April 29, 2010

The Greatest Seahawk

A couple of years ago, Walter Jones finished 2nd to Steve Largent in the balloting for "The Greatest Seahawk" on this very blog. With his retirement today, I think it's worth reprinting MY arguments from back then that he was the best player in franchise history...

In my opinion, the BEST PLAYER IN SEAHAWKS HISTORY is Walter Jones. The P-I had a really good piece about why Big Walt should be Canton-bound recently... Following the Seahawks' Super Bowl run in 2005, one NFC scout called Jones "not just the most dominating player at his position, but the most dominating player at any position in the NFL."

As much as we all love Steve Largent, he was never a DOMINANT player, and he was probably never the best player in the NFL at his position. Walter Jones is the indispensable man: He is the one player MOST responsible for the Seahawks golden age from 2003-2007. Without him, Matt Hasselbeck isn't an all-pro. Without him, Shaun Alexander would not have had his great run of success in Seattle. Without his off-season commitment to pushing goddamn Escalades around, he wouldn't have maintained his spectacular level of play over more than a decade.

If Walter Jones is not a first-ballot Hall of Famer, the Twelve Army should march on NFL headquarters with pitchforks and torches. When ESPN ranked the best players of the decade, Jones came in 4th behind only Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and LaDanian Tomlinson, and is widely recognized as the elite player at possibly the most valuable position on the field in the modern NFL.

Oh, but there's more! Just check out this list of individual and team accomplishments from Big Walt's Seahawks run:

-9 Pro Bowl Selections
-4 All-Pro Selections
-100 team wins from 1998-2007 (His decade as the full-time starter)
-8 winning seasons
-5 division titles
-6 playoff appearances
-1 Conference Championship
-Blocked for a 1200+ yard rusher each season from 1998-2005
-Allowed only 23 sacks in 180 career starts

The ONLY proper way to start the 2010 regular season on September 12 is to have Big Walt raise the 12th Man Flag before the game, and put him in the Ring of Honor/Retire his number at halftime.

Enjoy your retirement, Mr. Jones. We'll see you in Canton a few years down the road.

April 21, 2010

The Seahawks will go 9-7 and win the NFC West

Yeah yeah, I know I'm crazier than Teddy Daniels on this one... but here's how it'll play out:

9/12 v SF W
9/19 @ DEN L
9/26 v SD L
10/3 @ STL W
10/10 BYE
10/17 @ CHI L
10/24 v AZ W
10/31 @ OAK W

11/7 v NYG L
11/14 @ AZ L
11/21 @ NO L
11/28 v KC W
12/5 v CAR W
12/12 @ SF W

12/19 v ATL L
12/26 @ TB W
1/2 v STL W

We win the west over the Niners based on a head-to-head sweep. 5-1 in the division, 5-3 at home, and 4-4 on the road (just like 2006).

What is your completely irrelvant, unfounded prediction? :)

April 18, 2010

Being a Misogynist, Predatory Asshole isn't Just Immoral, it's Bad for Business

I'm hesitant to indulge my desire to celebrate the ugly public fall of Ben Roethlisberger, simply because there are players on every team (including the Seahawks) that have done despicable, sometimes illegal, things to women. Violence against women is a systemic problem in our society, not just among dickbag Pittsburgh quarterbacks.

Admittedly, no one would call me a typical guy, but I would hope even the most enthusiastic Girls Gone Wild fan or frequent Hooters patron would agree with this: It's simply never justified to physically assault your significant other, and it's never ok to pump booze down another human being's throat so you can have sex with them.

These seem like non-controversial notions, but NFL players from Warren Moon to Leroy Hill, from Brandon Marshall to Big Ben, seem to have trouble adhering to the basic standards of human decency. The behavior isn't new, but the NFL doling out punishment for it certainly is... Even without charges being filed, Roethlisberger faces a multi-game suspension. Why? It's not just out of a desire to strike a blow in the struggle against misogyny.

Like most of these things, the motivation is straight cash, homie. Women comprise a bigger chunk of the NFL's fanbase every year, which means every year they watch more games (and advertisements), buy more tickets, and scoop up more merchandise than they did the previous season. With the sleazy details of Big Ben's behavior now available to the public, Goodell has little choice but to punish the Steelers QB.

Let's not pretend that the NFL is some angelic organization; But at the very least, they clearly want their players to be more discreet about their turdy behavior. Hopefully the punishment for Roethlisberger is severe enough to make other athletes think twice before emulating his sociopathic activity. Remember, guys: No means no, but a girl being too drunk to consent ALSO means no.

April 17, 2010

Seahawks 2010 Schedule Wish List

As y'all know, the 2010 NFL schedule drops on Tuesday... Here's a few things every Seahawks fan should want to see on Seattle's regular-season slate a couple of days from now:

1. Less than four 10 a.m. pacific time kickoffs
Those early starts have always bedeviled the Seahawks, and there are four obvious candidates for 10 a.m. games: @TB, @NO, @STL, and @CHI. Any of these four games starting later in the day vastly increases Seattle's chances of stealing a road win. If the Seahawks end up with 5+ 10 a.m. starts, we'll know the NFL office is (still) fucking with us.

2. No three game road swings
It's not like the Seahawks would have made the playoffs otherwise last year, but the three-game road trip in November certainly didn't help us.

3. Trips to Chicago and Denver before Nov. 1, trip to Tampa AFTER Nov. 1
Avoiding snowstorms and heatstroke clearly would benefit the Seahawks. Other than rain, our Seahawks aren't renowned for kicking ass in extreme weather scenarios.

4. Trip to New Orleans in week 16 or 17
By then, the World Champs might be resting guys... Hey, I'll take wins any way I can get 'em these days.

5. Kickoff weekend at home v. STL
What WOULDN'T be great about this? We haven't lost to the Rams since 2004, and it would likely be the first NFL start for #1 pick Sam Bradford. Pretty please, Rog?

6. Visit to STL in October
Not that we have trouble with the Rams, but that STL crowd always seems extra-gripped with malaise if the Cardinals' MLB season is still going (or if they are mourning its recent end).

7. One national TV game?
I shouldn't even mention this as a possibility, but Carroll's presence might get us an MNF date. Coach Carroll's "return to Cali" storyline makes the games @SF and @OAK our best chances for national exposure (both are also possibilities for the late game in the week 1 MNF double-header).

Anything obvious I missed?

April 8, 2010

Seriously, does this shit happen to fans of other teams?

One thing I learned pretty quickly once I moved to the midwest: The attitude of folks out here towards the Seahawks is almost always either

A) Total ignorance
B) Inexplicably intense contempt

Hell, my wife didn't even know Seattle had an NFL team before we met in 2000... and it's not like she's a sports-phobic gal: She's a big Ohio State and Detroit Tigers fan. Now she knows more about the Seahawks than she ever cared to, simply through second-hand fandom.

Anyway, whenever people address the fact that I'm a Seahawks fan out here, the first question is almost always: "Why are you a Seahawks fan?" This question is usually paired with a facial expression one might make when they smell a fart. The only answer that is even remotely satisfactory to them is "I'm from out there." Any other response leaves them utterly flummoxed. Why?

One reason: To most people out here, I'm the first Seahawks fan they have EVER met. They have probably seen more manatees or monkeys than Seahawks fans in their lives, so I'm instantly a novelty. But in the questioning there's almost always also a touch of "Why the fuck would anyone like THAT team?" Even when we were in the glory days of 2003-2007, I had numerous dickholes express mock sympathy for me when they found out I was a soldier in the Twelve Army.

At least back then I could retort with "Oh yes, it totally sucks to root for a team that has the 3rd best record in the league since realignment, 5 straight playoff appearances, 4 straight division titles, and an NFC Championship." That was always DEEPLY satisfying.

Unfortunately, we DO suck now, so that's no longer an arrow in my rhetorical quiver.

For example, today I went to Lids at the mall to get a new Seahawks cap. I had $20 of birthday money in my pocket (thanks Mom), and I wanted a dark blue Seahawks hat. You see, pretty much my closet is filled with different shades of blue... So blue Seahawks hats + blue Red Sox hats + blue Seahawks shirts + blue Red Sox shirts = a full wardrobe for yours truly.

As an aside: I HATE Lids. The store is usually filled with semi-literate frat-boy douchenozzles, and the people that work there are always trying to get you to join their fucktarded "hat club," or get asstacular personalized stitching, or buy some completely fucking unnecessary "hat care" crap. I'd love to not shop there.

However, my options for buying Seahawks hats out here are limited, and I'm not going to buy a hat blindly on the internet. Yeah, you see a picture, but you might get a hat with fucked-up stitching, or it might not fit quite right, etc. I gotta handle a hat before I buy it (same goes for jerseys).

Keep this in mind: I am there at Lids to SPEND MONEY. To give them cold, hard American currency. They should be nice to me, no? Also, I'm wearing my bad-ass Seahawks hoodie, so it's pretty obvious I'm a Seattle fan.

I get to the register to buy my hat, and this is what the clerk lady says:

"Are you sure you want a hat for a mediocre team rather than a good team?"

What. The. FUCK?

I glare at her, absolutely mute. Finally she breaks the tension by saying "my son is a Seahawks fan." Still, I glared, mind-knives shooting out of my eyeballs. She asked me about buying all the stupid extraneous bullshit and earned a terse "No" to each query. Finally I ask "so why is your son a Seahawks fan?" Her reply, I shit you not:

"I have no idea. I think he might be mentally challenged."

Let's imagine you're at the Southcenter Lids: Can you imagine the clerk talking shit like that to a Browns fan? A Bengals fan? Colts? Steelers? (Ok, maybe the Lions)

I seriously considered not buying the hat, but my desire to represent trumped my hunger to stick it to this fucking moron. As she gave me my change, and said "thank you," I told her that was the last thing I would buy there. Yeah, I know... weak comeback. I was half-stunned by how god damn retarded it was to blatantly insult someone who wants to BUY SOMETHING FROM YOU.

So, I leave you with two questions: Why are we Seahawks fans treated like lepers with Cancer-AIDS? What is your most stunning story of ignorant, hateful boobery directed at you and our Seahawks? Go!

April 2, 2010

Living Receivers: The Tangent Universe 1986 Seattle Seahawks

The other night I finally saw Hot Tub Time Machine, and I gotta agree with Roger Ebert: Solid Fucking Flick. But since I can yoke literally anything to our beloved Seahawks, the 1986 setting of the film (including the Broncos/Browns AFC title game, which was actually in January of 1987), made me think... What if those white-hot '86 Hawks actually had made the playoffs?

Long-time readers probably know that I love the 1986 Seahawks more than any squad in team history besides the 2005 NFC Champs. Here's a rambling explanation why. Please read it if you aren't familiar with the mythical '86 Seahawks. Back? Good.

The excruciating reality is that if Nick Lowery had missed a single FG, and if Buffalo had won an OT game at Cincy instead of the Bengals, The Seahawks would have rolled into the postseason. This is the history that never happened...

December 28, 1986: AFC Wild Card Game
Seahawks 31, Jets 14
On November 17, Seattle was 5-6, and had just lost 34-7 to Cincinnati. The Jets were 10-1 and an all-New Jersey XXI seemed like a real possibility. However, while the Seahawks were kicking more ass than Sledge Hammer!, the Jets lost 5 games in a row, all by at least 14 points. NYJ's defense gave up at least 45 points three times during this stretch, but were still home favorites over the surging Seahawks.

Bobby Joe Edmonds set the tone by returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown, and the rout was on. Jacob Green and Joe Nash both sacked Pat Ryan twice, and rookie fullback John L. Williams scored his first two NFL touchdowns. The fading Jets didn't put up much of a fight... The next game at Cleveland wouldn't be so easy.

January 3, 1987: AFC Divisional Playoff
Seahawks 23, Browns 20 (OT)
The Seahawks were double-digit underdogs heading into decrepit Cleveland Municipal Stadium, and for 57 minutes the top-seeded Browns were in control. Schottenheimer kept it conservative in an attempt to hold a 20-10 lead, and it seemed to be working until Norm Johnson banged through a 50-yarder to cut the lead to 7. Seattle's ensuing onside kick failed, but Cleveland was stopped cold on 4th-and-inches when Fredd Young stuffed Kevin Mack in the backfield.

Seattle took over at their own 41, and with 1:31 left and no time outs, needed a touchdown to tie. Against the din created by 81,000 Cleveland fanatics, Dave Krieg completed all 5 pass attempts on the climatic drive, three of which were hauled in by Steve Largent. The future Hall-of-Famer's spectacular, toe-dragging 17-yard TD catch tied the game with only 22 seconds left.

The Browns took a knee and settled for OT. They would never get the ball back.

Edmonds once again came through for Seattle, returning the OT kickoff to midfield. Krieg dropped a 35-yard bomb into Darryl Turner's hands, and three plays later Johnson's 30-yard attempt was true. The ancient stadium fell as silent as a tomb, and Seattle was headed to Mile High Stadium for their 3rd meeting of the season with the hated Broncos.

January 11, 1987: AFC Championship Game
Seahawks 31, Broncos 27
Three weeks earlier, the Seahawks steamrolled Denver in the regular season finale 41-16. The AFC title game seemed to pick up right where that game left off, with Seattle converting two early Elway interceptions into Curt Warner TD runs. After one quarter, Seattle led 17-0. At the half? 24-7. The 4th quarter started with the Seahawks comfortably ahead 31-13, and Coach Knox repeated Schottenheimer's error from the week before: He sat on the ball and hoped the clock would run out before Seattle's lead evaporated.

Then John Elway terrorized every Seahawks fan alive...

With 10 minutes left, an Elway touchdown scramble. Then a meek Seattle 3-and-out. With 5 minutes left, Elway drove a dart into Steve Watson's chest to cut the Seattle lead to 31-27. Mile High Stadium was shaking like David Byrne in his big suit, and it looked like the Seahawks were set to pull one of the biggest choke jobs in playoff history.

Another brief possession, then a Seattle punt. The Broncos had just under three minutes to drive 80 yards. Twice it appeared the Seahawks would stop Elway, only to see Denver convert on 4th down. The Orange Menace made it all the way to the Seattle 12, and had a first down with 35 seconds left.

Elway spotted Mark Jackson open in the back of the end zone. Touchdown. Super Bowl... but then a flash of white: Eugene Robinson, diving in front of Jackson for the game-clinching interception. Silence in Denver... Delirium in Seattle. The Seahawks were headed to Super Bowl XXI.

January 25, 1987: Super Bowl XXI
Seahawks 24, Giants 23
A giant horde of Twelves greeted the Seahawks when they arrived at Sea-Tac after winning the AFC title, and if you paid attention to the national press, those were practically the only people who gave Seattle a chance in XXI. The New York Giants were the class of the NFL, and to the football elite it didn't seem particularly relevant that NYG's last defeat was at the Kingdome three months earlier.

"The Seahawks needed four Simms interceptions to win by 5 at home," the conventional wisdom went... "it was a fluky win that won't be repeated." The focus of the pre-XXI hype was almost entirely on the Giants, and the Seahawks took the field at the Rose Bowl with a palpable "us against the world" mentality. They were 15-point underdogs, and despite the west-coast setting, the crowd was overwhelmingly tilted towards New York.

NYG's defense was the best in the league against the run, so Dave Krieg would have to play the game of his life for Seattle to have a chance. Curt Warner was held to 47 yards on 15 carries, but Milton College's most famous graduate went 22-25 for 268 yards and three touchdowns. In what was instantly regarded as the greatest Super Bowl ever, two teams on a combined 19-game winning streak went to war for 3+ hours.

The Seahawks led 21-14 with 7 minutes left when Lawrence Taylor made what looked like a game-changing play: LT sacked Krieg in the end zone and forced a fumble; in the ensuing chaos the ball skittered out of bounds for a Giants safety. Phil Simms found Mark Bavaro for the go-ahead touchdown with less than three minutes on the clock, and it looked like the Seahawks would have to settle for the respect gained from a valiant but losing effort.

Then the play that would make John L. Williams a football immortal: The bubble screen. JLW rambled 64 yards down to the Giants 14-yard-line behind a series of perfectly executed downfield blocks. Only Lawrence Taylor's spectacular effort to catch Williams from behind kept Seattle out of the end zone. A Norm Johnson chip-shot put the Seahawks up 24-23 with 1:58 left.... unfortunately, that left plenty of time for Simms to get NYG in FG range.

The largest TV audience since the M*A*S*H finale was riveted to the final drive. It came down to a 41-yard game-winning FG attempt by Raul Allegre with 3 seconds on the clock... Snap. Hold. Kick. Wide right. BARELY wide right.

The Seattle Seahawks were Champions of the World, and Dave Krieg was headed to Disneyland. From Anchorage to Boise, fans celebrated like Ewoks singing Yub-Nub. The victory parade in Seattle drew a crowd of 500,000 delirious Twelves. The Lombardi Trophy was ours, and nothing would ever be the same.

Coach Knox retired on top a week after the XXI win, and was replaced by DC Tom Catlin. In the wake of a Super Bowl win, the Seahawks gambled a late-round pick on Heisman Trophy winner (and Kansas City Royals outfielder) Bo Jackson. It paid off with a spectacular rookie campaign, highlighted by a 257-yard explosion on MNF against the hated L.A. Raiders.

The Seahawks rolled to a 13-2 record in 1987, but couldn't overcome an injury to Jackson in the divisional playoff win over Houston. Denver got its revenge in the AFC Championship. In 1988 the Seahawks returned to the Super Bowl only to lose a heartbreaker to Joe Montana and the 49ers.

Seattle's decline started in the 1990 playoffs with Jackson's career-ending injury in a playoff loss at Buffalo. After a sub-par 1991 campaign, Catlin and Super Bowl MVP Krieg were run out of town. The Nordstrom family made a splash by luring Miami University coach Dennis Erickson back to the Pacific Northwest with millions of dollars and the promise of total control. Erickson's series of weak drafts and dubious free agent signings led to his firing after the 1996 season, and the Nordstroms replaced him with Patriots Head Coach Bill Parcells.

Hey, it could have happened.