to happen for the Seahawks to somehow worm their way into the postseason. Most of the time I was just giving myself false hope, but it sure made the rest of the games more entertaining until mathematical elimination spoiled my fun. I'm back to doing that, and I'm here to tell you that this season isn't over... quite yet.

2-5 is a shitty record, and right now the Seahawks are playing like an overpaid UFL team. But the fact is Seattle stands only two games out of first place in the NFC West, and there is a plausible scenario where the Hawks could be tied for first at 4-5 in two weeks time... I'll give you details about the Seahawks path to the playoffs later this week, but for now just trust me when I say that path hasn't been torn up into impassable rubble just yet.

If the Rams can beat the Lions, so can we! If the Panthers can win at Glendale, so can we! I'm not ready to give up. I'm Ed Harris, the Seahawks are Mary Elisabeth Mastrantonio, and I'm not giving up until they start hacking up seawater and gasping for air.

I know I sound like a deluded, insane homer. Who wants to join me in this padded room? Who is fucking WITH ME????

October 31, 2009

Jealousy and Dread

I have only the most casual interest in soccer, but I think I'm more into it than the average American sports fan. I watch the World Cup pretty closely, and if a Premiere League game is on, I won't change the channel. I've even been to 7-8 MLS games in Columbus, but mostly for "buck-a-brat" nights.

I was happy to see the Sounders succeed this season, but I've also had some less charitable feelings towards Seattle's MLS team. Mostly, I'm jealous of their instant rise to respectability and their status as the "cool" sports team in Seattle now. A huge number of my friends have Sounders season tickets, and some have gotten into it enough to start talking shit about the Seahawks.

Of course, that REALLY pisses me off, because it brings back the bad old days from 95-02 when Mariners fans would OPENLY piss on me for being a Seahawks fan. I remember I was out for a visit right after 9/11, and on the following Sunday, I was supposed to go to the Seahawks/Chiefs game, but it was postponed until the end of that season.

I was out at breakfast with a friend, and I was lamenting the fact that there wasn't a game that day. I understood why there was no game, but watching the Seahawks would have cheered ME up, at least. This total stranger in Mariners garb decides to chime in with "pffft. Seahawks? Who gives a crap about THEM?"

With murder in my eyes, I said "I do. And when did you get that M's gear? October of '95?"

So yeah, I'm hyper-sensitive to the Seahawks being anything but #1 on the Seattle sports landscape. I think it would be great if the Sounders won the MLS Cup, but part of me would be upset about a team winning it all in their first season, while my Seahawks are still waiting for a title after 33 years in the NFL. I just hope they don't lose to a team wearing Steelers colors (The Crew) in the MLS Cup because of awful officiating.

Back to our Seahawks: I'd love to give a pep talk, but I feel nothing but absolute dread about this game on Sunday. I'm going to go to a bar and watch, as always, but I'm not excited about it. I feel like I'm going in for a root canal or an IRS audit, not to watch my favorite team play. I'm watching more out of loyalty and obligation than because of any realistic hope the Seahawks will win the game.

...and that's the insanity of my fandom. If I was rational, I'd dump the struggling Seahawks, and pop on a Sounders FC jersey. I'm much more likely to enjoy the thrill of victory from Seattle's soccer team right now, and each Seahawks loss is like a dagger jabbing into my mind. However, if I did that, I'd feel like the biggest doucheschmuck of all time.

I'm not trying to hate on Sounders fans, particularly those of you in Seattle. It's hard to slap the "bandwagoner" label on fans of a first-year team, and that's not what I'm trying to do. But for me personally, adopting the Sounders seems oddly disloyal.

Yeah, that probably sounds crazy. Maybe I should up my meds.

October 28, 2009

Things Fall Apart; The Left Tackle Cannot Hold

Walter Jones was placed on IR today, ending his season and most likely his NFL career.

In the early days of this blog, I did a "Greatest Seahawk Ever" series, where readers could vote on a 64-player seeded bracket series of one-on-one battles to determine the best player in franchise history. Steve Largent won the popular vote over Jones in the final, but I made an impassioned argument for Big Walt:

In my opinion, the BEST PLAYER IN SEAHAWKS HISTORY is Walter Jones. The P-I had a really good piece about why Big Walt should be Canton-bound recently... Here's a taste:

Following the Seahawks' Super Bowl run in 2005, one NFC scout called Jones "not just the most dominating player at his position, but the most dominating player at any position in the NFL."

As much as we all love Steve Largent, he was never a DOMINANT player, and he was probably never the best player in the NFL at his position. Walter Jones is the indispensable man: He is the one player MOST responsible for the Seahawks golden age from 2003-2007. Without him, Matt Hasselbeck isn't an all-pro. Without him, Shaun Alexander would not have had his great run of success in Seattle. Without his off-season commitment to pushing goddamn Escalades around, he wouldn't have maintained his spectacular level of play over more than a decade.

If Walter Jones is not a first-ballot Hall of Famer, the Twelve Army should march on NFL headquarters with pitchforks and torches. When ESPN ranked the best players of the decade, Jones came in 4th behind only Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and LaDanian Tomlinson, and is widely recognized as the elite player at possibly the most valuable position on the field in the modern NFL.

I'll be there in Canton, Big Walt. I'll bring my kids, and I will tell them "There's the greatest Seahawk who ever lived."

Godspeed, Walter Jones.

7 Years Ago This Week...

Seahawks at Cowboys. Seattle came into the game 1-5, and were worse than afterthoughts at Texas Stadium on the Sunday before Halloween 2002. Sure the Cowboys were just 3-4, but Emmitt Smith was going for the all-time rushing record, and that emotional lift would surely carry Dallas to badly-needed win.

Starting QB Trent Dilfer had already gone through a rough stretch in '02. He got hurt in the preseason opener after re-signing with Seattle in the offseason (to a rapturous fan response, based on his brief stretch as the starter in 2001), and rushed back for the inaugural game at Seahawks Stadium. The Seahawks and Dilfer came out flat against their new divisional foes from Phoenix, and lost 24-13.

Trent simply wasn't right for that opening stretch of the season, and that day in Dallas the poor guy's Achilles tendon popped. In came Matt Hasselbeck, who had shown little indication that he was worth the price Holmgren paid to acquire him before the '01 season.

Smith got his record, and went onto a career of murdering the English language on ESPN and schilling for hair dye products. But the Cowboys seemed to forget that the rest of the game counted too... Plus, Seattle started playing with more fire once #8 was under center.

After a vicious, dirty hit knocked Darrell Jackson out of the game (he would go into convulsions after the game in the Seahawks locker room... scary stuff), Beck supposedly went into the huddle and barked "nobody fucking does that to us!" After a Smith TD tied the game late, Beck masturbated the ball down the feel (as Emmit Smith might say) and Rian Lindell banged through the game winning FG. It was a rapturous, unexpected win for Seattle, and the beginning of the Hasselbeck Golden Age.

For the rest of 2002, Beck was Brees-Hot, throwing for over 3000 yards in just 10 games. The Hawks went 6-4 over those games, and built momentum for the 2003 wild-card run that would follow.

Can it happen again on Sunday? Can these guys salvage the season?

Why the hell not? Go Seahawks!

October 27, 2009

Off Topic: DKSB Endorses Referendum 71

I know most of you don't come here to be exposed to my political views. In fact, I've been reprimanded by the good folks over at Field Gulls about making political references in my posts over there. Since that's someone else's house, I shall abide by that edict.

But this is my domain, and sometimes these things can't be ignored. We are football fans, but as much as we'd like to think otherwise, our sport does not exist in realm completely separate from politics. We fought a political fight to get Qwest Field built a decade or so ago, to just name one example... So we can't turn around and think there is a firewall between issues like gay rights and the team/sport we love, especially when semi-prominent NFL players are spouting homophobic language on Twitter.

As we speak, and through election day next Tuesday, Washington voters have the chance to reaffirm the already existing rights of Gay and Lesbian couples in my home state. The relevant language of R71:

Concise Description: This bill would expand the rights, responsibilities, and obligations accorded state-registered same-sex and senior domestic partners to be equivalent to those of married spouses, except that a domestic partnership is not a marriage.
Should this bill be:
Approved ___
Rejected ___

I would prefer the law to go farther and confer the right to marry on same-sex couples, but these legal protections alone are extremely valuable and desperately needed. It's like I've said for a while: Don't like gay marriage? Don't get one. In my eyes, until gay marriages are mandated by the state (heh... mad-date... get it?), all us breeders should probably keep our noses out of their bidness.

I could take the safe path here and just talk about how I have gay and lesbian friends, including some already in domestic partnerships, and claim that I'm just a straight honkey ally.

But that's not true. Though I am married to a wonderful woman, and I find all y'all ladies quite attractive, I'm far from the "100% straight" end of the spectrum of sexuality. I'm probably a 2 on the Kinsey Scale, and that's complicated by the fact that I've also struggled my whole life with my gender identity. Put another way: I've always wondered if I should have been a girl.

How is this relevant? What if I wanted to transition to being a woman, but that would then nullify my marriage? Or what if I had fallen in love with a man or a transgendered person instead of my wife? We wouldn't have the same legal rights as my wife and I do, and I just can't see how that is just, moral or fair.

Also, I'm not trying to start a holy war with the people of faith out there... I just don't think their interpretation of the Bible should drive public policy.

So there you go... I've laid a lot on you, and I'm sure I've lost some readers. But for those of you still left out there, I hope you'll stick around, and I hope you'll vote yes on Referendum 71.


October 26, 2009

We're in Barney

Yesterday I was all set to write an inspiring post about how the Seahawks were only one game out of first place, and how it was still anyone's division, etc. I even worked up a whole chart of the rest of the schedule showing how Seattle could steal the NFC West title...

Then the Cardinals came out of Giants Stadium with a win that made it feel like Seattle is way more than just two games out of first place. Right now no rational fan can argue that our team is as good as Arizona, and thus we are left with only one thing to fall back on: Faith.

We need faith, because there isn't much evidence to suport the idea that Seattle can win in Dallas on Sunday. Bunch of players injured? Blurg. Road game? Ugh. 10 am game? Blech. Game after the bye? Seahawks are 2-8 since 1999. Buh-arf. The main thing going in our favor is the possibility that this could be a "trap game" for the Cowboys, given that a huge showdown with Philly looms for them a week later.

The only thing that will turn this season around is an upset win on Sunday. It would be the Seahawks' biggest regular season road win since... wow... probably the division clinching win at the L.A. Coliseum in 1988? Seriously... When was the last time this team won a do-or-die game on the road where they were big underdogs? I can only really cite the win at Minnesota back in '03 from recent history.

This week the Seahawks need to defy the expectations of the media, the football world and, let's be honest, most of the Twelve Army. Win and anything is possible in a still-relevant 2009 season. Lose? Welcome to 6-10ville, my fellow Twelves.... and get used to more "Holmgren is coming back" rumors with each successive defeat.

October 20, 2009

Concerned but Powerless

The life of an NFL fan is a curious one. It's been said by writers more talented than me that being a fan is a decidedly one-sided relationship. If you think about it, all of us are kind of like creepy stalkers, only our object of obsession is an NFL team rather than another person.

We follow them around. We plaster their pictures on our walls. Our best (and worst) moments with them are lazer-etched into our memories. We write blogs about them and we swoon at the slightest acknowledgement by them that we exist. I've been obsessed with other people who had little interest in me before, and I've been obsessed with the Seahawks for over a quarter century, and I can tell you that the emotions involved are VERY similar. Just like how getting some attention from that special someone would make me giddy for days, a Seahawks win makes me a reasonable facsimile of a happy person for a few days. You can imagine how painful the opposite has always been for me.

If we weren't the paying customers who help keep the whole enterprise afloat, Matt Hasselbeck, Lofa Tatupu and the rest would get restraining orders filed against the Twelve Army. Our feelings are too intense, and frankly pretty inappropriate under ANY other circumstances.

And we're lucky. The Seahawks organization and players treat the fans VERY well compared to a lot of other NFL teams. The players and coaches give a lot of love to the 12th Man publicly, and despite the disappointing start to this season, Paul Allen generally puts a competitive team on the field that isn't replete with felons and human flotsam.

So why do the losses hurt so much worse this season? I think it's the gnawing, awful feeling that this core group that brought us so much joy and success probably isn't going to hoist that Lombardi Trophy. Anything can happen in any season, but I can't shake the idea that players like Hasselbeck and Walter Jones aren't going to be there when Seattle finally conquers the NFL. It's a terrible feeling compounded by the injustice of XL.

Yeah, yeah. A lot of you are saying "get over it" right now... even a lot of Seahawks fans. It's so difficult to explain this to anyone who isn't a long-term, die-hard Twelve. We put up with decades of being treated as the NFL's second-class citizens, and finally in 2005 everything clicked into place. Then when we could taste the validation that would then DEMAND respect for us, for our team... When we could almost grasp that Lombardi Trophy that would forever make us, if only for one year, Champions... Then it was taken away by forces out of our control.

It wasn't a Bartman or Buckner situation. It was far worse because the officiating fail was so obvious and so consistently comprehensive that practically anyone not wearing Yinzer blinders could see that we got screwed.

But even with that pain lingering, playoff trips in 2006 and 2007 made me think "redemption is near! revenge, payback and respect are nigh!" Now that idea is fading away like Marty McFly's siblings, and I'm having an awful time dealing with it in any constructive or mature way.

So we trudge on as fans, even though each loss knocks that much more life out of us. We beg for hope, even if it is a pathetic mental placebo, because we don't want to face the painful past or the uncertain future.

October 19, 2009

I don't want to say the season's over.... but I don't know how to finish that sentence.

This is where I'm supposed to go all Mitch Albom and talk about the birth of my daughter has put the NFL/Seahawks in proper perspective, blah blah blah. Unfortunately I don't feel that way this morning. Of course my daughter is way more important than any football game or football team, but the Seahawks have governed my emotional state for over a quarter century now, and even a beautiful little baby girl can't make a real dent in that.

Realistically, there is little chance that Seattle can make the playoffs. After a fairly brutal November schedule, the Seahawks will probably be 4-7, and 6-10 appears to be the most likely final record for this squad. Injuries have obviously played a part in this, but another pattern is unmistakable: Regardless of result, the Seahawks have played well one week, only to follow that with a putrid performance 7 days later. They have two blowout wins and two blowout losses, and all the evidence points to this conclusion: This is a talented team that is completely rudderless.

Jim Mora and his staff are ultimately responsible for this, and culpable for Seattle's apparent total lack of preparation yesterday. If Wisenhunt had been more aggressive in the second half, the final score would have been closer to 45-3. The Cardinal passing offense was rolling, and our offense was 1979-v-The-Rams inept.

The maddening thing? I really don't think that the 49ers or Cardinals are that much better than Seattle. Right now, on top of injuries, something is psychologically amiss with the Seahawks, and I have no idea how to fix it. If Mora, Knapp, etc want to earn their pay, they will figure it out over the next fortnight.

Want a ray of hope? The Cardinals and Niners could both easily lose to NYG/Houston next week, leaving us only one game out of first place. Last year SD won the AFC West at 8-8, and it isn't that crazy to think that could happen in our division this fall. Before anyone bitches about "not deserving" a playoff spot at 8-8, remember the Chargers felled the mighty Colts in the Wild Card game last January. I don't think any Bolts fan fails to cherish that memory, do you?

8-8 for Seattle means wins over Detroit, STL, Tampa Bay and Tennessee PLUS two more wins off this menu of games: @Dallas, @Minnesota, @AZ, SF, @HOU, @GB. No doubt: We have to start winning some games we aren't supposed to... like, now.

I'm not a pessimist. If Seattle can win at Dallas in two weeks (and these Cowboys aren't exactly of the 1992 vintage), everything will look shiny and new. But right now, I'm in what Bob Mould would call a Deep Karma Canyon, along with the rest of the Twelve Army.

October 17, 2009


We don't know when my wife and baby daughter will be discharged from the hospital on Sunday, so I don't know if I'll get to watch the Seahawks game. Feel free to follow my thoughts, about either the game OR missing my first game since 1983, on twitter.

Go Seahawks!

October 15, 2009

Welcome the newest Keebler Twelve!

Lily Rhiannon is here! She was born at 9:34 eastern time on October 14, 2009, and both Mom and baby are doing just swell.

Hopefully the timing works out so I can see the game on Sunday, but I'm not dumb enough to mention that to my wife at the moment. :-]

Here's a pic for y'all...

October 12, 2009

DKSB Home News: New Twelve Arriving on Thursday

We just found out that my wife will have a C-section this Thursday, which means an early (and hopefully healthy) arrival for our daughter Lily.

Stay tuned here for updates, etc. I'm hoping I'll still be able to catch the game Sunday, but that's uncertain at the moment. I'll be posting here as usual until the big event on Thursday morning...

October 11, 2009

Seahawks 41, Jaguars 0

I'm a Red Sox fan. Watching them crap away game 3 this afternoon hurt, but then the Seahawks dominated and it's like I got my mind wiped spotless at Lacuna or something. In a few short hours, we saw a season get completely turned around. Instead of trudging in a mopey stupor towards "wait til next year," now the Twelve Army is emboldened, knowing that they root for a legitimate playoff contender in the Seattle F**king Seahawks.

Sure it was just one game, but it was EXACTLY the kind of win a wounded but talented Seattle team needed. Despite still being shorthanded due to injuries, a formidable arsenal of offensive and defensive weapons was displayed today by the boys in blue. We have an elite, all-pro quality quarterback who now has a El Guapo-level plethora of dangerous receivers. We have a defense that can be absolutely suffocating (at least at Qwest Field), stocked with young talent that will keep this team competitive for years to come.

I want to talk a little more about Hasselbeck. The man is the soul of this team, and he proved that again today. Playing in pain, he made the right decisions under pressure and delivered a bushel of accurate passes. His performance was among the best of his Ring of Honor-bound Seattle career, and it's safe to say we'll see a lot more of these kind of exploits as long as we can keep #8 healthy.

So we dominated a talented but underachieving Jacksonville squad, and reminded the league they best not talk trash about Qwest Field and the Twelve Army that patrols its grounds... Next week is Arizona. They know what to expect from a trip to Qwest, but that doesn't mean they can handle what is coming their way.

By this time next week, we could be back in a tie for first atop the NFC West. Part of that would be a Texans win over the suddenly vulnerable Niners Duh, that game isn't until Oct. 25- The Niners have a bye this week.... but we can't control that. We can control what we do to the Cardinals, and I foresee a long painful afternoon for Kurt Warner and his minions.

What do you think, sirs?

October 10, 2009

Triumph, Agony, or some 3rd thing...

On Sunday both my favorite teams take the field trying to stave off elimination. For the Red Sox, this is literal: lose game 3 to the Angels? Season over. For the Seahawks, it's operationally if not technically true: lose at home to Jacksonville and fall to 1-4? Season is pretty much over.

Red Sox at 12 noon eastern, Seahawks at 4:15... If you want to watch the peaks and valleys of my mental state as they manifest themselves, follow my twitter feed...

Famous Last Words

"It's really hard for me to believe that this place is going to be louder than Indianapolis' old stadium."
-Jaguars QB David Garrard

How many times have we heard things like this from players who have never played at Qwest before? And how many times do they get a brutal, ear-shattering lesson from the Twelve Army?

Have fun on Sunday, David.