December 31, 2010

My New Year's Eve Appearance on 102.5 KZOK

Enjoy! (and stay safe out there- I want all of you ready to cheer your guts out for the Seahawks Sunday night!)

December 30, 2010

Spirit of '83

The last (and only other) time the Seahawks played a "win-and-in" home game the final week of the regular season was way back in 1983- And I was there (and the game is briefly covered starting about the 14:00 point of the '83 Seahawks Highlight film).

I was eight years old, and it was my first ever trip to the Kingdome. When my Dad got us the tickets, we had no idea that the game would have such significance. The Seahawks and Patriots both came in at 8-7, and the winner would take a wild card slot in the AFC playoffs. It would be first playoff appearance EVER for Seattle, after seven years of sitting out of the post-season tournament.

I've written about this extensively before, but here's a taste:

My Dad took me to that game, and EVERYTHING about it was awe-inspiring; from the first moment I saw the Kingdome driving in from I-90, to the dizzying cavernous grandeur of the Dome's interior. Of course, as I grew older I began to consider King County Stadium more or less a shithole, but on that day, it was the Louvre to me.

I screamed for what seemed like 4 hours straight, starting with a shrieking series of boos aimed at the Patriots as they took the field for warm-ups. We were in the 300 level, and there was no way they could possibly have heard me, but I still roared until my voice was gone. What an annoying little shit, huh?

The game itself was perfect: The deafening roar of the 12th Man, a Largent touchdown, and an easy blowout victory. As we left for home, I had no doubt about it: The Seahawks were going to win the Super Bowl. I was too young and ill-informed to think anything else was plausible.

We're so awash in cynicism and defeatism right now. Things have gotten so bad out there that Deadspin has sniffed out the pungent stench of pessimism wafting out from the Twelve Army. But my point today is this: Some 8-year-old boy or girl is going to their first Seahawks game this Sunday, and they won't care that the team is 6-9, or that the adults give the Hawks no chance of winning a playoff game (like I remember all the adults doing before the game at Miami in '83), or that a win would mean a worse pick in the 1st round of the 2011 draft... They aren't reading Steve Kelley's columns, or the comments sections on a dozen blogs dripping with smug, self-satisfied derision for the 2010 Seahawks.

They will be in awe of Qwest Field, and intoxicated by the roar of the Twelve Army- And when the Seahawks win, they will be hooked for life. A million words written about the utility of a higher draft pick can't match the significance of THAT.

What do you think, sirs?

December 29, 2010

How Will It End?

Despite the utter irrationality of it, us sports fans get attached to, and emotionally connected to, certain players. For me, the first players I felt this way about were Largent and Krieg (big shock, huh?). For a long time, I never had that sort of feeling towards another Seahawk... but then it emerged again between me and Matthew Hasselbeck.

I've talked in this space before about WHY I have this connection, so without rehashing, the last few weeks (hell, last few YEARS) haven't just been painful because of the teams' performance, but also because it has hurt to watch Beck's struggles and overall decline.

It's now become clear that Hasselbeck almost certainly won't be back as Seattle's quarterback in 2011, which lends an even greater level of drama to Sunday's game. Oh, you say Charlie Whitehurst is going to start? Pfft. I'll believe that when I see it. No matter what Carroll or the media says all week, I can't imagine Hasselbeck standing on the sidelines WATCHING what might be his last game as a Seahawk. If he can walk and throw on Sunday, he will play. I simply cannot imagine Hasselbeck's final Seahawks play as that ass-muscle-pulling, un-touched debacle in Tampa, can you?

Will he be effective? I hope so, but that's a leap of faith. He might take the field, and find the ball sailing on him, and Carroll would have to yank him... But what if he has a great game or two left in him? What if we get surprised, and he plays like he did in Glendale and New Orleans? We could see transcendence, or the sad end of a Seahawks legend. Either way, the human drama will be nearly unbearable (for me, at least) if Hasselbeck actually plays.

Near the end of The Truman Show, Phillip Baker Hall exclaims to Ed Harris, as Harris is damn-near murdering Jim Carrey: "He can't DIE on live television!" Harris responds: "He was BORN on live television!" In terms of their professional careers, all NFL players die on live television... As a Hasselbeck fanboy, I want to see the end of his Seattle tenure pushed back at least one more week... After that, who knows? Maybe the 2010 Seahawks can emulate the 1987 SuperSonics?

What do you think, sirs?

December 28, 2010

This Sucks

I have to sell my tickets for Sunday for various depressing reasons. The auction is here, and ends Thursday afternoon. Please bid on these if you are looking to go to the game. I don't want a Rams fan to get a hold of these seats.

Go Seahawks!

December 27, 2010

Injustice? Are you fucking kidding?

The Guardians of NFL Propriety are already screaming bloody murder about the possibility that the Seahawks could make the playoffs at 7-9. Unfair! Embarrassing! Disgraceful! Something must be done! They BLEED righteous indignation right now.

Here's what I want to know... Where was this righteous indignation, this sense of grievance, this severe umbrage when:

-Fredd Young's interception in OT of the 1987 Wild Card Playoff was waved off by the officials?

-The 1990 Seahawks missed the playoffs, despite beating the two other teams they tied with at 9-7 head-to-head?

-Ken Behring was dead-set on moving our team to L.A. in the mid-90s?

-The 1998 Seahawks missed the playoffs due to Vinny Testaverde's phantom TD?

-The 2003 Seahawks had a win stolen from them in Baltimore when the officials gave the Ravens damn near an extra minute to come back and win the game?

-The 2004 Seahawks had a win stolen on MNF when the officials blew the call on a Keyshawn Johnson TD late in the 4th?

-We got fucked out of any fair chance to win Super Bowl XL?

Wait.. You hadn't even HEARD of most of those sordid chapters from Seattle's franchise history? Then SHUT THE FUCK UP. Us getting into the playoffs this year doesn't even START to balance the cosmic scales in our favor.

December 26, 2010

Buccaneers 38, Seahawks 15

You all saw the game. It sucked. Hasselbeck's injury was embarrassing. Whitehurst was incompetent. The Seattle defense was shredded. It's obvious that the Seahawks are not a very good team right now.

But you've been here all season... Don't tell me that you're going to turn your back NOW... Not when we are SO CLOSE to giving a huge fuck-you to our divisional rivals and millions of haters and/or perpetrators... You can't hold on for one more fucking week? Yes, the last couple of months have been a grim slog through a sewer knee-high in shitty, piss-poor football... But don't underestimate how orgasmically cathartic a SINGLE WIN next week would be. Yeah, we'd be a 7-9 playoff team, and that will bring howls of derision from the Guardians of NFL Propriety... But why should we give a fuck about THEM?

Like Tyler Durden said once, we are the all-dancing, all-singing crap of the world. No one outside of South Alaska likes us, or wants us to win this game. This game has already been described on Twitter as a "showcase for Sam Bradford and Steven Jackson." Mike Sando of ESPN is basically openly rooting for the Rams, talking about how a STL win would "save face for the NFC West." Are you going to line up with these enemies of the Twelve Army and whine all week about NOT WANTING TO WIN? Fuck that!

The game has been flexed to Sunday Night on NBC- How awesome is that? How can you not be excited about that? We have an opportunity to go out there and kill the season of a divisional rival on national television... If that doesn't get you jacked up, what will? This is the first "win-and-in" Seahawks final Sunday home game in 27 years- Even at 6-9, that's a BIG DEAL.

Then there's the personal drama- One of the following things happens next Sunday night:

A) Charlie Whitehurst starts at QB for the Seahawks, in what is probably his last chance to get Pete Carroll to consider him as a long-term starting QB option in Seattle. Does he step up and change the trajectory of his career, or fade quietly into football oblivion? It would be life or death for his NFL career.

B) Matt Hasselbeck, after a week without taking a single snap in practice, starts for the Seahawks. With free agency looming, can he come off the bench and win a division title in perhaps his final regular season game with Seattle? Can he add another glorious chapter to his Seahawks legend?

Personally, I'd rather go into battle with a cold, banged-up Hasselbeck than Whitehurst with a full week of reps- I'd be shocked if he isn't able to talk Carroll into letting him start on Sunday. Frankly, I'd rather die with him than with Charlie. Yes, I would follow Beck into the dark.

I say we can do it. All of the weak-willed, and all the cynics can fall away- all I need are 53 players and 64,000 maniacs ready to WIN, and the Seahawks will prevail.

More as the week rolls on towards the NFC West Championship Game, of course. What do you think, sirs?

December 21, 2010

Now's the chance to choose what you'll regret...

Matt Hasselbeck will start at quarterback for the Seahawks this Sunday in Tampa, which neither pleases or upsets me at this point. While I'm a Beck-jersey wearing, #8 loyalist, I'd switch to Whitehurst this week if I was Seattle's head coach. I think that CW's mobility and arm-strength give us a slightly better chance to win these last two games (and the playoff games that hopefully follow), given Hasselbeck's complete meltdown over the last two games.

The pivotal question is... what do you think is more likely?

A) Charlie Whitehurst, in his 2nd and 3rd NFL starts, plays well enough to lead Seattle to victory and get the Seahawks into the playoffs.


B) Matthew Hasselbeck returns to at least COMPETENT quarterback play over the next two games, and leads Seattle into the playoffs.

I lean slightly towards option A, but I can understand why Coach Carroll has went with option B. Notice what is left out of this equation: The 2011 season. No, I don't think we need to "see what we've got" in Whitehurst. We already know- He's not Hasselbeck's replacement, but the back-up to Hasselbeck's replacement. Some people are saying "we spent a 3rd rounder on him" as if that alone means we HAVE TO put him out on the field. First of all, that's a classic example of being trapped by sunk costs, which is toxic for any organization's long-term success. Plus, we spent a 3rd on David Greene. Did that mean he was entitled to a few regular season starts? Fuck no.

I'm continually amazed at how much Seahawks fans are discounting an opportunity to make the playoffs. You can't swing a Sounders FC scarf in Seattle without hitting some morose mother fucker who is convinced that the Seahawks are doomed to get trucked in the Wild Card round, so why bother making the playoffs?

All I can say is that Pete Carroll isn't thinking that way, and neither is any coach or player on Seattle's roster. Every NFL team, in every season, wants to make the playoffs. If Pete Carroll started doing things aimed at the 2011 season, while the team is still IN CONTROL OF ITS PLAYOFF DENSITY DESTINY (Christ, who am I? George McFly?), and not aimed at this campaign's post-season, he wouldn't just be misguided- He'd be guilty of football malpractice. As long as Seattle has any, even infinitesimal, chance at reaching XLV, Carroll is OBLIGATED to try to get there. Why is this SO HARD for some Twelves to comprehend?

Tampa Bay and St. Louis are beatable teams. If Hasselbeck simply avoids turnovers, the Seahawks can and WILL win both games- Which means the defense, special teams, and running game have to help the Seahawks avoid falling behind (which is when Beck is pressing badly and at his worst).

I want the Seahawks to make the playoffs for direct, simple reasons of my own personal joy. But I've reached a point where I also want the Seahawks to win the NFC West in part as a "Fuck You" to the negative, fatalistic, downtrodden wing of the Twelve Army that has come to anger me more and more as this season has progressed.

What do you think, sirs?

December 19, 2010

Falcons 34, Seahawks 18

The ugly truth is very few of us expected Seattle to win this game- Sure, we HOPED the Seahawks would find a way to win, but if you were told before kickoff that the Hawks would lose by 16, would that have surprised you? Probably not.

What is bothering us, what has the Twelve Army consumed by frustration and angst, is HOW the Seahawks lost. On a day that the defense gave a full 60 minutes of competent, honest effort, on a day that we saw stirrings of an effective rushing attack, we were betrayed by one of our Icons. Matt Hasselbeck failed us today, with three inexcusable, inexplicable, gift-wrapped turnovers on three consecutive 3rd quarter possessions. Almost instantly, and almost entirely because of Beck's mistakes, a competitive 17-10 game morphed into a 34-10 Atlanta blowout.

This much is beyond reasonable debate: In 2011, Matt Hasselbeck will no longer be Seattle's starting QB. Might he end up as a placeholder for a highly drafted QB prospect, then ease into a mentor/back-up role? I doubt it. He'll likely get a chance to start at QB somewhere- It's just unlikely to be in Seattle. An era is truly ending in the next few weeks.

However, even though Whitehurst came off the bench and led a scoring drive, it's not entirely obvious he should replace Hasselbeck as the starter at Tampa next Sunday. NOTHING fucks up a football team as much as a QB controversy. They split locker rooms down the middle and erode confidence in the head coach's leadership and judgement. I fully expect Carroll to reaffirm Beck's status as the starter, but keep him on a short leash down in Florida next week.

People say that we need to "see what we've got" in Whitehurst... Let me let you in on something: We already know what we have in CW- NOT the Seahawks QB of the future. He's more John Friesz than Zorn/Krieg/Beck in my eyes... Yeah, he'll probably be here next season, with Beck playing elsewhere, but almost certainly only in the role of seat-warmer for whatever QB Carroll drafts. If Buddy Christ had gained Carroll's confidence at all, he would have replaced Beck as the starter weeks ago; Carroll has no particular investment in Hasselbeck, while he traded a 3rd round pick for Whitehurst- Don't you think he'd put in CW if he thought the kid gave us a better chance to win?

All that said, Carroll would be 100% justified in benching Hasselbeck- He's done more than enough to earn a demotion the last couple of weeks, and if CW is Carroll's guy, he's also MY guy. My point? It still comes down to which QB gives us a better chance to win the next 2+ games, NOT evaluating CW as our QB of the future- In that equation, I don't think there's an obviously "better" or "worse" choice between Beck and CW.

There were encouraging signs against a real Super Bowl contender today, particularly on defense and in the running game. If the Seahawks can somehow get their minds right, they can win these last two games, and go into the post-season at 8-8. That wouldn't exactly the greatest achievement in NFL history, but it would represent real progress compared to the aimless drift of 2008-2009.

Tampa Bay just lost at home to Detroit, who snapped a 26-game road losing streak with that OT win today. If one of the worst road teams in NFL history can win at Raymond James Stadium, the Seahawks can. Our goals are still within our reach, Twelves! We can do this! We don't have to be resigned to a sad 6-10 whimpering end to this season- We can still end this campaign with the triumphant roars of the Qwest Field throngs echoing into the offseason...

(If you don't already know- root for the Rams to beat the Niners at STL next Sunday- That'll set up Seahawks v Rams week 17 as a de-facto playoff game, regardless of Seattle/TB result)

What do you think, sirs?

December 16, 2010

Al Gore, George W. Bush, and the 2010 Seattle Seahawks

As a flaming lib-rul, of course I see the 2000 Presidential election as a disastrous failure of our electoral system (shit, I voted for Nader that year and I still felt poor Al Gore got royally fucked over). My point in bringing this up is not to start a political flame war here, but to start an analogy relevant to our Seahawks...

One argument used by my fellow liberals that has always bugged me was the whole "Gore won the national popular vote! He should be President!" Um, no. That's an argument for changing the system in future elections, not that Al Gore should have been President. Both Gore and Bush knew going in that the Electoral College would decide the Presidency, not the Popular Vote. The injustice was not in Bush becoming President while losing the Popular Vote, but in all of the fucked-up shit that tipped Florida into Bush's Electoral Vote column.

(Two side notes: A) The HBO movie Recount is an entertaining account of what went down in Florida in Nov/Dec 2000- Y'all should check it out. B) To my conservative readers: Don't tell me to "get over" the 2000 election. When you do that, you sound like a fucking Steelers fan telling us to "get over" XL.)

My point? I'm already fucking sick of media wags and internet mouth-breathers saying that the 2010 NFC West Champion doesn't deserve to be in the playoffs. You can't change the rules in the middle of the season, you Jabronis! Every NFL team knew going into this season that every division champion would make the playoffs and host a playoff game. Dems da rules. Even if Seattle, St. Louis or San Fran wins the NFCW at 7-9 they absolutely DESERVE to be in the playoffs, because those are the rules the NFL established 20 MOTHERFUCKING YEARS AGO.

Don't like this result? Agitate for the rules to change next season. But stop this shit where you call the notion of Seattle in the playoffs "disgusting." Really? Disgusting? If we get into the playoffs instead of Tampa Bay or Green Bay? Fuck em. It's a tough old world, and frankly squads missing the playoffs in favor of teams with weaker records happens ALL THE TIME.

A reasonable reform for 2011 and beyond would be to give home field in the Wild Card round to the teams with the 3rd and 4th best records in the conference, rather than automatically giving them to division winners. Up until 1990, division winners didn't automatically get home playoff games (see: 1988 Seahawks) and Wild Card teams could host games (see: 1983 and 1984 Seahawks). I see no big problem with going back to this system. I will say that if you are going to bother having divisions, division champs need to make the playoffs.

Of course, I have even more radical ideas for the NFL playoffs- but I voted for Nader, so I'm obviously a crackpot :)

December 15, 2010

We're Hog-Tied and Accepting of the Struggle...

Looking for some reasons to be hopeful that the Seahawks can pull off a huge upset of the 11-2 Atlanta Falcons? Well, I'm here to provide you with some (hopefully not false) hope:

-The Falcons have lost twice on the road this season; They're not an invincible juggernaut.

-This is the 3rd of three straight road games for the Falcons, and their longest road trip of the season. Next week, they return home to face the Saints in a game that will probably decide who gets home field advantage in the NFC playoffs. If there is ever going to be a moment in 2010 where Atlanta could get caught flat-footed, distracted and fatigued, this is it.

-Atlanta's defense is a very mediocre 16th in Football Outsiders' DVOA rankings; In the pleasant surroundings of Qwest Field, against an opponent who is 27th(!) in terms of rushing yards-per-carry-allowed (4.6 ypc), perhaps Seattle can get their running game going, and give their defense some much-needed rest.

-Mike Williams returns! Yes, it probably isn't the cure to ALL Seattle's problems, but the Hawks offense will certainly be better, more explosive, closer to competent. My colleague Hawk Blogger really nailed this idea the other day- Seattle is damn near a different team (for the better) with a healthy BMW out there.

-Atlanta is only 1-4 all-time in Seattle, with their last victory coming in 1997.

-Despite two home losses, the Qwest crowd can still make a big difference- IF the Seahawks oblige us with a competitive performance- If this game is a one-score-affair in the 4th quarter, the Twelve Army could be the deciding factor in Seattle's favor.

What else? Am I missing any obvious reasons Seattle could pull the upset Sunday?

December 14, 2010

For Those of You Who Still Want Seattle to Win the NFC West...

First off, the ESPN NFL Playoff Machine is your friend. Use it.

Weirdly, a lot of articles I'm reading online this week state that Seattle's week 16 game at Tampa (which is now at 4:15 East/1:15 West) is a "must win" for the Seahawks. Um... Probably not. Let me break down the various moving parts in the NFC West race:

-Arizona is still mathematically alive according to the NFL, but according to Danny O'Neil, their playoff chances hinge on Seattle and STL TYING their week 17 game.

-Here's the only way the Seahawks get eliminated before week 17: Seattle LOSES next two games AND either the Rams or 49ers WIN their next 2 games. Thankfully that kind of 4-game parlay is unlikely.

-Let's assume Seahawks LOSE next two, fall to 6-9. If STL beats KC and SF in next two games, they'd be 8-7, and Seattle couldn't tie them with a win in week 17 (remember- Seattle wins tiebreaker with STL based on divisional record). On the Niners tip, if SF beats SD, STL in next two games, they'd be 7-8. Seattle wouldn't be able to catch Niners, because SF would top Seattle on "common games" tiebreaker OR divisional record tiebreaker. If SF LOSES next two games, they'd be 5-9 and eliminated from playoff contention.

-What if Seattle loses next two, but SF wins ONCE to tie us at 6-9? Not only would Seattle need to beat STL at Qwest, but they'd also have to pray John Skelton and the Cardinals can pull an upset over Niners at Candlestick (yipes).

-If the Seahawks WIN EITHER of next two games (ATL, @TB), they CANNOT be eliminated before week 17; also, Arizona would be out, and SF would probably have to WIN OUT to take the division.

The bottom line? Seattle can at least ensure a meaningful week 17 game against the Rams by winning either of their next two games- If they drop both, they need to hope the Chargers beat the Niners Thursday, and that the Rams lose to KC but beat 49ers in week 16. If those plausible dominoes fall, Seahawks v Rams will decide the NFC West, even if Seattle comes in at 6-9.

Any questions? Corrections?

December 13, 2010

Go Seahawks (Piss Everybody Off)

The flood has arrived- It seems like the entire Seahawks fan base is jumping on the "I don't want to be a 7-9 playoff team" bandwagon right now.

No sale here, boys and girls. First of all, I haven't given up hope that the Seahawks will win two out of the last three and avoid the "cursed mark of 7-9." Atlanta could be caught flat-footed if Seattle plays its best football, and Tampa is not an unstoppable juggernaut. BMW and Obo's returns won't solve EVERY issue, but the team will be better next week than it was yesterday. Anyway, onto destroying the arguments that it's BETTER for the Seahawks to miss the playoffs.

1. Draft Status
I've NEVER understood fans who root for their team to lose to get a better draft choice. First, the draft is a complete fucking crapshoot. Andrew Luck could be Payton Manning or he could be Ryan Leaf- Carolina won't know the answer for a good long while (and they'll pick him- Clausen aint shit). Second, the players have NO incentive to lay down so the organization gets a higher pick the next year. Why? BECAUSE THE TEAM MIGHT DRAFT THEIR REPLACEMENT! Sure, some NFL teams start "running for the bus" this time of year, but no one is intentionally trying to lose. Why? Because that's fucking stupid. In addition, players are auditioning for not only their current job, but other jobs they might vie for later on...

OK, players are short-sighted. Maybe you could even argue that coaches are so focused on keeping their current jobs that they are blinded to the glorious awesomeness of a higher draft pick in the following year's draft- what about front office people? Do you REALLY think that John Schneider or ANY other GM around the league is thinking "You know, we have a chance at the playoffs, but I'd much rather the team lose out and make me look like a schmuck so we can get a higher draft pick." Nuh-uh. If winning the highest possible draft pick was SO CLEARLY the right way to go, why did Buffalo win yesterday?

(There's also a weird undercurrent here of "Can't they SEE? It's so much better to get a higher draft choice! How can Carroll be so stupid?" They see just fine, as do the coaches and GMs on all 31 other teams as well. Maybe they know something we don't?)

2. Avoiding Infamy
This has been going around too- The notion that we don't want our franchise to be the first losing team to make the playoffs... This is basically the "THEY'RE ALL GONNA LAUGH AT YOU" argument.

You know what? Fuck everybody else. No one else outside of this fan base gives a squirt of piss about our franchise. Why should I start caring about what all the Nattering Nabobs of Negativity think NOW? Somebody is going to win this division, and they will probably be 7-9. Do you think that Arizona, SF or STL would DECLINE an invite to the playoffs, because they don't want to stain NFL history by being the first losing team in the post season? I don't think so. This seems to be a mental malady localized among the Twelve Army.

To the rest of the NFL-watching public, the Seahawks are a nondescript bluish blob. I don't think a little infamy is necessarily a bad thing in the big picture.

Finally, wouldn't it be fucking sweet to be the first losing team to WIN a playoff game? :)

3. Preemptive Defeatism
There's also the notion that we don't want to make the playoffs because we'll get terribly creamed in the first round. Maybe. We've certainly shown a tendency towards this with SEVEN DOUBLE DIGIT LOSSES this year- But like John Connor said once- "The future is not set."

In any case, do you think this is how ANY fans in Arizona, SF or STL are thinking? Do you think ANY of them are saying "Shit, bro, I hope we miss the playoffs so Seattle can get creamed by New Orleans!" NOPE.

Sometimes I have a VERY hard time relating to this current among Seahawks fans of knee-jerk defeatism and negativity- At this point, it's really curdled into something twisted and counterproductive.

Let me wrap this up- Aside from the noise we make at Qwest, we don't control the outcome of the games. No matter how much we type in all-caps on internet message boards, and even if we marched on VMAC, torches and pitchforks in hand, DEMANDING that the Seahawks throw the rest of the games to miss the playoffs, they won't oblige us. So why not root for them to win? Someone has to win the NFC West- Why Not Us?

Once again, the simple question is this: If the Seahawks enter the final Sunday 6-9, but with a chance to make the playoffs with a win over the Rams, do you root for them or against them?

If you chose "against," please give your tickets to someone who will still give this team 100% all-out support. If you chose "against?" Well, I don't know what to say to you other than "Good Day, Sir."

December 12, 2010

49ers 40, Seahawks 21

What do I tell you after another spectacular Seahawks implosion? This one is actually worse than our blowout losses to the Raiders, Giants, Saints or Chiefs. Those were all decent-to-good teams, but this Niners team came in 4-8, and no sane person would describe them as being worth jack shit. On top of that, this was a humiliating loss to a hated divisional foe- That's always going to angry up the blood of everyone in the fan base.

The most disheartening thing? Getting beat not because we were outclassed, but because we committed penalties, turned the ball over, and couldn't do fundamental things like tackling. What truly made my heart break was the horrible performance by Matthew Hasselbeck. It reached a sort of Apollo v Drago point, where I was hoping Carroll would yank him before he found a way to make this day any worse. I came into this day hoping to see Beck tie Dave Krieg's franchise record for wins by a starting QB, but instead he had probably the worst day of his decade-long Seattle career. On top of all that, it looked like Deon Butler suffered a fairly severe injury scoring a TD late in the 4th. Ugh.

This was a comprehensive, organizational failure from top-to-bottom. We looked terrible, and, after 13 games, by any objective measure, the Seahawks are a bad team.

You know this, and you can read it in a bunch of other places on the internet, in the newspaper... anywhere.

One skill I've honed as a fan over the years is an amazing ability to delude myself. It's serving me well these days, because the Seahawks aren't good at providing a lot of rational hope on their own. It's fashionable already to say "ah, I'd rather have the high draft pick than be a 7-9 playoff team." I can see that argument on an intellectual level, but emotionally it just doesn't work for me. When the Seahawks win, it makes me happy. When they lose, it makes me sad as hell. My perspective doesn't lend itself to long-term planning, but thankfully, I'm just a fan, not one of the team's front-office decision makers.

Writ large, the Seahawks making the playoffs would make me very happy, and them missing the postseason would depress me. You can talk all day about how a higher draft pick would benefit the team more in the long term, but frankly they aren't going to throw games to get there, and I'm not going to ROOT for the team to fail and make that happen.

The simple question is this: If the Seahawks are 6-9 going into the season's final Sunday, and can win the NFC West with a defeat of the Rams, are you REALLY going to root against them? I'm not. I won't. I can't. Sorry. If that makes me mushy-headed or short-sighted? Oh well.

The Rams just got blown out, and are likely to lose next week against the Chiefs (if Matt Cassell can go). The Niners might be celebrating now, but after losing to the Chargers on Thursday they'll be more or less done. I haven't given up hope that the Seahawks could steal one of the next two games- Atlanta could very well look past us to their showdown with New Orleans the following week, and Tampa Bay just barely beat a bad Redskins team today.

Even if the Seahawks lose the next two games- Even if they face the indignity of being the NFL's first 7-9 playoff team, I will be screaming my head off for them to win that final game against the Rams. Why?

Because I'm a Soldier of Twelve. It's all I know how to do.

December 7, 2010

Niners Week- Let the Hate Flow Through You

Seriously- Fuck this guy.

A long time ago, I used to respect, even LIKE the 49ers. Back when they weren't yet our divisional foes, I admired lots of things about the Niners. Bill Walsh was a genius who changed the game for the better, Joe Montana and Jerry Rice were class acts who also happened to be two of the greatest players in the history of the sport, and the organization oozed cool professionalism. Back in the 1990s, I vigorously rooted for them to beat the detestable Cowboys every year, and one of my favorite non-Seahawks moments in NFL history was when Steve Young's Niners slayed Dallas in the 1994 NFC Championship. Those old Niners showed that you could win, and win big, by outsmarting your opponents, rather than just beating them into submission. In the early days of the Holmgren epoch, I LOVED the notion that the Seahawks might evolve into an echo of those old Niners teams in the 21st century.

Then realignment- and everything changed. T.O. and his fucking sharpie on MNF... Dennis Erickson taking over in SF... The Niners becoming not just bad, but laughably pathetic mid-decade... Finally, Singletary- The Anti-Walsh. Instead of cerebral, intelligent football? Undisciplined, thuggish caveman ball, coupled with an unearned swagger that lathered up a frothy hatred for the Niners from Seattle to Phoenix to St. Louis.

The current iteration of the San Francisco 49ers dishonors the franchise's long, storied history. They are a strikingly unlikable crew, and the Seahawks are fixing to dump the last few shovels of dirt onto the dead-from-the-neck-up Singletary regime. Yes, that's probably bad for us in 2011, when SF might hire a competent head coach who isn't a buffoonish blowhard, but it will be SO satisfying to hasten the end of Captain Bug Eyes career as an NFL head coach anyway.

You KNOW Kentwan Balmer and Michael Robinson, both casualties of Singeltary's misguided rule, will be amped up for this one.. And Singletary has done us one final, majestic favor: He's benched the dynamic, athletic QB with a semblance of leadership skills (Troy Smith) for the broken, weak-minded, glued-into-the-pocket, first-round-bust QB (Alex Smith)... And Alex Smith's history against the Seahawks? A 2-5 overall record (with no wins since 2006), an cumulative 68.9 passer rating, and a traumatically separated shoulder thanks to Rocky Bernard back in 2007. Let's not forget that in week 1, Alex Smith IMPLODED at Qwest Field.

Great to have #11 back, isn't it? :)

The Seahawks will ROLL on Sunday. You heard it here first.

December 6, 2010

Memories Can't Wait

2007 is getting lonely...

Tonight I got my invoice for my 2011 Seahawks PLAYOFF tickets. How cool is that? After two exhausting, nearly unbearable seasons, we're on the verge on returning to the NFL's postseason tournament for the 6th time in 8 seasons. You can talk all you want about how this team is terribly flawed, how it's at best mediocre, how it's leading a terrible division. Right now, I don't give a fuck about ANY of these things.

Three of the greatest days of my life were my trips to Seahawks playoff games: The NFC Championship win over Carolina, and the Wild Card wins over Dallas and D.C. Those out there who want to dismiss or denigrate the worth of the 2010 NFC West title are being obscenely cavalier about something that is cherished by your average NFL fan: The sight of their team in the NFL playoffs.

Next season is a vast unknowable landscape- Beyond the NFL's collective bargaining uncertainty (though I'd be SHOCKED if any regular season games were lost to a work stoppage), there's the probability that the Rams will be ahead of Seattle in our competing rebuilding processes. In addition, the 49ers may hire a competent coach, and Arizona might find a competent quarterback. Even if the Seahawks are a BETTER team in 2011, they might find themselves in a more competitive division and end up with a worse record. My point? We shouldn't focus on the next phase of Seattle's rebuilding process while THIS season, and our hopes for a rare, precious playoff run are very much alive.

Those who actually FEAR getting into the playoffs, who are so sure that Seattle would get clobbered by the Saints/Eagles/Packers/Giants/Bears? Ugh. Get your shit, and get the fuck out. We don't need your stinkin' thinkin'. If it happens, we'll deal. But what if it doesn't? What if the Seahawks pull a big playoff upset (like they did in 1983, 1984, 2006, 2007)? What if this team creates new memories that we'll cling to, that we'll relish, for decades to come? Let's enjoy the fact that the POSSIBILITY even exists right now, that we are watching competitive football rather than already focusing on the 2011 draft...

Do the 2008 or 2009 Seahawks have ANY chance of coming back to win that game yesterday? FUUUUUUUCK No. That alone is not only a reason to rejoice, but reason to hope that Seattle can beat the Niners this week, best the Rams in the regular season finale, and maybe even WIN a playoff game.

Embrace today, my fellow Twelves. 2011 and beyond is something to worry about another day.

Commerce and Necessity

I HATE that I have to do this, but since

A) I can't go to this game +
B) My family in the Tri-Cities can't go to this game +
C) I want to scrape together enough dough for Xmas shopping and possibly coming out west for the Rams game =

I'm selling my Falcons tickets on eBay- Check out the auction here.

I encourage y'all to bid on these if you are thinking of going to the game, simply because I DON'T want these seats to end up occupied by Atlanta fans (though I'm not particularly worried about that- the Falcons don't travel well, even when they are having a great year). Yes, I've decried folks doing EXACTLY what I'm doing here. My half-assed justification is that I'm doing this to increase the chances I can attend a different Seahawks game myself. So be it.

December 5, 2010

Seahawks 31, Panthers 14

At a certain point in the 2nd quarter today, I was in a VERY dark place as a fan. The Seahawks were behind 14-0, and playing even worse than they did against Kansas City. In addition, both BMW and Obo got knocked out of the game... All that existed in my mind were horrific visions of the 2010 season imploding; of a 5-11 collapse that would be just as traumatic as the brief, lamentable Autumn of Mora. It was a terrible headspace to inhabit, even fleetingly.

I'm not going to say that the game turned BECAUSE of the ceremony retiring Walter Jones' jersey- That would be grade school, lazy analysis- But damn it's tempting to think that Big Walt marched into the Seattle locker room at the half and busted out a variation of this:

Or this:

Even though this cinematic explanation certainly isn't true, the Seahawks took the field for the 2nd half as if it was. Jimmy Clausen was beaten into a crying pile of douche-ness, the Carolina running attack was snuffed, and Seattle suddenly chewed up time and territory running the ball. In the end, the Seahawks notched a victory they desperately needed to give the Twelve Army Meaningful December FOOTBALL.

Yes, it was against the lowly Panthers, so no one is going to take to the streets proclaiming we're destined to end the season under the ridiculous Cowboys Stadium video screen- but in the 2nd half Seattle showed the one thing that they've clearly developed over this season: Mental toughness in the face of adversity.

It looks like BMW, Obo, and maybe even Colin Cole will return next week, when we face the 49ers down the coast in SF. I'm not so beaten and downtrodden that I think Seattle can't beat a 4-8 team on the road- Plus, above and beyond the desire to get to 7-6 and stay atop the NFC West, there's the real motivation to sweep the detestable Niners and hasten Mike Singletary's trip to the unemployment line. As I've said many times before in this space: Fuck the Fucking Niners.

So wear your gear proudly on Victory Monday, my fellow Twelves. The Seahawks might just be a mediocre team lucky to play in a weak division, but damnnit, it beats the hopeless Decembers we've seen the last couple of years. Plus, if we can kill the Niners off for good next Sunday, who knows.. We might even get on a bit of a roll.

What do you think, sirs?

November 30, 2010

Climbing Over a VERY Low Bar

I still desperately want the Seahawks to make the playoffs, but it'd be nice if they got to 8-8 and avoided the eternal label of WORST PLAYOFF TEAM EVER (hell, Football Outsiders is tracking this right now). Three of the four previous 8-8 playoff teams even WON a playoff game (we were victimized by the 8-8 2004 Rams.. Remember? Catch the ball, Bobby!).

The (pretty sad) truth is that the Seahawks can probably take the NFC West with a win over Carolina and a win over St. Louis in week 17. Yup. 7-9 will probably do it. Here's why:

Seattle has three major advantages in this division race going into the last 5 games:

1. They still get to play Carolina (STL already notched their win over the Panthers)
2. They have a 3-1 divisional record
3. They get STL at home on the season's final Sunday

So let's game this out- First, you can eliminate the Cardinals (duh) and even the Niners. San Fran has lost Frank Gore, and still has road games against Green Bay, San Diego, and St. Louis- Even without a loss to Seattle, that's 10 L's.

Here's STL's next 4 games: @AZ, @NO, KC, SF- I'll say they go W, L, L, W (2-2). That puts them at 7-8 going into week 17.

Let's be pessimistic and say the Hawks beat Carolina, but then lose 3 straight to SF, ATL and TB. They'd be 6-9, but still in a "win and in" situation against STL. Why? Seattle would split the season series with the Rams with a final Sunday win, making the next tiebreaker divisional record- Seattle would win THAT tiebreaker, since STL would then be 3-3 in the NFC West (and the Hawks would be 4-2).

The craziest thing? Unless Seattle or St. Louis has a 2-game lead after week 16 (super unlikely), that last game will decide the division. If the Rams come into the final Sunday a game BEHIND Seattle, they can force a tie with a win at Qwest, and take the division based on a head-to-head sweep. So, weirdly- If the teams are tied after week 15, the week 16 games (STL v SF and TB v SEA) will almost certainly be MEANINGLESS (in terms of deciding the division). Crazy, no?

Of course this gets ALL fucked up if the Seahawks lose to Carolina or the Niners pull the monumental upset at Lambeau this Sunday. But the bottom line is this: If the Seahawks beat the 1-10 Panthers on Sunday, they are virtually guaranteed a chance to win the NFC West at Qwest on January 2nd.

Feel free to challenge my assumptions or correct my math in the comments, fellow Twelves.

November 29, 2010

Chiefs 42, Seahawks 24

"We should all dance jaunty little jigs if the Hawks win half their games. An improvement of three games is significant, and would show the Twelve Army that the Carroll era is off to a solid start..." -Me, on this blog, May 2, 2010

There are many different ways Seahawks fans deal with adversity. Some (thankfully the minority) react like this hulking fat fuck in Section 125 yesterday: Giving the finger to his own team, cursing them, and braying "boooooo!" like some sort of farm animal. My wife always tells me that she knows a Seahawks game is going poorly when I'm quiet. This is true, but inside, I'm a swirling vortex of terrible emotions. Yesterday, standing down in borrowed seats in 125, I alternated between screaming on almost every Chiefs snap, cheering wildly on Seattle's few positive plays, and mostly just being silently stunned, on the verge of tears (or a panic attack). I deluded myself that we could still win, even when we were down 35-24 with 10 minutes left, but that slim, false hope was pounded out of me with another final, punishing Chiefs TD drive.

Kansas City whipped our collective asses yesterday. Yes, you can point to positives like two blocked kicks, solid overall special teams play, and the continuing emergence of Ben Obomanu... but overall, this game kicked me out of dreamland, and forced me to admit this: The 2010 Seahawks are not a very good team.

I know many of you come here for an optimistic perspective, and I'm not saying that all hope is lost. Today's Seahawks aren't among the NFL elite, but that doesn't mean they can't improve over the final five games, or that they can't win the NFC West, or even that they can't shock us and still finish with a winning record. I'm still happy to spread the Word of Sobchak: "Nothing is Fucked, Dude."

However, we've reached the point where every game is a death struggle, even next week's tussle with the 1-10 Panthers. Of course we SHOULD win, but if we don't play better than we did against KC, Carolina could steal one from us. If that happens? Ugh. It's just too terrible to contemplate.

But this team is still 3-1 in the NFC West. They can still win their last two division games, and coupled with a win over the Panthers, get to 8-8. BMW and Colin Cole will eventually return, hopefully in time to help the Hawks claw back to the level of football Seattle displayed against San Diego and Chicago.

I put that quote from May up at the top mostly as a reminder to myself: After two years of agonizingly bad, demoralizing football from the Seahawks, an 8-8 finish would be measurable, significant progress. If that came along with an NFC West title and another banner to hang from the Qwest rafters? Awesome.

Right now, I feel like I have a boulder of sorrow sitting on my chest. It's going to be there all week, and I desperately hope the Seahawks can remove it with a win over Carolina. They can, but it won't happen automatically. Beat the Panthers, and there's still meaningful football in December. There'd be a winnable game against the detestable 49ers, and hopefully, a game for the NFC West title against the Rams at Qwest week 17.

In happier news, my little brother James Swinyard and his Kamiakin Braves are headed to the Washington State 3A Championship after beating Capital 45-18 on Saturday. The title tilt is against Bellevue at 4 pm Friday in the Tacoma Dome, and can be seen on TV in the Pacific Northwest on Fox Sports Northwest.

At the risk of offending my readers in Bellevue: GO BRAVES! :)

November 25, 2010

Something is Beautiful and True

I've been going to Seahawks games since I was 8 years old, and I've been lucky enough to go to at least one home game almost every year since 1983. Aside from the dark times of the Behring years, professional football in Seattle has consistently been a strikingly intense experience.

I've been to NFL games in half a dozen stadiums outside Seattle, and none of them had an atmosphere that even approached the Kingdome or Qwest Field. It's not just the noise- Under the Nordstrom and Allen regimes, ownership has also been aggressive about providing a great environment for Seahawks fans. Fans in Denver or Kansas City might have good reason to disagree, but you'd have a hard time convincing me that there's a more exciting fan experience in the NFL than what we enjoy 8 times a year at Qwest Field.

One of the many things I'm thankful for today is that I get to be right in the middle of the Qwest Field Maelstrom on Sunday. I get to see old friends and fans of the blog at Touchdown City... I get to go down to field level and see the players up close... I get to feel the chilly air coming off Elliott Bay... I get to add my voice to the din assaulting Matt Cassell and the rest of the Chiefs' eardrums... I'll get to see another Seahawks win, and be part of the throngs chanting "SEA! HAWKS!" on the ramps after the game.

I'll be at the game with my little brother, who I've been taking to games since he was 10- Particularly since I live 2000 miles away now, these days I spend with him watching the Seahawks taken on additional significance (side note: He's a junior in High School, and plays football for Kamiakin out here in Kennewick- They play Capitol in the State 3A semi-finals here in the Tri-Cities Saturday- Go Braves!). In a few years, I'll start taking my own kids to Seahawks games, and hopefully the chain will continue unbroken...

When you strip everything else away, what is most intoxicating about a game at Qwest Field? What makes me so excited about returning to my seats above the south end zone? It's the fact that when I'm screaming my guts out this Sunday, I'll forget all of the nasty little things about adulthood, and go back to being an 8-year-old, and believing that anything is possible.

GO SEAHAWKS! (and Happy Thanksgiving)

November 24, 2010

Next time we talk, it'll be on pacific time...

There's my tickets for Sunday's game. I'm flying out of Detroit in a few hours, stopping in Minneapolis, then arriving in Pasco late tonight. Then it's Thanksgiving with my family, avoiding all commercial areas on Black Friday, watching my little brother's Kamiakin Braves whomp on the Capital Cougars in the State 3A semifinals on Saturday, then the Seahawks game at Qwest on Sunday.

I'll also be on 102.5 KZOK again Friday morning jabbering about the Seahawks- Haven't nailed down an exact time yet, but it should be between 7:30 and 8 am.

I'll be posting more if I have time between now and Sunday- Have a Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

November 21, 2010

Saints 34, Seahawks 19

"Wanna do this again in 7 weeks at my place?"

There was plenty going on today to angry up the blood of any Seahawks fan: Marshawn Lynch's awful multi-fumble performance, Mike Carey's apparent officiating vendetta against Seattle, and our defense's inability to stop Drew Brees or some undrafted free-agent running back. Also, we'll have to wait and see how serious the injuries are to Mike Williams and Marcus Trufant as the week goes on- Hopefully they can both go against KC.

But be honest: This didn't feel like the other Seahawks losses this season. Matt Hasselbeck resembled his 2007 self for the 2nd week in a row, BMW and Obo had great games catching the rock, and even in the face of big deficits, Seattle fought for 60 minutes. This team has eradicated the mental weakness of 2008-2009; There is a clear difference between being beaten by a team with more talent and big-game experience and simply collapsing at the first serious sign of adversity. Today's game fell into that first category; Hell yes I'm upset we lost, and I'm pissed that we didn't offer up a better performance, but frankly Brees and the Saints do this to A LOT of teams- It's not a sign of inherent, unfixable weakness that they beat us by 15 points today.

The Saints were clearly the better team TODAY, but in 7 weeks, in Seattle, with a healthy roster and the Twelve Army there for back up? In that scenario, these Seahawks can WIN. Over these next six games, I don't think we'll see these Seahawks backslide. We'll see them develop. They'll learn, gain wisdom, and improve. They might even steal a game everyone expects them to lose. The great news is that 3 wins will probably be enough to clinch a playoff spot; I think we win 4 out the last 6 to enter the playoffs with a respectable 9-7 mark (wins over KC, CAR and STL at home, plus a victory at SF would do it).

A rematch with the Saints at Qwest is a real possibility in the Wild Card game (though if I could pick our opponent, it'd be the Chicago Bears), and that's a daunting assignment, but not an impossible one. This week's game against Kansas City is mildly challenging, but still one Seattle SHOULD win. KC's last road win was back in week 2. At Cleveland. By 2. I'm not exactly shaking in mortal terror at the idea of hosting them at Qwest.

I'd be lying if I said next week was a must-win, but a victory over a 6-4 foe would quiet SOME of the haters, and possibly expand our division lead to two games (STL starts a 3-game road swing at Denver; The Rams still haven't won on the road this season). Also, I'll be at the game up in section 325, and the Hawks are 13-1 with me in attendance at our new stadium... I'm not flying cross-country to see that mark go to 13-2.

Sidebar: after Matt Hasselbeck passed for 688 yards and no picks over the last two games, isn't it time for the Front Office to start seriously thinking about offering him a contract extension? We obviously still need to acquire his successor in the offseason, but why not keep Hass as the bridge/mentor to the new guy?

Sidebar 2: Brian Billick really shouldn't be allowed to talk into a microphone and describe things to people. He's almost as bad as Matt Millen, but at least Billick can at least say he led a team to a Super Bowl win rather than an 0-16 season.

Sidebar 3: I'm all about protecting QBs, but the flag on Brock for "hitting" Brees was abysmal officiating, and reeked of NBA-style protection of star players. That's not a road you want to start going down, NFL.

What do you think, sirs?

November 18, 2010

Back on the Air

Friday morning I'll be returning to the airwaves for the first time since my days DJing/hosting talk shows/doing basketball color commentary at KUGS-FM Bellingham back in the '90s... At 7 am Friday morning I'll be on 102.5 KZOK in Seattle talking about the Seahawks and this Sunday's game (I assume). You can listen on your radio, or online at their website... Spread the word!

November 17, 2010

Reflections on a Game of Little Importance

There are exactly two scenarios where I'd be sitting here thunderstruck and gobsmacked Sunday evening after the Saints game, thinking "well, THAT was a big deal..."

A) The Seahawks win! Not only would a 6-4 mark give Seattle a hammer-lock on the NFC West (with their closest competition likely STL at 4-6 after a home loss to Atlanta), but it would allow us fans to start thinking bigger than winning the division and hosting a Wild Card game. A win in New Orleans would also immeasurably change the narrative of the national football press regarding the Seahawks for the better.

B) The Seahawks not only lose, but suffer another rash of injuries. The most devastating possibility is Hasselbeck aggravating his wrist injury, leaving our playoff hopes in the hands of Charlie Whitehurst.

A mere loss, even if it's a blowout, simply wouldn't be that big of a deal. Yeah, if we get blown out, I'll be upset (like I am after every loss); Every Twelve will be. Some people are talking about this as a "must win" in terms of our chances of going beyond simply winning the NFC West, but I think that applies much more to the mentality of us Twelves than anything tangible about what might happen in the playoffs two months from now.

I really believe these are no longer the mentally fragile Seahawks we've seen at so many points in the past; even if they get outplayed Sunday, I doubt that would have ANY discernible impact on a possible rematch with New Orleans in the playoffs, or on how the Seahawks would play against any post-season opponent. Sure, we'll hear a lot of shit talked about our boys if they lose on Sunday, but I can fight through my bruised ego and hurt feelings with the knowledge that we still are in a great position to make the playoffs.

Even if Seattle loses, they'll likely be all alone in first at 5-5, because in addition to STL's tough assignment against the Falcons, the Cardinals have to go to Arrowhead and face a pissed KC team, and the Niners host the 6-3 Bucs. It's reasonable to think the whole division goes 0-4 Sunday- embarrassing on one level, but on balance good news for the Seahawks.

Obviously, the TEAM isn't looking at Sunday's game this way. That would be fucking stupid. I have no doubt they'll hit the Superdome turf with the same intensity they brought to Soldier Field and University of Phoenix Stadium, and offer up a competitive performance... But the simple fact is that our primary goal is to win our division, and a loss Sunday can really only knock us off the track towards that goal if we suffer additional, significant injuries.

I guess my message to all you Twelves this week is to take a breath, relax, and appreciate the great position the team is in now: Building towards the future, but with a real chance for success this season, regardless of Sunday's result.

If the Hawks actually win? Then, shit will have gotten mad real.

What do you think, sirs?

November 14, 2010

Seahawks 36, Cardinals 18

A lot of people didn't think that this was going to happen. A lot of people thought the Seahawks would just shrug and accept a lost season, like they did last year under Jim Mora's leadership. When Arizona jumped out to an early 7-0 nothing lead, you could FEEL the murmurs of "Same Old Seahawks" from Blaine to Walla Walla.

But memories are short. The same thing happened in Chicago last month, with the Seahawks falling behind early in a game no one really gave them a fighting chance to win. What happened in that game? My memory isn't what it used to be, but I think we won (against a team that is 6-3 and atop their division). Today the Seahawks played with fury, and won in a building where they were previously 0-4.

Yes, the Seahawks should have won this one by about 35-40 points. Yes, the Cardinals are a ragged collection of talentless turds and reprobates. There's plenty of stuff for Coach Carroll to correct in practice this week, but he's already succeeded in changing the mindset of a team that accepted losing far too easily over the last two seasons. Mora was wrong. This team didn't need "dirtbags." They needed leadership that developed mental toughness, and the creation of an attitude that doesn't accept any less than full effort. They also needed a lot of way better players, and Carroll/Schneider are in the process of remaking Seattle's roster. The fact that the Seahawks are all alone in 1st place in the middle of an all-out roster demolition/rebuilding is nothing short of amazing.

Seattle has just a 1-game lead in the NFC West, but they have a couple of big advantages over their divisional competitors: The Hawks are 3-1 in NFC West play, and have already notched two road wins (while the developing Rams haven't yet won a single road game). Eight wins, if they are the right ones, will get Seattle its 7th division title in franchise history.

The big stories today were Matt Hasselbeck, Mike Williams and Aaron Curry. Despite breaking a bone is his left wrist, Beck had his best game since 2007, passing for 333 yards, 1 TD and ZERO interceptions. If he keeps this up over the final 7 games, we may have to seriously consider bringing ReeBeck back in 2011. BMW had a ridiculous 145 yards on 11 catches (including one of the best catches we've seen in the NFL this season), and continued his march not just toward NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors, but towards a fairly big contract in the offseason (which better be an extension with the Seahawks).

Aaron Curry undoubtedly had the best day of his career, and the entire Seahawks defense played with a wounded, angry pride after getting road-hauled for the past two weeks. It was a fun afternoon of football, and there will be a few more of these over the next 7+ weeks.

The Seahawks won their 5th game today. They won 5 games ALL of last season. That's progress, Holmes.. and we're going to see a lot more progress over the next couple of months.

If you'll excuse me, I have to chug some NyQuil and crawl into bed (stupid stomach flu)... Have at it in the comments, yo!

November 11, 2010

More Than a Game

20 years ago today, this happened:

I've written about this amazing moment in this space before, but in this current period of angst for the Twelve Army I thought I'd go a bit deeper into why this meant so much to me...

I was 15, and going through an incredibly lame period in my life. My parents were splitting up, but that was actually some of the BETTER news in my life. I was never close to my Dad, and my parents were absolutely miserable together by that point, so my father leaving the scene was a fairly welcome development. The worse news was that we were bankrupt (good move buying that RV and that pontoon boat, dad!), and we were being forced to sell our house in Richland.

When I've written about this before, I've noted that the Chiefs game was happening during an Open House being held by our Realtor, and I refused to vacate my Seahawks cave in the basement to watch the game somewhere else. Why? It's pretty clear to me now: Everything else in my life was uncertainty, instability, and bone-deep fear. The one thing I could count on every week was the three hours I'd get to spend with the Seattle Seahawks, and I'd be damned if I was going to give that up.

I remember as that game wore on, I fell into a deep, unfathomable sadness. It was an ugly, fairly boring game, but it looked like we might pull it out holding a 10-9 lead in the 3rd quarter. Then came one of Derrick Thomas' record-breaking sacks that day, forcing Krieg to fumble... KC recovered in the end zone for a TD, and even though there was a quarter left to play, the game and the season felt lost. We would fall to 3-6, and all realistic hope for the post season would die.

Every one of Thomas' sacks hit not just Dave Krieg, but me as well. Not only were we going to lose, but an opposing player was going to break records against us. I could already feel the taunts that would be hurled at me the next day in school. I was at that pivot point where the Seahawks went from being relief from the drudgery of my life as a high school dork to pushing me further into depression and despair...

Then those last 48 seconds... Then Krieg slipping away from Thomas on the final play... The perfect pass... Skansi's amazing catch in traffic... Seahawks win! Catharsis! Ecstasy!

I floated on air for a week... The Seahawks rose up and made their last 7 games meaningful; I even got to watch them beat Barry Sanders and the Lions from the 100 level of the Kingdome on the season's final Sunday. Seattle would miss the playoffs on a tiebreaker, but I still cherish my memories of the 1990 season.

Right now I'm underemployed and living with my in-laws. Things aren't as bad as they were for me in 1990, but I still NEED that three hours with the Seahawks every week. Every day I wake up thinking "Yes! One day closer to Sunday!" I need them to win at Arizona, and make the last two months of the season meaningful.

I want to sit at Qwest Field on January 2nd, and watch the Seahawks fight for their playoff lives while I scream myself hoarse. Anything more than that is a bonus. Maybe my expectations are too low; It's more likely that I just have a well-developed ability to fool myself into thinking the best about the Seahawks... because facing stupid reality is just too depressing most of the time.

What do you think, sirs?

November 8, 2010

The Sprint

I'm not here today to feed you bullshit, wild-eyed optimism. The Seahawks are teetering on the brink of utter, catastrophic collapse. They desperately need key players like Russell Okung, Brandon Mebane, and Matt Hasselbeck back on the field THIS WEEK, and they MUST win one of these next two games on the road. Obviously, there's a lower degree of difficulty to beating the Cardinals than the Super Bowl Champion Saints.

Our lofty dreams of home field advantage and the Super Bowl have dissolved in a 74-10 fortnight of demolition, but that doesn't mean all hope is lost. Seattle is still tied for first in the NFC West at 4-4, and there's no compelling reason to think the Niners, Cardinals or Rams are going to magically conjure up a 5-game winning streak this year. It's going to be a brutal (and ugly) war of attrition in the NFC West the rest of the way, and Seattle's hopes lie primarily on two things happening:

A) That the worst of the injury epidemic is over, and Seattle will get healthier (and better) over the next two months.

B) That Matt Hasselbeck can outplay Derek Anderson and Troy Smith, and at least fight Sam Bradford to a draw at Qwest Field in week 17.

Before we delve into particulars about the Seahawks, let's look at our division foes:

49ers: 2-6 right now; projected final record? 5-11
There's a lot of yapping about the Niners getting back into the divisional race, but can you really see them beating Tampa Bay? Green Bay? San Diego? When they meet the Hawks in week 14, I have them coming in at 4-8.. If Seattle can't beat a 4-8 team regardless of venue, our problems are even deeper than I imagined.

Cardinals: 3-5 right now; projected final record? 7-9
I'd love to give AZ a worse record than this, but look at their schedule- After playing (and losing) to Seattle next week, then likely falling at KC, they get a procession of potentially easy W's: Denver, Carolina, Dallas, etc.

Rams: 4-4 right now; projected final record? 8-8
I think that the Rams will solve their issues on the road to a some degree, but not enough to win at Qwest Field in week 17. I've got them winning games at Denver and Arizona, as well as beating the Chiefs and Niners at their dome. They'll lose to the Niners, Falcons and Saints before the de-facto playoff game at Qwest January 2nd.

Seahawks: 4-4 right now; Projected final record? 8-8, NFC West Champs.
I'm trying my best to not be a raging homer, so I'm not going to predict wins over playoff-caliber teams like the Saints, Chiefs, Falcons or Bucs at this point. I think it's plausible that the Seahawks will improve/get healthy enough to bring down one or more of these teams, but that's an argument for another time.

Right now I have the Seahawks winning divisional games at Arizona and San Fransisco, a home game against Carolina, and of course the finale at Qwest against the Rams.

Why do the Seahawks advance? They'd end up with a better divisional record than STL (It'd be impossible for the Rams to beat or match a 5-1 divisional mark). The skeptics out there probably scoff at the notion we can win at AZ or SF, but these people probably doubt Seattle will win ANY more games this season (so fuck em!). It hasn't been THAT long since the Hawks went to Chicago and knocked off the now-5-3 Bears... Why couldn't we defeat the mediocre-at-best Cards or Niners?

Some of you are groaning at the notion of making the playoffs as an 8-8 division winner.. To you I say: Grow the fuck up. Getting a home playoff game isn't something that should be dismissed lightly... and guess what? Three of the four 8-8 teams to make the playoffs WON A PLAYOFF GAME (04 Rams, 04 Vikings, 08 Chargers).. So I'm not going to let the misplaced pride of some members of our fan base shame me into dismissing the desire for another championship banner hanging from the Qwest Field rafters.

What do you think, sirs?

November 7, 2010

Giants 41, Seahawks 7

Losses are depressing. Losses like today? They are soul-shaking. They conjure up all sorts of negative memories; A loss as humiliating as today's makes me think back to horrible childhood embarrassments.... The girls who dumped me, that time I had an uncontrollable spasm of farting in gym class after eating a McRib, that girl I dated from the trailer park who gave me head lice... Everything bad feels like it's immediately happening, right now, all over again. This was the kind of loss that makes you think "Why do I do this? Why do I get so emotionally invested in something I cannot control, and about half the time makes me feel like complete, utter dogshit?"

The best thing I can say is: This game is over, and there will still be another game next week (and, thank god, a meaningful game). We just endured the worst Seahawks loss ever at Qwest Field, but we are still here. I'm depressed, borderline despondent, but I'll shake it off to some degree as the week goes on and be right back here ready to watch us take it to Arizona.

I don't really have much to say about today's game. Even fielding a depleted lineup, even against an excellent Giants team, 41-7 at home is inexcusable. The offense is approaching 1992 levels of ineptitude, and is unlikely to be a team strength this year even with healthy personnel. We needed to dominate on special teams and win the turnover battle, and we didn't come close to either goal.

Whitehurst looked OK, but Hasselbeck will surely start next week in Arizona unless he fails his post-concussion tests again this week. As long as the Seahawks are in playoff contention (and yes, they still are), and as long as Matthew is healthy, he needs to start at QB. Presumably, we'll get healthier this week, and field a team that can compete and win next Sunday in Glendale. It's now an 8-game season, and the good news is that we start this season tied for first place in the NFC West.

Looking forward, we have a winnable game against a 3-5 team that is absolutely doomed because of their abysmal quarterback play. Even after the Giants debacle, this game at the Cards is one that we should be able to win. If we are fortunate, we will have players like Hasselbeck, Okung, and Mebane back on the the field, and begin the process of obscuring the painful memories of this awful, endless afternoon of despair.

I'm in a dark, ugly place right now. But I'm still here. I still have faith that the Seahawks can fulfill the promise I saw in them all the way back in April. Their goals are still very much within their grasp, and they still have this Solider of Twelve behind them.

We will survive, and eventually, we will win. *Sigh*

November 4, 2010

You're Up, Charlie

Charlie Whitehurst will start at QB for the Seahawks this Sunday after Matt Hasselbeck was not physically cleared to play following his concussion in Oakland. This means a number of things:

1. I'll be wearing my bright green Carlson jersey Sunday, since I have a weird aversion to wearing the jersey of an injured player.

2. I don't think this really impacts our chances of winning on Sunday very much; It was going to be up to the defense, special teams and Twelve Army anyway. Whitehurst just needs to avoid turnovers... If he actually jump starts the offense, that's be a HUGE bonus.

3. It's tempting to make the comparison to the switch from Zorn to Krieg in '83. Going into a week 8 home game, Seattle was 4-3, and Zorn wasn't exactly playing at an all-pro level. Krieg replaced Zorn at halftime of that Steelers game, and never looked back, leading Seattle to the playoffs and starting at QB for most of the following decade. While I certainly hope Whitehurst plays that well, the more likely scenario is the return of a healthy Hasselbeck under center for the Arizona game.

4. Offensively, the key is going to be getting the running game going to take pressure off Whitehurst. This is exactly why we traded for Lynch; Hopefully Beast Mode and Young Nastyman combine for 35-40 carries and open up play-action opportunities for Buddy Christ to find BMW and/or Deon deep.

5. As a Hasselbeck loyalist, I'm a bit torn. I'd prefer the Seahawks to win behind a healthy, productive Beck, but more than anything I want to WIN- period. If CW plays great and gives us a better chance to win, I will fully support him being named the starter for the remainder of this season. I'm oddly energized by this move, and I hope the same goes for all the fans at Qwest Sunday. If the offense gets introduced, I hope Charlie draws the biggest cheers- He needs all the help we can give him.

What do you think, sirs?

November 3, 2010

Why We'll Win

Usually, I'll leave the X's and O's talk to sites like Field Gulls and Hawkblogger, who are both better at the high-end football strategy and statistical stuff. But I'm looking around, and I'm not seeing much in terms of hope for a victory this Sunday. The mighty Giants are rolling into Qwest, and the Seahawks are beat-up, far from full-strength, and coming off an embarrassing blowout road loss.

Sounds like the situation after week 2, doesn't it? Weren't the talented Chargers supposed to truck us? I'm here to tell you the Seahawks will win Sunday, and they will do it much the same way they took down San Diego a few weeks ago. Let's look at some numbers that break in Seattle's FAVOR (feel free to use all this as ammo against the haters this week)

-According to Football Outsider's DVOA rankings, the Seahawks have the best Special Teams unit in the NFL, while New York's is next-to-last. Seattle's win on Sunday will include Jon Ryan pinning the Giants deep, and Leon Washington setting up a short field for Hasselbeck and the offense. It will probably also include multiple long FGs from Mare, and a bushel of touchbacks. A special teams takeaway or touchdown? That could be the clincher for Seattle.

-Speaking of "ball security," only the Panthers and Cardinals have barfed up more turnovers than the 21 the Giants have surrendered. A Seattle win is going to include winning the turnover battle, probably by a +2 or greater margin.

-Under Coughlin, the Giants are 3-3 coming off bye weeks. They are also only 3-4 on the road in the Pacific Time Zone during the Coughlin era. Not exactly fearsome history, huh?

-The biggest thing? Qwest Field. Playing in front of the Twelve Army just makes the Seahawks a smidgen faster, stronger, and BETTER... While making the opposition a bit slower, weaker, and WORSE. The Giants know this well, but I doubt they are going to show up with a solution to the problem this Sunday. A raucous, NFC-Championship type atmosphere will help lead the Seahawks to an upset win.

-Plus, it's a 50/50 proposition that it'll rain... I can't see rain as anything but another advantage for Seattle.

The formula that beat the Chargers can and WILL work to beat the Giants. Go forth and spread the word, minions!

November 1, 2010

Mark Schlereth is a Piss-Stained, Nine-Year-Old Bully

Anyone with working eyeballs and access to the internet knows this: The Seahawks SUCKED yesterday. There's no other way to spin it. Yup, those Oakland fuckers put the boots to us.. big time.

Still, there's no excuse for an ESPN on-air personality, someone who is ostensibly an OBJECTIVE, PROFESSIONAL JOURNALIST, tweeting this:

markschlereth: Just watched the Raiders crush the Sea about dominating the LOS!

Sea. Chickens. What... The... FUCK? If you are a Twelve, you know this as common schoolyard taunt flung at us by haters and opposing fans. It is not something that can be taken as anything but a raw, vile insult by a Seahawks fan. It's also childish, immature, and trite.... and it was dug back up by an ESPN personality who, it should be restated, is supposed to be an OBJECTIVE, PROFESSIONAL JOURNALIST. Soooooo... this was my reply:

DKSB17: @markschlereth Sea Chickens? Fuck you, dude. God damn overrated pants-pissing piece of shit.

(Yes, Schlereth admits to intentionally pissing himself during games when he played for the Broncos... Yuk!)

DKSB17: Former Bronco + incompetent ESPN bobblehead @markschlereth just called the #seahawks "Sea Chickens." Join me in telling him to fuck off

As I wrote on twitter, I highly doubt that Schlereth would EVER refer to another NFL team in such starkly negative terms. Can you really see him calling Dallas the Cowgirls? Even with that team at 1-6? Can you see him calling DC's team the Deadskins, even after that debacle in Detroit yesterday? No, you fucking can't.

I can take neglect from ESPN. I can even take criticism after we play like ass. What I can't take is incompetent, overpaid, under-informed bobbleheads going OUT OF THEIR WAY to insult the Seahawks (who, by the way- have a winning record, lead their division, and STILL HAVE A BETTER RECORD THAN OAKLAND!).

More tweets from the asshead:

As a northwest guy we used to call them the Sea Chickens all the time! Wasn't supposed to be disrespectful but they did get trucked!

Seahawks fan, do you want to talk trash? Bring it

@DKSB17 boohoo!

Let's unpack this: No, you moron... It's not OK for you to call the Seahawks the Sea Chickens just because you are a "Northwest Guy." (side note: he grew up in Alaska and went to college in Idaho... no disrespect to Twelves in either state, but the fucker isn't even from Washington state.) In some ways, it's WORSE. That means you just remind me of every piece of shit who taunted me after Seahawks losses in grade school. Yup, that's your level of discourse: Grade school dipshit.

Since when is it acceptable for an OBJECTIVE, PROFESSIONAL JOURNALIST to "talk trash" to viewers/fans/possible sources of ESPN revenue? Also, his witty retort to me? Nothing but class, professionalism, and wit.

I hope that unhousebroken shitheel reads this. You are an embarrassment to ESPN and to your whole profession. I sincerely hope you get fired and end up in some backwater doing shitty day-time sports talk radio to eke out a living.

Fuck you very much.

If y'all want to put some pressure on him, markschlereth is his twitter account, and you can email ESPN's ombudsman here.

October 31, 2010

Raiders 33, Seahawks 3

Well, my optimism has, at least momentarily, been proven to be ill-founded. Obviously, we don't look like a Super Bowl contender right now, but we're still in first place and I still believe we'll finish with a winning record and as champions of the NFC West.

That was one of the most painful losses we've absorbed in a while, wasn't it? The stunning spate of injuries was a testament to how thoroughly Oakland dominated us physically (we are still waiting for word on how severe they all are).

The detestable Raiders outplayed us, bringing greater intensity and better coaching (yipes!), but that was compounded by Seattle mental lapses and just awful fucking luck. The bright spot was the special teams, who gave the offense and defense chances to make plays all day- Those units simply could not capitalize on the opportunities.

It's going to be a LONG week heading up to the Giants game. You are going to hear nothing but pronouncements of absolute, utter doom for the Seahawks.. A lot of this will even come from Seahawks fans. It's going to be unpleasant, to say the least.

But you.. You've been through worse. You're a Twelve, god damn it! You lived through FAR worse than this.... and I'm telling you, if you stay strong, and you keep the faith, you WILL be rewarded. Nine games left. Win five, and you win the division. One of those will get knocked out next week.

Yes, the Giants are a strong team... But the Seahawks will play far better, hopefully have Okung and Bane back on the field, and be backed by a bugfuck-crazy horde of 67,000 Twelves... Remember: If you have a ticket to the game, you can help the Seahawks win. Eli Manning doesn't exactly bring his A-game to Qwest- Let's make sure he doesn't on Sunday.

On twitter, I criticized what I see as the negativity that grips many Seahawks fans. I stand by that, but I can also give these encouraging words: If you go to Qwest, and you yell yourself hoarse for 3 hours next Sunday, YOU help the team win. YOU are important.. More important than what any reporter or blogger writes about the Seahawks; More important than all the haters and naysayers combined. YOU can make a win next week happen. Remember, this is for you:

Don't let the bastards drag you down! Wear your Seahawks gear this week. Remind everyone the Hawks are still all alone in first place. Go out on the limb and tell the unbelievers that Seattle will win on Sunday... That's what I'm fixin' to do.

You are the hearty and the hale, my readers. You knew nothing would come easily this season. You knew we'd have to weather storms as much as we'd bask in post-victory glory. We will fight, we will endure, and when we leave the field victorious after beating the Rams in the regular season finale, we will be back in our rightful perch: NFC West Champions.

Your faith will be vindicated.

October 28, 2010

The Importance of Starting 5-2

Wanna know how important Sunday's game is? Well, do you know what the Seahawks 1984, 1986, 1987, 1999, 2003 and 2005 seasons all have in common?

In all those seasons the Seahawks got off to a 5-2 start, and in every one of those campaigns but 1986, Seattle made the playoffs (although the '86ers won 10 games and surely won Super Bowl XXI in a tangent universe).

Yes, Sunday is just a single, non-conference game, and a loss wouldn't be a season-killer... but it's hard to overstate how much a win in Oakland would boost Seattle's post-season hopes.

In other news- Anyone hitting Halloween parties with Seahawks-related costumes? Or have any ideas for something like that? Spill it in the comments, yo.

October 26, 2010

A Tribute to a Work in Progress

Even John Morgan over on Field Gulls has now admitted the possibility of something more than a 9-7, wild-card-round sort of season for our Seattle Seahawks. Given that Morgan isn't exactly a geyser of Seahawks optimism, you know something unusual is afoot. Hell, Tony Dungy just called us the best team in the NFC the other night (a statement met with open derision by Dan Patrick and Rodney Harrison... That fuck Harrison? He'll be dealt with later on).

I'm not ready to anoint Seattle as Super Bowl favorites- I've seen too many promising Seahawks starts dissolve, like a Newcomer in salt water, into non-playoff seasons to book my February flight to Dallas just yet... However, I'm at a point where I'd be shocked by anything less than an NFC West title this season. Let's break down the remaining schedule, shall we?

Games Seattle SHOULD win: @OAK, @AZ, CAR, @SF, STL
Games Seattle LIKELY WON'T BE FAVORED to win: NYG, @NO, KC, ATL, @TB

If you really think that we shouldn't be able to beat the Raiders, Cardinals or Niners regardless of venue, you really need an immediate infusion of Twelve confidence. These are mediocre-to-bad teams that Seattle SHOULD beat. So that part is simple: win the games we should win, and you get to 9-7. That week 17 win over STL should settle the west, even if the Rams come into that one 8-7 (remember, they already have four losses and have not won away from home yet).

If the Seahawks win ANY of the games from that other menu? We're talking 10 or more wins, and a real chance at a playoff bye or even the #1 seed. To me, the probable range of our final record is between 9-7 and 11-5. It's exciting, isn't it?

We've just been through two craptacular seasons, but thank God we have ownership that didn't passively give Mora "another chance." Nope. Mr. Allen recognized that was a terrible, losing notion and brought in a hungry, talented HC and a young, bright GM. This season could crumble down the stretch like 1994 or 1998, but I doubt it... Carroll and Schneider have turned the Seahawks Steamer away from the pointy rocks and toward a smooth(ish) journey to Championship contention.

Yes, we don't yet have a Lombardi Trophy, but we are a LUCKY fan base: A billionaire owner who invests in the team but doesn't meddle in football decisions, the best facilities in the NFL, a front office that creates an amazing fan experience on gamedays at Qwest Field, and a team clearly back on the upswing. Enjoy this, Twelves. Our time in the Hell of losing, mediocre football looks like it was blessedly brief.

Next up? Oakland. I guess I'm supposed to be all scared of going into the Black Hole on Halloween? Meh. The Raiders beat up on Denver the other day. Good for them... But I'll believe they can play well for two consecutive games when it actually fucking happens... They're a brood of Silver-and-Black flakes down there, and our Hawks are going to remind them of their proper place in the NFL pecking order on Sunday.