As usual, you can find the previous installments of the Ranking the Squads project here...
Postseason: Won NFC West, Won NFC Title, Lost in Super Bowl XL
Offensive Rank: 1st out of 32 teams
Defensive Rank: 7th out of 32
Turnover Ratio Rank: 7th out of 32
Team Co-MVPs: Matt Hasselbeck, Shaun Alexander and Walter Jones
High Point: Seahawks 34, Panthers 14
Low Point: Steelers 21, Seahawks 10
2005 is still fresh in our minds. The joy we felt after the NFC Championship Game hasn't faded into oblivion, and the pain of XL won't completely dissolve until a Seahawk is holding the Lombardi Trophy skyward during a confetti blizzard.
I was lucky enough to attend three games in '05: The win over Atlanta, where we all worried that the Hawks would blow a 21-0 halftime lead; The Hawks took their first step towards erasing fears of a 2004 redux by holding onto a 21-18 win. Then I was at the Colts game, where we clinched HFA and saw the team echo 1983 and take a post-game victory lap...
I was one of 67,837 lucky bastards who got to see the Hawks win the NFC Championship in person... allow me to quote myself from back then:
When I was 8 years old, I started refusing to go to church to watch the Seattle Seahawks. That was the beginning of my march down the path of damnation, in both the spiritual and sports-fandom senses. My eternal soul may still be doomed depending on which thousands-years-old book you’ve taken to heart, but the Seattle Super Seahawks have freed my sporting spirit from the purgatory of mediocrity and broken dreams.
In a real sense, my experience at Qwest Field was as close as I’ll ever get to that sense of joy, bliss and peace that true believers enjoy. If my personal faith is the Seattle Seahawks, salvation arrived on Sunday night… Thirty years of dashed hopes, first-round busts, fourth-quarter collapses, phantom touchdowns and 8-8-ness were shattered in the deafening noise generated by 67,837 disciples and buried in a flurry of blue and green confetti.
Steve Smith? Erased. Those road-warrior Panthers? Reduced to quivering piss-stained wrecks by our smothering D and the assault of the 12th Man. Jake Delhomme? Don’t EVER claim he’s half the QB Hass is after that display of inept chucking and diving… The “soft” Seahawks? Ask Nick Going’s concussed brainpan about that one.
After the final kneel-down, grown men cried, including a little bit of misting up on my end.. Complete strangers hugged each other, and our howls of triumph cut through the damp Seattle night sky.
For 22 years I’ve waited for this, and it’s even better than all those scenarios I’ve imagined for years. Though I love the Sawx, this easily trumps the gleeful 2004 playoff run for me, and I’d say it’s the best moment of my life as a sports fan…
Beside that glorious January night, my most vivid memories of '05 are:
-Babs picking off Bledsoe and streaking into FG range, followed by Josh Brown nailing the game winner and throwing his helmet off after the final gun... Then, just delirium and joy.
-Feely missing, missing, missing and Shockey's premature celebration... and false starts galore for Eli and NYG.
-A sweep of the Rams begun with J.P. Darche falling on a fumble at STL, and ending with SA running for one of his 28 TDs in the rain at Qwest.
-Hasselbeck's great day against DC in the playoffs, after Alexander got knocked out of the game and we were supposed to implode. I'll never forget Hass beating Shawn Springs to the pylon, and SA's ecstatic reaction on the sidelines. Then of course, there was Mack's game-clinching run on a key 3rd down late in the game...
What are your favorite memories of 2005? NO XL talk on this one! Let's just speak of the good times for once.