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!