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?