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!


Tim said...

You totally hit the nail on the head.

Ever since our window of opportunity officially closed in '08, I frequently look back at the game played in February '06 with alternating emotions of bitterness and sorrow. We could've, would've, and should've won that game, if not for the legendarily poor officiating.

I have a friend (not a 'Hawks fan) who is of the opinion that bad officiating is something akin to bad weather or bad field conditions - something you can gameplan for, or at least respond to during the course of the game. He doesn't realize how demoralizing it is for a team to watch as the guys in the stripes continually interfere with your ability to mount the type of offense and defense you're accustomed to. Suddenly, your team falls into a whirlpool of conservative playcalling, second-guessing and panic (witness the atrocious clock management at the end of the first half).

I will never forgive Bill Leavy and his staff for what transpired that day. For what was the biggest game in the franchise's history, a game in which the zebras are often instructed to just let the guys play, Leavy and his cohorts saw it necessary to step in and alter the course of the game. And now we stand at the forefront of a rebuild, one that will take an indeterminate amount of time, and all we have are what-ifs and could've-beens to console us.

bleedshawkblue said...

We'll be back sooner than even you might think, O Bearded One.

Paul Allen remembers the suckiest of the suckage days, that's why he bought the team from Bubba Behring.

He couldn't stand losing any more than us, and he had the Dough Re Mi to put a stop to the bleeding.

There's no salary cap on coaching or front office personnel, there's a lot of high priced vets on the tail end of their careers that will ride off into the sunset and free up an assload of money to attract the right kind of top tier talent to make this franchise great again, fast. And the draft picks...

There's plenty of talent that has played here on opposing teams and witnessed the best home field advantage in the nation, and the modern NFL player is looking for a whole lot more than the money when they suit up and play in the Not For Long league: they crave intangibles, what this organization, this stadium and this 12th man deliver like no other.

I assert we find the Jackie Z of football as the new GM, then contend all year in 2010 and make a respectable run in the playoffs, then dominate the league the way Philly, New England and Indy have done for the next decade and beyond.

If you're smart about it, throwing money will solve a lot of problems. And if it doesn't quite buy all the happiness you wanted, it will at least buy you a big, plush boat to sail through the sea of sorrow!

Go! Search! Firm!