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?