February 28, 2011

Gussied Up

Friend of the blog (and a close friend of mine going back to our days at Western) Kris Bell whipped up the new banner above- Pretty spiffy, no?

What do you think, sirs?

I'm Still Standing

As we hurtle towards the almost certain start of a lockout later this week, it shouldn't be a shock that things have slowed down a ton in the Seahawks blogosphere. There simply isn't that much happening for folks like me to report on, but on top of that two major Seahawks bloggers (John Morgan of Field Gulls and Chris Sullivan of Seahawks Addicts) have retired from blogging. Things are in flux.

I'm not going anywhere though. If anything, I'm planning on getting more involved, both here and over on Field Gulls. When the league goes dark, however, you may see more off topic stuff here on The Beard though. I'll try to stay away from political screeds, but if you hate the Red Sox things might get rough for you in this space in the coming months.

Without going into it, I also have some turmoil going on in my personal life that has been a distraction. While this blog is often an escape from that stuff, it also has been (and will be) and outlet for that personal angst too... So that might lose me some readers as well.

But the core mission of this blog remains to spread The Good Word about the Seattle Seahawks. The other day I was out at a mall in Toledo, and as usual I was in my Seahawks gear- For about the 100th time since early January, someone remarked on my Hawk affiliation, and it wasn't "Seahawks suck" or bitching about a 7-9 team making the playoffs- Like always, I got a gushing response about the Saints game/the Beastquake. The Hawks have plenty of weaknesses, and myriad holes to fill, but I can't shake the feeling that we're headed in the right direction... at least as soon as a new CBA is reached.

So keep an eye on this spot- I'm not going anywhere.

February 20, 2011

"Don't talk politics and don't throw stones..."

Every time I talk about or even mention politics on this blog, the Harumphs can be heard across the land- Stick to talking about the Seahawks! Stay away from politics!

If I wanted to write a political blog, I would. The simple truth is that I have some original and insightful things to say about the Seattle Seahawks. Anything I'd say in-depth about politics? Hundreds of other writers are already saying what I think, and saying it better- So don't worry about me veering off and turning DKSB into DailyKOS or anything...

I do want to say this, though- One thing that is going to be made crystal clear by the upcoming battle between NFL owners and players? The notion that football and politics can be completely decoupled is utter, stinking BULLSHIT.

You think the players are greedy overpaid crybabies who should take whatever the owners offer them? I'd bet pretty big money that you're politically conservative. Maybe you think the owners are plutocratic fat cats leeching off the players and the fans? I'd be just as sure you're probably politically liberal. My point is simply that none of us check our beliefs at the door before we enter Qwest, or disconnect that part of our minds before we watch sports.

I'm on the side of the players' union in this struggle for a lot of reasons, but I'd be lying if I told you it has nothing to do with me being politically leftist. At least I'm honest about this, and not putting up some horseshit front that my politics don't effect how I look at the game...

Hell, we're not THAT far removed from politics DIRECTLY deciding whether our team would even stay in Seattle. I remember beating the drum pretty loudly on my old KUGS-FM radio show in favor of a new Seahawks Stadium back in 1997 (in opposition to a LOT of my lefty friends in the 'Ham, I must say). The funny part? Back then I got complaints about having too much Seahawks content on my political talk show.

These bright-line distinctions simply do not exist, and even if you WANT football to be a safe-haven from the political world, it isn't. Why? Because players and coaches and owners are citizens too, and their actions have significant effects politically, ranging from players profusely thanking God (or not thanking him) in post-game interviews to owners asking for taxpayer money to fund new stadiums. To act otherwise is to willfully ignore the reality six inches from your face.

This is a Seahawks blog, but if I feel like talking about politics, or the Red Sox, or the new Radiohead record, I will. I don't make any sort of significant revenue from this blog, nor do I expect to. So if you like my stuff, I'm glad, and I hope you keep reading. If you don't? There's lots of other blogs out there that stay within these boundaries you find so essential.

In closing, Obama '12, and Go Red Sox! :)

February 14, 2011

Our XLVI Hopes Could Hing on Someone like... Bruce Mathison?

I'm not one to believe in the Doomsday scenarios being thrown around about a lockout wiping out the 2011 season- However, I'm not about to discount the possibility the owners could pull what they did in 1987 to break the union: Scab games. Yeah, the owners called them replacement games, but they were straight-up crap. Even though the games were played in front of half-empty or less stadiums and drew abysmal TV ratings, three missed game checks were enough to convince a majority of players to come back to work on the owners' terms.

I'd guess that fans would be even less receptive to scab games in 2011 than they were in 1987. The game and its players are vastly more popular than they were in 1987, and it's hard to imagine fans paying full price for game tickets or the NFL Sunday Ticket package when CFL and arena rejects are filling NFL rosters. Throw in the MASSIVE popularity of fantasy football, and you'd have millions of fantasy nerds shitting kittens at the notion of casting their lot with squads of unknowns.

The unpleasant reality is that if scab games happened again, they'd count in the standings just like they did in 1987... and the results of those games could determine whether our Seahawks make the playoffs. That's what we saw in 1987, when a win by the Scabhawks over the fake Dolphins in the 1st scab game ended up placing Seattle in the playoffs while Miami ended up watching the postseason on TV. Here's a very brief look at that crucial 24-20 win:

To me, the idea of Seattle's Super Bowl hopes coming down to our guys off the street beating another team's collection of rejects IS FUCKING TERRIFYING. I don't think that scab games are likely to happen again, but if no agreement is reached by the summer, they could be the owners' last resort to break the will of the player's union.

This is all depressing as shit, isn't it? Hopefully I'll get all this doom and gloom out of my system soon- It really isn't my style.

February 11, 2011

Welcome to a long, strange offseason

Even though this blog takes its name from a weird artifact of the 1987 NFL work stoppage, I can't find anything remotely positive about the impending 2011 NFL lockout. I don't doubt for a second that there will be a 2011 NFL season, but I think the journey to kickoff weekend is going to be harrowing for NFL fans. The season will start on schedule (or very close to it), but probably only after all the parties involved have alienated and pissed off millions of loyal fans/paying customers.

From my perspective, it's all on the owners. They're the ones who will be to blame for a work stoppage, not the players who risk serious injury and perhaps even disability or death every time they step on the field. This will not be a players' strike, but a lockout by management. Unfortunately, even with this simple factual info, sports talk radio and millions of fans will have a knee-jerk reaction blaming the players for not meekly accepting the first CBA proposed by the owners.

That's about all I really want to write about the CBA negotiations- Oh, I'm sure I'll write more, but it'll probably just be some variation of the two paragraphs above. The biggest problem? If there is a lockout, there's going to be JACK SHIT to talk about in terms of Seahawks news until the NFL Draft... And since I'm no Rob Staton, I'm not going to be a great source for insight about who the Seahawks will/should draft.

So will this blog go dark? Will I hang it up like John Morgan of Field Gulls recently did? (Side note: Morgan and I didn't always see eye-to-eye, but dude knew his stuff and helped expose my writing to a much bigger audience- I tip my Seahawks baseball cap to him, and urge you to go pick up a copy of his book.)

Nope. I'll still be giving you as much Seahawks-related content as I can wring out of my brain during this desolate spring- expect a lot of lists, a lot of history, etc. I'm also open to suggestions and tips, which you can leave as comments or send to my gmail account.

Go Seahawks, and may the Lockout be short or non-existent.

February 7, 2011

Coach Carroll- Go get our Aaron Rodgers!

I'm not going to tell you anything today that you don't already know. For example:

- I love Matt Hasselbeck, he's my favorite current Seahawk, and one of my 3 or 4 favorite Seahawks of all time.

- I think the Seahawks should re-sign Hasselbeck, particularly if the QB is willing to stay in Seattle with a "hometown discount" kind of contract.

- Despite my abiding admiration and adoration of Hasselbeck, we need to find his eventual replacement as soon as possible (and it aint Charlie Whitehurst).

XLV really jolted me out of a bit of complacency regarding the QB situation in Seattle- Hasselbeck's two good-to-great playoff performances lulled me into the idea that it wasn't essential to get our next QB in this offseason, that we should only get a QB if it's "the right fit."

Aaron Rodger's performance reminded me of an elemental truth of the NFL game: It's a quarterbacks' league. Teams with elite QBs have the best shot at winning championships, and teams without them are taking on an almost impossible uphill struggle. I was already familiar with Rodgers' skills, but seeing him unleash bolts of pure passing perfection on the game's biggest stage over and over inspired two reactions within me:

1. Matt Hasselbeck can't make throws like that
2. We need to find someone who can

I truly believe that Seattle can be competitive in 2011, and even a playoff team again, with a healthy Hasselbeck under center- But to reach the pinnacle of the sport, to hoist that trophy? It's hard to see how Matthew gets us there. He can be a bridge to the future, but as Marcellus Wallace said to Butch in Pulp Fiction: "You came close, but you never made it. If you were going to make it, it would have happened already."

Aaron Rodgers was the 24th pick in the 1st round back in 2005. Seattle has the 25th pick this April, but they shouldn't just be passive and hope a QB drops to them there. Need to trade up to get the right QB? Do it. The QB you like isn't in the draft? Make a trade for Matt Flynn or Kevin Kolb, etc. I'm not an NFL scout; My opinion about who the next Seahawks QB should be is relatively ill-informed. But I know we need to go out and get THAT GUY, and we need to do it this spring.

The Packers are very good team, but still a 10-6 team that is tied for the worst record EVER for a Super Bowl Champion. They are champs today because of Aaron Rodgers.

Go get our Aaron Rodgers, Pete Carroll.

February 2, 2011

Creeping Dread

For the first time in 16 years, I'm not hosting or attending a Super Bowl party this Sunday- The last time I didn't really "do anything" for Super Bowl Sunday it was 1995 and I was a Sophomore living in the Fairhaven dorms at Western... So while I'm excited about watching the game, I'm also reminded about the sorry state of my social life.

That's just part of a cocktail of dread and melancholy for me going into XLV- I can't stand the idea that the Steelers might win a 7th Super Bowl, and the knowledge that we'll get plunged into CBA uncertainty when the clock hits 0:00 is a MAJOR downer. See, I'm an anxious, depressive, obsessive person, and one of the things that makes my life more tolerable (besides pharmaceuticals) is routine. The uncertainty about the 2011 NFL season is a MAJOR blow to the comfortable annual routines I'm accustomed to, and it's already fucking with me.

What is to be done? Unfortunately, in my case, nothing. I "get" the argument that fans should vote with their dollars and punish the league if there is a work stoppage, and I certainly agree that we shouldn't watch replacement/scab games if they happen again. However, even if there is a worst-case scenario including most or even ALL of the 2011 season getting wiped out- I'll still be back watching the first game involving the real Seahawks as if nothing happened.

I'm less a fan than I am a dependent, pathetic addict. I came running back to the NFL the second the '87 strike ended, and I was back following my Red Sox IMMEDIATELY after the '94 strike wiped out the World Series. The teams I love are not things I'm good at evaluating rationally- my feelings about the Seahawks are wrapped up in nostalgia and identity, and fairly impervious to common sense or reasoned argumentation.

In many ways I'd be better off if I was less invested in the Seahawks- I'd have more free time, I'd probably take up new hobbies, and become a more well-rounded person. But in a real way, if I wasn't crazy about the Seahawks I wouldn't really be ME anymore- I've carried this around for 27 of my 35 years on Earth, and I wouldn't really know who I was without that. I HAVE matured and gained a bit of perspective as I've gotten older, but the notion of missing a Seahawks game- ANY regular-season or post-season Seahawks game- fills me with panic.

So after Sunday? Total helplessness and silent panic until the players and owners reach a new CBA.. for me, at least.

Enjoy the game!

February 1, 2011

Was it real?

It's been close to a month since the Seahawks pulled off the biggest upset in NFL playoff history, and I have to admit the reality of that event still hasn't sunk in for me. Maybe it's because I wasn't at this one like I was at the NFC Championship, the Romo game, or the wild card win over DC... Maybe it's because after the big win my wife ended up in the hospital for a week, distracting me from processing the upset victory... I'm not sure.

But I was watching snippets of the Pro Bowl the other night, and every time a New Orleans Saint was on the TV, I thought: "Fuck! We actually BEAT those guys! Wow!" It still is hard for my mind to grasp this blissful news, even though I was one of the few people openly predicting a Seattle victory in the days leading up to the game.

They were the defending world champs, and if they had escaped Qwest Field with a victory, who is to say that they wouldn't be playing the Steelers this Sunday in XLV? I can certainly imagine them beating the Bears on the road, then returning home to the Superdome and winning a shootout with the Packers in the NFC title game, can't you? But they didn't- and it wasn't just because they played like shit that Saturday afternoon in Seattle.

No, the Seahawks brought it all together for one glorious performance. They were relatively healthy compared to earlier in the season, and executed the gameplan almost flawlessly. They were not a team with a lot of depth, but they showed that if their front-line players were healthy, they were a dangerous crew (especially in front of 67,000 crazy-eyed, howling, rabid Twelves). That is why those Saints were playing in the Pro Bowl instead of, quite possibly, playing to repeat as Super Bowl Champions.

So our Seahawks might have severely altered NFL history by knocking off the Saints- How differently does history treat Drew Brees, Sean Payton, etc if they win consecutive Super Bowls? Sure, they may win again at some future point, but the chain has been broken (and don't try to laugh off the idea of the Saints having a chance to win XLV- before the Wild Card game MANY folks out there thought New Orleans would emerge as NFC Champs again).

The larger significance of the win is unknown right now- Will it be just a weird outlying upward blip as the Seahawks return to sub-mediocrity, or will it be remembered as the first chapter in the glorious Carroll era? I obviously think it's the beginning of something wonderful for Seahawks fans, but my track record as a prognosticator is worse than Smooth Jimmy Apollo's...

It shouldn't be surprising that we Seahawks fans luxuriate in this victory, even weeks later- our most hated, despicable foe is playing in XLV, Cortez Kennedy is likely going to be left out of ANOTHER Hall of Fame class this Saturday, and the league we love might be going dark for a LONG time after Sunday's Super Bowl.

We do, however, have this- which we can watch on a loop until our eyes bleed: