My weekend trip out west to see family, friends and the Seahawks got off to a rough start at the Flint, MI airport. Here's what the TSA guy said when he saw my Seahawks cap:
"Seahawks? PFFT. Why the hell did you guys sign Tarvaris?"
So it began- I tried to explain the reasoning behind the move while taking off my shoes and getting out my ziplock baggie of various liquids, but he wasn't really buying it. Then were the acquaintances at my friend's birthday party in Seattle Saturday night, who were unanimously incredulous when I told them the Seahawks would beat the Cardinals. The pessimism about the Seahawks is a national pandemic- from casual observers thousands of miles away to the very nerve-center of the Twelve Army.
There was a lone hopeful event that boosted my spirits, however- Given that my only Seahawks jersey was a Matt Hasselbeck model, I needed to get a new one on my visit out to Seattle. I decided that I would take advantage of the deal being offered at the Seahawks Stadium Pro Shop: Turn in any old Seahawks jersey and get 25% off a new one. For me, that meant I'd have to part with my #8, and give up the dream that I'd wear it someday to his Ring of Honor ceremony. It was a sad thing to contemplate, but given that I'm not exactly flush with cash right now, it seemed like a necessary sacrifice.
That was until my close friend Katie stepped in and said (as I remember it) "No way. You LOVED Hasselbeck, and I remember you defending him when I was crapping all over him- You explained to me what he meant to this team- There's no way I'm letting you trade that in."
She offered up her own old Julius Jones jersey, and I ended up getting my SWEET new Earl Thomas jersey at a discounted price. She also reminded me that blind optimism is pretty much my best quality as a Seahawks fan- Her gesture re-energized me for Sunday's game.
I showed up in my "I'm Calling it Seahawks Stadium" t-shirt (which got dozens of reactions from people- every one positive and many asking how they could get one) with my little brother James (Who KICKED ASS for Kamiakin in their HUGE 14-6 win over arch-rival Kennewick), ready to use every decibel I could muster to help drag the Seahawks to victory.
I've been to 18 games at Seahawks Stadium, and by far this was the SURLIEST crowd I've ever been a part of. The "Char-Lie!" chants started up in my part of the stadium with Jackson's first incompletion, and just intensified with every subsequent sack or missed target. A dude in front of me tried to start an "Andrew Luck" chant, but thankfully that didn't catch on. Amazingly, boos cascaded down upon the Seahawks as they left the field at half-time, down by a whopping four points.
Here's what I don't get: It's universally "known" that this is a VERY young team in rebuilding mode. Why, for the love of fuck, would you BOO them? I'd never boo the Seahawks, but I can sorta see booing a team like the 2009s, who just fucking gave up with a month left in the season. These guys are playing hard and learning tough lessons- They are kids on the uptick, not a veteran-laden group laying down on the job. My point? Don't boo your own fuckin' team, assholes!
Strangely, when the offense starting moving the ball in the second half, and Jackson sacrificed his body to put the Seahawks in front with a gritty TD scramble, there were no "T-Jack" chants. Look, I know the guy is never going to be a Pro Bowler, and if he craps out badly the next two weeks, it's probably Beef Supreme time after the bye... But Seahawks fans should at least give the dude credit for his toughness and leadership ability, and I still think he can lead us to an NFC West title if the O-line improves and Sidney Rice can stay healthy.
The big story was Seattle's rapidly developing defense, led by fierce young safeties Thomas and Kam Chancellor. The Hawks already have the best defense in the NFC West, and sooner rather than later could have one of the best defensive units in the NFL (and "sooner" might be later THIS season). Thomas and Chancellor set the tone from the start with controlled, vicious brutality, and the rest of the D is following their lead- Be excited, Twelves... You have a great young defense.
Despite the "Char-Lie" chants and the boos, the Twelve Army still rained intolerable noise upon the Arizona Cardinals, and I can forgive a lot of transgressions by fellow fans if they are still punishing opposing offenses like that- In the end, we all got to go home happy, and our team is still very much alive in a weak NFC West.
Seriously- Tell me why we CAN'T repeat as division champs. We will improve as the season goes on... Hell, we might even beat a staggering Atlanta squad this Sunday. No one else in the division is going to run away with this- as I said before, I STILL expect the Seahawks to be alive in the NFC West race going into those final two against SF and AZ. Eight wins WILL be enough to win the West for sure, and seven might just do it again.
Know hope, Twelves- Not just for 2012 and beyond, but for next week and next month. We can rebuild AND win.
What do you think, sirs?