Playoff talk around the Seahawks has started up again, but almost everyone is very careful to declare upfront that there is almost no chance of Seattle actually reaching the postseason. In fact, it seems like it's almost a badge of "seriousness" to dismiss the Seahawks' playoff chances with an eye roll and a wanking motion.
But I'm not serious. I'm not realistic. I'm not rational. Not when it comes to the Seahawks. Hell, two years ago I wrote about how the 2009 team could still make the playoffs at 5-7. How fucking STUPID does that article look, in light of the MoraHawks subsequent "December of Surrender" that landed them at 5-11?
I understand how most normal human sports fans operate. Expecting the worst allows you to build up your mental defenses and inoculate yourself from the pain that every sports fan has to endure. It's the natural tendency of most fans to drift away when their team is bad, and let the currents of winning bring them back to shore. For a mentally healthy person, it makes sense to not get too emotionally invested in a team with a 7.2% chance of making the playoffs.
What I have learned over 28 years of being a Seahawks fan is that I am NOT sane or normal in any of the accepted meanings of those terms. I've learned that I'd much rather be seen as the hardest of the hard-core (who sucks at predicting the football future) than a steely-eyed "realist." I'd rather be foolishly loyal and optimistic than distant and cynical. I'd rather deal with the pain of dashed hopes (over and over and OVER again) than the gnawing sense that I abandoned the Seahawks when the going got too tough.
I know there are other fans whose ONLY measure of success is a Super Bowl victory. As much as I fervently dream about the day Seattle wins a Lombardi Trophy, it can't be the only reason I root for the Hawks- What kind of torture would that be? How desolate would it be to inhabit a world where nothing the Seahawks have done matters, because they've never won a World Championship? Yes, winning is tremendously important and the ultimate goal is to become champions- but I'm also interested in the journey... in the experiences and memories created in that quest to reach the pinnacle of the game, even when that quest fails.
My favorite Seahawks season was 2005, but right behind it is 1986... a year when the Seahawks didn't even make the playoffs! Despite falling short of postseason on the season's final Sunday, the Hawks gave us Twelves five weeks of football that are burned in our memories as much as Top Gun, Family Ties, Bill Buckner or Licensed to Ill.. Here's that season's highlight film:
I am still invested so heavily in part because of the small chance I might get to see something like 1986 again- I also feed off the knowledge that LESS THAN A YEAR AGO the Seahawks shanked all the naysayers with the biggest upset in NFL playoff history. Why can't they pull off another crazy, immortally awesome finish again?
Who is down here in this ocean of sound with me?