August 29, 2011

DKSB's Undeniably Flawless 2011 NFL Predictions

Just like I did in 2008, 2009, and 2010 I downloaded my NFL Schedule Grid, filled it out, and predicted the outcome of the upcoming NFL season- Like I said last year:

All preseason predictions are, to a greater or lesser degree, bullshit. The beauty of this game is its unpredictability. Anyone who tells you they KNOW who will make the playoffs, who will win the Super Bowl, etc, is trying to sell you something. Folks with deeper, more detailed knowledge of the game might be able to give you slightly more accurate predictions, but at the end of the day it's still at best educated guessing.

I've always had particularly deep contempt for implausible preseason predictions. I'm talking about when some lazy sportswriter predicts the records for all 32 teams and comes up with an impossible aggregate record, or predicts playoff matchups without working through tiebreakers, etc. That's why every year I go through the ENTIRE regular season and predict the winner of EVERY game, so all the pieces fit together. What follows is my own particular flavor of bullshit, which you can dissect in the comments at your leisure.

Here we go- Enjoy! (More details on what I think will happen with the Seahawks will appear in an upcoming post)

Seahawks 8-8
Cardinals 8-8
Rams 7-9
49ers 3-13

Packers 11-5
Lions 10-6
Bears 8-8
Vikings 7-9

Saints 13-3
Buccaneers 11-5
Falcons 9-7
Panthers 2-14

Eagles 12-4
Giants 9-7
Cowboys 9-7
Redskins 5-11

1. Saints
2. Eagles
3. Packers
4. Seahawks
5. Buccaneers
6. Lions

Wild Card Round
Packers 27, Lions 10
Seahawks 23, Buccaneers 17 (OT)

Divisional Round
Saints 41, Seahawks 26
Packers 31, Eagles 28

NFC Championship Game
Saints 38, Packers 37

Chargers 10-6
Chiefs 8-8
Broncos 6-10
Raiders 4-12

Steelers 12-4
Ravens 11-5
Browns 6-10
Bengals 1-15

Texans 11-5
Colts 9-7
Jaguars 5-11
Titans 5-11

Patriots 12-4
Jets 11-5
Dolphins 7-9
Bills 4-12

1. Steelers
2. Patriots
3. Texans
4. Chargers
5. Jets
6. Ravens

Wild Card Round
Texans 26, Ravens 21
Jets 19, Chargers 17

Divisional Playoffs
Texans 33, Patriots 27 (OT)
Jets 23, Steelers 16

AFC Championship Game
Texans 20, Jets 19

Saints 35, Texans 24
MVP: Drew Brees

NFL MVP: Drew Brees, Saints
NFL Defensive Player of the Year: Ndamukong Suh, Lions
NFL Coach of the Year: Jim Schwartz, Lions

There you go- What do you think, sirs?

August 28, 2011

Broncos 23, Seahawks 20

The Seahawks offensive line is not yet ready to face elite NFL defenses. Tarvaris Jackson isn't an elite NFL quarterback. These are the uncontroversial statements about last night's game that you're hearing from EVERYONE right now- Well, let me rephrase: What you are hearing from a lot of people is that the offensive line is hopeless, Tarvaris Jackson is too, and the 2011 Seahawks are doomed.

I'll grant there's very little to be excited about when it comes to the Seahawks' offense right now. The offensive line isn't anywhere near where it needs to be for the Niners game in two weeks, and that has spilled over to negatively affect every aspect of the offensive attack. Tarvaris Jackson's woes are intimately connected to the struggles of the O-line, but he's still taking too many sacks and having too much trouble getting rid of the ball. The running game appears to at least have the potential to improve sooner than the air attack, but even that is dependent of the O-line achieving competence, if not dominance. Our wide receivers and tight ends? Their grades can only be seen as "incomplete" as long as we can't even get the ball to them. Leon Washington is the offensive MVP of the preseason so far, and that's mainly because almost no one else has done anything of distinction against 1st-team opposition.

For Seattle to be successful in 2011, they have to be able to effectively run the ball- It will take pressure off Jackson, it will open up play-action opportunities to get the ball deep to Sidney Rice, it will help control the tempo of the game, and it will keep our defense fresh. This is ALL dependent on the offensive line "clicking" in a way it simply isn't right now- Things should instantly take a positive leap once Okung returns, but like every Seahawks fan I fret about his ability to stay on the field. Yes, there is reason to be concerned, but for now I'm willing to accept the idea that time, reps, and "coaching up" will eventually get the offensive line where we need it to be.

I guess I have to (again) address the Whitehurst thing- Jackson has been named the starter, and clearly needs as much preparation as possible for the opener down the coast on Sept. 11. It'd be deeply stupid, counterproductive, and distracting to open up the QB competition NOW. Frankly, if T-Jack DOES stink up the joint in September, Whitehurst will almost certainly be starting by October, and at that (theoretical) point I'll be pulling hard for Charlie to play great- But he won't make anyone think "If only we'd started him back in week 1, we'd be XLVI bound!"

Bottom line? If the offensive line play improves, Jackson will play better, and this little debate SHOULD take care of itself.

There was more good news from the special teams and the defense- Doug Baldwin likely nailed down a roster spot with his dazzling 105-yard kickoff return TD, and the defense overall looks way closer to regular-season form than the offense.

It's OK to be concerned about how the Seahawks are playing, but I won't start panicking unless/until they play this bad against a VERY vulnerable, weak Niners team on Kickoff Weekend- I still think we will win that game, and we'll survive until we start hitting our strides after our week 6 bye.

What do you think, sirs?

August 26, 2011

Corporate Stadium Names Still Suck

(Just in case you aren't a big Nirvana fan- The Referent)

A while back I staked out this position: I aint gonna call it CenturyLink Field. Then, inspired by the "I'm Calling it Shea" movement among Mets fans sparked by UniWatch's Paul Lukas, I agitated for the production of "I'm Calling it Seahawks Stadium" shirts by "Naming Wrongs" distributors No Mas NYC.

Unfortunately, capitalism is a harsh mistress, and No Mas decided to not produce a Seahawks Stadium version of a shirt like this right now. So, having (hopefully) made it clear enough I'm not plagiarizing their great idea or trying to make money off it, I decided to go the Cafe Press route and make my own "I'm Calling it Seahawks Stadium" shirt (pictured above).

I'm pretty happy with the results, and I'm going to wear that shirt to the home opener against the Cardinals September 25th. If you want to get one of your own made, mine cost about $30 (including shipping). Even if you don't want a shirt, I hope you'll join me in eschewing the Stadium's new corporate moniker (and that cutesy nickname "The Clink") and calling it what we already called it from 2002-2004: Seahawks Stadium (and yes, if you're a Sounders fan, go ahead and call it Royal Brougham Park- Won't hurt my feelings or anything).

What do you think, sirs?

August 24, 2011

Why I'm Rooting For Tim Tebow to Fail

I don't like Tim Tebow. Everything about the guy just sorta irritates me. I'm sure he's a fine upstanding citizen, is nice to small animals, etc... But there are few athletes I can think of right now that I more intensely want to fail- And when I say fail, I mean ending-up-playing-for-the-Montreal-Alouettes-type failure. Aside from any positive things accomplished by the Seahawks Saturday night, the main thing I want to see is Tim Tebow's face mashed into the the turf at Mile High. Why? Why do I wish this young man ill?

1. He plays for the Broncos
Maybe the younger fans don't understand this, but the Broncos and Raiders were Seattle's most hated rivals for most of my life- That hate has dimmed a bit over the last decade since we moved to the NFC West, but I still detest the Broncos organization, their fans, and anyone who wears that ugly-as-sin uniform. The moment Tebow slipped into that jersey, he became my blood enemy.

Don't give me any of that "You'd be defending him if he was a Seahawk" crap either, because there's NO WAY PCJS would have drafted the guy, particularly not in THE FIRST FUCKING ROUND.

2. Tebow is ridiculously overhyped
Yes, I know it's not his fault that Josh "I'm the biggest idiot ever" McDaniels spent a first round draft pick on him, but even before that Tebow was promoted by a formidable media hype machine and commanded the support of a massive army of starry-eyed acolytes (more on them later). Tebow is basically a latter-day Eric Crouch, but he's fooled millions of people into thinking he could be an actual franchise QB in the NFL.

I'm no NFL scout, but even I can look at Tebow and realize: "That delivery sure looks funky- Is that going to work at this level?" The deficiencies in his game are so self-evident, that if you think he should be starting ahead of Kyle Orton (or even Brady Quinn at this point), I can only look at you as someone who has failed a elementary NFL IQ test.

3. His fans (and yes, we have to tackle the religion thing)
Y'all should know by now that I'm not a believer. The only thing that keeps me from declaring myself a full-blown Atheist is the fact that I can't be 100% sure there ISN'T a God, either. But even if there was, I wouldn't join ANY organized religious faith. I just can't buy it. At all.

I know I'm in a small minority, particularly in the United States- and if you decide to root against devout Christians in the NFL, you'll be rooting against hundreds of players, and DOZENS of Seahawks. So, if you're me, you make some allowances- Yes, Matt Hasselbeck was a devout Christian, but he wasn't overbearing about it, and everything else about him added up to becoming this hell-bound heathen's favorite player for a decade.

So- I DON'T root against Tebow because he is a Christian. I root against Tebow because he's a proselytizing, overbearing Christian, AND because more than once his fans have accused me of rooting against him because I "hate Christians."

Just imagine that somehow I was an amazing college QB, and I just happened to also be a crusading Atheist, using my celebrity to try convert others to my point of view. Let's also imagine millions of other non-believers rallied around me, and I started winning National Championships and Heisman Trophies. Then, despite obvious deficiencies in my game, I went high in the draft, and my jersey became the top seller in the entire NFL. THEN, all my Atheist fans bitched and moaned about how I should get a chance to start, and that if you didn't think I was the bees knees you "hated Atheists."

That'd be pretty mind-meltingly annoying, wouldn't it, my readers of faith?

At a point where he's accomplished NOTHING in the pros, Tebow has millions of fervent followers who think he should be handed a starting job in the NFL. That's not just annoying- That's disrespectful of the game we all love, and that Tebow cannot play. He should become a star not because of his irrelevant college resume, or his looks, or his personality, or his religious faith- If he is to become a star, it should be because he earns it on NFL gridirons.

The good news is that the NFL is one of the world's greatest crucibles of meritocracy- His celebrity status may give him a bit more time, but if can't do the job, sooner or later the dude will be OOF.

Don't worry about Tebow- The kid will be set for life. He's handsome, intelligent, and has a huge Cult of Personality hanging on his every utterance. The second his NFL career ends, he'll have a lucrative future as a commentator and/or motivational speaker. He'll be fine.

But I certainly hope the Seahawks help hasten the demise of his NFL dream on Saturday.

What do you think, sirs?

August 21, 2011

Vikings 20, Seahawks 7

Let's get this out of the way: No, Charlie Whitehurst should not be Seattle's starting quarterback. I think that it's awesome that he played well last night, because at some point this season he may be called upon to win a game for us (like he did last year). I've said for a long time that CW could be a valuable asset to the Seahawks as a competent back-up quarterback, but nothing I saw last night screamed out "Coach Carroll is WRONG WRONG WRONG! Charlie must start!"

I've never presented myself as a hard-core X's and O's guy, but even I know that the guys Whitehurst was lighting up were primarily dudes that will be in the CFL, Arena League, or OOF very soon. I also know that he didn't have to face a relentless assault from a pretty good NFL defense behind a porous offensive line like Tarvaris Jackson did.

Which of course leads to this observation: Maybe I was watching a different game, but I thought T-Jack did some promising things out there- He showed the mobility and escapability our QB will need until the offensive line solidifies, was accurate for the most part, and avoided any big mistakes (the INT Minnesota returned for a TD bounced off Golden Tate's hands- Not Jackson's fault). Jackson is on the right track, and all starting Whitehurst next week in Denver would accomplish is fucking up T-Jack's preparations for the opener at SF in 3 weeks. I sincerely hope Jackson's play is so obviously brilliant at Mile High that it silences the "CHAR-LIE!" chanters, at least for a spell.

The larger concern is the offensive line- Yes, Okung was out, so we can expect their play to improve when he returns... But what we saw last night was discouraging: T-Jack forced to run around like Ben Richards (You know, The Butcher of Bakersfield), and a running game that struggled to press beyond the line of scrimmage. While I loved the attitude of running it 3 times from the goal line in the 1st half, the result (failing all three times) is worrisome.

Other poor performances that stuck out? Golden Tate, Kelly Jennings and Aaron Curry. What can really be said about Jennings at this point? It almost seems unfair to pick on him, and you can count me among those who think he might not make the 53-man roster. Golden Tate's saving grace is that Carroll spent a #2 draft pick on him last year- If not for that, he might be getting a visit from The Turk soon as well. Curry? Man, I really want to like that kid, but then he does DUMB shit like pulling off an opponent's helmet and throwing it. A player trying to erase two disappointing seasons and move forward shouldn't be pulling crap like that.

Good stuff? I liked what I saw from Leroy Hill and Leon Washington. I'm very excited to see us get the ball to Leon: The Professional in more ways this fall, and Hill might end up being "this year's BMW." Speaking of BMW, he had the play of the night with his amazing catch in the first half. We had that LONG drive in the first half too, which was encouraging despite the ultimate failure at the goal line.

The Seahawks have a lot of work to do between now and September 11, but they should still be ready to knock some gold teeth out of Niners mouths by then.

What do you think, sirs?

August 17, 2011

Your 2011 Seattle Seahawks Jersey Buying Guide

With training camp in full swing, it's time for those of us with the necessary means to start thinking about which new Seahawks jersey we want to wrap ourselves in this fall. I'm of the mind that a Seahawks jersey is the ONLY appropriate gameday garb for a Soldier of Twelve, and I also can't bring myself to wear the jersey of a player who is now on another NFL team- So my Hasselbeck jersey is out. Particularly in these times of want and woe, I'm not going to get on anyone else's case for continuing to wear a Hasselbeck jersey... But I simply can't do it. This means I gotta buy a new jersey.

(Another variable? We will probably adopt new uniforms next year, so you should keep that in mind before plunking down $85 on a jersey- But for me, I simply can't hold out another year before I get a new jersey. So off we go!)

As I've said in this space before, I'm not big on the "replithentic/semi-authentic" jerseys because I don't think you actually get enough added value to make up for the increased delicacy of the garments. Authentic jerseys? If I had $250 to throw around, I'd use it to buy an Xbox 360 or a PS3, not a shirt. Throwbacks can be cool, but those that are readily available to buy are "semi-authentic" and a bit of a pain to take care of properly. Number 12 "fan" jerseys? A personalized jersey with your name on it? I know some people go with those options, but it's just not me.

It takes guts to put yourself out there and plunk $85 on a player's jersey (particularly given the current front office's penchant for tossing veterans overboard), but it takes some brains to make sure that it's a good investment. What should you look for in a jersey (besides liking the player)?

-Is he any good? (duh)
-Is he at least not an obvious asshole off the field?
-Is he likely to be with the Seahawks for at least a couple more seasons?
-Is everyone else at Seahawks Stadium going to be wearing the same damn jersey?

With these (and other) criteria in mind, I decided to rank the replica jerseys that are readily available online. I checked NFL Shop, the Seahawks Pro Shop, Seattle Team Shop, and a couple of other sites... Let's count 'em down! (Yeah, it's lame that there don't seem to be Obomanu or Hawthorne replicas easily available online... What other jerseys do you wish were available, y'all?)

17. Charlie Whitehurst
HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! You've got to be SHITTING me,!

16. Kelly Jennings
I've NEVER seen anyone in a Jennings jersey, have you? Might not make the final 53-man roster.

15. Leroy Hill
I was surprised to see his jersey available. I'm guessing they still had jerseys left over from a couple of years ago?

14. Tarvaris Jackson
I think T-Jack WILL exceed expectations, but I still wouldn't lay out the cash for a "bridge guy" at QB. If you want to buy a QB's jersey, hold out for whoever we draft next April.

13. Golden Tate
I think Tate will improve this year, but the main motivation for buying his jersey would have to be pissing off NASCAR fans, right?

12. Marcus Trufant
A Seahawks and Wazzu legend, and a Tacoma native. But after Hasselbeck and Tatupu were shown the door, how confident can we be that Trufant is going to be with the team next year? Shit- Next month?

11. John Carlson
JC is a fan favorite, but free agency approaches, and the possibility of a trade still dangles over #89. At best, he will probably have a diminished role with Miller now in the fold.

10. Justin Forsett
Young Nastyman is a dynamic player and solid citizen- I'm just concerned that he might become the odd man out in the Seattle backfield- Buyer beware in this case.

9. Aaron Curry
Yeah, he's been a bit of a disappointment, and yes, his rookie contract is nearing its end- But I've bought into the hype that 2011 could be a breakout season for Curry. Also, I've worn a #59 jersey before (Julian Peterson) and it looked great on me.

8. Marshawn Lynch
How can the Beastquaker himself be this low? He's a free-agent after this season. I'm sure plenty of people will still roll them bones, though- Dude's a Bad Mother Fucker, and has a permanent place in Seahawks history.

7. Mike Williams
BMW is a GREAT story- But I'm a bit afraid that he'll regress, or at least that his impact might decline with Rice and Miller also around taking targets away from him. Full disclosure? I also irrationally dislike the fact that anyone is wearing Dave Krieg's number. No, I don't think it should be retired, obviously- Like I said, irrational.

6. Leon Washington
I LOVE Leon: The Professional, and he just signed a new contract. If it wasn't for that STUPID new kickoff rule possibly diminishing Washington's role, he might be as high as #2 on this list. You fucked up, NFL.

5. Russell Okung
If it wasn't for the ankle problems, I'd probably put Okung at #1. I have a weird thing about not wanting to wear the jerseys of injured players, so I'm a bit skittish about buying an Okung replica.

4. Zach Miller
Another newly minted Hawk, a great guy by all accounts, and one of the best tight ends in the game- We all hope he redeems #86 from the taint of Jerramy Stevens.

3. Earl Thomas
Young, early in his contract, and may end up as Seattle's best DB since Kenny Easley. A great buy.

2. Sidney Rice
I think this is the jersey that will take over Seahawks Stadium by the end of this season- Rice will be around for a while, and I really think he has the potential to be the best Seattle WR since Largent. Definite buy.

1. Brandon Mebane
Bane just signed a huge new contract, and he'll be in Seattle for a good long stretch. He is also fucking awesome, so I'm planning to snap up a Mebane replica the second I have the money. I also vowed to Meeb himself on twitter that I'd buy his jersey if he re-signed with Seattle, so I'm kinda locked in (in a good way).

What do you think, sirs?

August 14, 2011


That's Matt Hasselbeck. OUR Matt Hasselbeck, playing for the Tennessee Titans Saturday night. I hear he played well, but I'm not itching to go out of my way to watch the highlights. I feel like I'm not where I should be about the whole "Matt Hasselbeck leaving the Seahawks" thing. On one side, you have a lot of people who are fairly HAPPY to see him go- Yes, a lot of them preface their fusillades against Matthew by saying the right things about his "Seahawks legacy," but the bottom line is that they couldn't be happier that they don't have to watch another snap with #8 leading the Seahawks. At the other pole are the people SO devoted to Hasselbeck that they are furious at PCJS for not giving Matthew a gaudy multi-year deal to stay in Seattle. These are the people who talk about not being able to root for the Seahawks after this horrible betrayal, and how they might just go become Titans fans!

(Side note- If the presence of Hasselbeck and Locker in Tennessee makes you want to jump ship? Good fucking riddance. And no, I seriously don't think it's OK for someone who calls themselves a Seahawks fan to go buy a Hasselbeck or Locker Titans jersey. Nope. It's pretty much the opposite of something that would be OK.)

Simultaneously, I am very upset that Hasselbeck is no longer with the Seahawks, but I also can't in good conscience say it would have been the right move for Seattle to give Hass some huge, multi-year contract. In my perfect world, he would have been brought back on a market-value 1-year deal, but neither Hasselbeck or PCJS were interested in that option.

The classy thing to do (and give both Hasselbeck and PCJS credit- They've handled this with as much class as you could possibly imagine) would be for me to "wish him well" in Tennessee. As much as I'd love to think I'm that enlightened and mature, I'm not. Oh, I don't want Matthew to get hurt, or stink so badly he gets benched... But I also don't want him to go all "Dave Krieg with the 1994 Lions" either. Even with him on a team that will never meet the Seahawks while he's still playing (unless both teams miraculously reached the Super Bowl), the idea of him regaining his form and lighting up opposing defenses in a different uniform makes me more than a little queasy. Imagine watching him lead the Titans to the playoffs while the Seahawks flail about, out of contention, behind a disappointing Tarvaris Jackson... Barf.

Long story short? I'd like Matt Hasselbeck to play for the Titans EXACTLY as well as he played for the Seahawks last year- Maybe a TEENSY bit better, but not TOO much better.

This all probably sounds batshit insane to a normal human being- But these are the treacherous mental waters one has to navigate sometimes when their favorite player and favorite team divorce. In a twisted way, it would be easier if I could place "blame" on Hasselbeck or on PCJS- But both sides acted in their own best interest: Matthew wanted to remain an NFL starting quarterback, and the Seahawks wanted to save some money and start moving towards finding that mythical "Quarterback of the future." Neither side is "wrong," but that doesn't make me any less sad that things turned out this way.

Honestly, I'll probably avoid watching the Titans as long as Hasselbeck is their quarterback- Nothing he does on that team is going to make me feel very good (alright- I hope he throws for 400 yards and 5 TDs against Pittsburgh on October 9th). The point where I'll probably be at peace with all of this is when the Seahawks put him in the Ring of Honor, right below the banner for a Seattle Super Bowl victory.

What do you think, sirs?

August 11, 2011

Seahawks 24, Chargers 17

The big news is Russell Okung's injury. We all hope that this particular ding isn't severe, but this is his 3rd ankle injury in less than a year- THAT is troubling. Other than that, there were few real surprises in this typically sloppy opening preseason game.

Some positives? Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman both looked like they have potential to take playing time away from the much-maligned Kelly Jennings. Seattle looked to be stouter both running the ball and stopping the run (and we seemed more committed to sticking with the ground game), Leon Washington appeared ready to take on a much more significant role in the backfield than he had last season, Charlie Whitehurst led the Seahawks on a couple of scoring drives, and Josh Portis resembled an actual NFL quarterback.

The bad? Jennings is still getting toasted like a fucking Pop Tart out there- I'm not trying to tear him down, but he just seems overmatched out there a LOT of the time. Tarvaris Jackson flashed some skill, but also took a couple of very ugly sacks (I have to note that a lot of people are ALREADY totally overreacting to his performance- He is in no danger of losing the starting job to Beef Supreme, and will look vastly better next week). Brandon Coutu probably handed the placekicking job to Jeff "Super Douche" Reed by failing to blast a kickoff out of the end zone and thus allowing a 103-yard TD return.

It would be folly to jump to any larger conclusions about the Seahawks based on this game, given how many key performers either didn't play or left the gridiron after a handful of snaps. My expectations didn't change much one way or another (though they might be downgraded if Okung ends up shelved for a significant length of time). An overall theme was Seattle's across-the-board high level of effort- From the starters to the 3rd string, they made many (correctable) mistakes, but they also played with aggression and physicality- These are quickly becoming Pete Carroll's Seahawks, and the players are adopting the personality of their Coach.

The Seahawks didn't look great tonight, but their shortcomings certainly seem correctable- I expect them to look much better next week at home against Minnesota (and if we are lucky, Okung's injury will be mild).

What do you think, sirs?

August 10, 2011

Not a Bad Haul for One Day...

Not only did I get my football signed by Mike Williams today, I also got my Seahawks Season Tickets- Woo! As I mentioned before, I'll be at the regular season opener against Arizona on September 25th- Looks like I'll have to make myself a custom "I'm Calling it Seahawks Stadium" t-shirt at this point. Thank the maker for Cafe Press, right?

The Seahawks have usually been good about giving us season ticket holders cool gifts with the tickets- In previous years, I've gotten a Seahawks Season Ticket Holder license plate frame, a Seahawks messenger bag (that has evolved into a diaper bag over the years), a 12th-Man flag, 12th-Man gloves, etc. This year? A metal tin with two packs of Seahawks playing cards. Meh. Oh well, one shouldn't bitch about free stuff, right?

The good news is that I'll be there for the opener, and you KNOW I'll get out there for the playoffs- I'm not going to be caught watching any more Beastquakes on TV from Ohio!

Would You Like To Know More?

August 9, 2011


Thursday night, the 2011 Seattle Seahawks will cross the threshold from theory to practice- We will finally get to see them clash with another NFL team in anger, and it will be a glorious evening. Keep in mind that the level of play is likely to be embarrassingly awful, and that the only unambiguously positive outcome of the game would be a lack of serious Seahawks injuries... Even with those caveats, I can't remember ever being this excited for a preseason opener before in my 28 years rooting for the Seahawks.

My main advice, particularly for newer fans? Try to resist the urge to overreact to everything that happens in Thursday's game. If T-Jack is awesome, don't run out and buy his jersey. If he sucks, don't assume we're destined for 4-12 either, and so on...

The best news has already happened- PCJS just pulled off the best free agent period in team history, and starting Thursday night we'll finally get to see our shiny new toys out on the field (albeit briefly). It's safe to say that the Seahawks front office isn't trying to "suck to get Luck." Yes, they decided not to spend precious draft picks on the best possible "bridge QB." I'd be dishonest if I told you I wouldn't rather be seeing Carson Palmer, Kyle Orton or Matt Hasselbeck under center Thursday evening- But the move to Tarvaris Jackson makes sense, and I think it has a better chance of working out than many in the national press (or even the Seahawks fanbase) are willing to admit.

I run into a lot of fans who say things like "I'm sick of going 8-8 every year," and that usually develops into some argument about how the team has to get horribly, pathetically crappy before it can be a Super Bowl contender. I don't think that's how the modern NFL works, and I think Pete Carroll understands this. You cannot crap away entire seasons "rebuilding." You MUST make an honest effort to field a competitive team, even in the middle of a total roster demolition- That's what Carroll did last year, and I sincerely believe the team will be better in 2011.

2011 is unlikely to be the greatest season in Seahawks history, but thanks to the tireless efforts of PCJS, it's laughable now to argue that '11 will be among the WORST seasons in team history either- The team has added too much talent, and gotten so much younger, bigger, and faster that it's hard for me to imagine the team going worse than 6-10.

You might find this goal for 2011 to be pathetically pedestrian, but here goes: I want the Seahawks to control their own destiny in the NFC West race going into the final two weeks of the season (which have Seattle hosting the Niners and then travelling to Arizona). If we are in that position, I think we'll win the West, simply because I think this team will get better as the season marches on. My intuition is that we are about an 8-8 team, a little bit better with good luck, or a touch worse with bad fortune. I think 8-8 this season would be a beautiful thing, whether it results in a playoff berth or not.

When we look back on 2011, it's probably not going to be among the most memorable campaigns in Seahawks history on its own- But I think it will be a chapter in a longer story- The epic tale of Pete Carroll's conquest of the National Football League.

Writing starts Thursday- and I think it's going to be a page-turner of a yarn.

August 5, 2011

When in Doubt, Quote The Simpsons

Our Seattle Seahawks are gaining a very good reputation for giving their fans free stuff- and today I was lucky enough to be on the receiving end of some of that generosity. Earlier today, the Seahawks promotional team (@winseahawks) tweeted this:

Autographed @BigMikeWill17 football here for the 12th Man! Why should we give it to YOU? Best response by end today's practice wins!

I saw that and thought- Why the hell not?? Then I banged out this response:

@winSeahawks I should get autographed BMW football b/c then I'll have three children- He will be called... Stitchface :) #simpsons #seahawks

If you aren't a Simpsons fanatic like me, that's a reference to the episode where Homer and Ned briefly become friends (Homer Loves Flanders). Flanders gets the game ball from the Springfield Atoms' QB, but gives it to Homer, who is overcome with gratitude and says "Now I have 4 children. You will be called.. 'Stitchface.'" That episode aired 17 YEARS AGO back in season 5 of the show, but like EVERY episode that aired during my college years, it was etched into my geeky little brainpan.

I didn't think I'd win, and I even saw some other responses I liked better- But I was chosen as the winner! Clearly, whoever runs @winseahawks is another huge Simpsons nerd. Just goes to show you, kids- Stay in school, and remember every line of dialogue from every TV show you've EVER watched, and good things will happen! When I get the ball in the mail, I'll share some pics of it with y'all.

Side note- Someone actually complained to @winseahawks that I "stole that line from The Simpsons." Yes, my intent was plagiarism- That's clearly why I included the #simpsons tag in my tweet.

Would You Like To Know More?

Home News: My Triumphant Return

That's me at Seahawks Stadium back in 2003, right before the opener against the Saints.

Back in March, when I was going to job interviews in Orlando (for a job I couldn't nail down- Fuck), AirTran decided to make my life difficult and cancel one of my flights. The ONLY good thing about this is that they ended up giving me one free round-trip flight, which I am going to use to come out to see the Seahawks regular season home opener on September 25th. Of course, they couldn't make THAT easy- I have to drive two hours north to fly out of Flint, MI to Atlanta, and then fly from Atlanta to Seattle.


Anyway, I get into Seattle on Thursday September 22, and then I'll drive down to the Tri-Cities to see my family and catch my little brother's football game Friday Night in Kennewick. Hopefully, I'll get to see the Kamiakin Braves will drop the hammer upon the Kennewick Lions.

Then I'll head over the Seattle on Saturday to see my old college friends from Western, and on Sunday I'll hook back up with my brother and we'll be at Seahawks Stadium nice and early. We usually hit Touchdown City and then go down to the Seahawks tunnel once they open the gates- Don't be shy about saying hi if you spot us!

One way or another, I'll be sporting an "I'm Calling it Seahawks Stadium" t-shirt, even if I have to just get one made up on my own- Still no word from NO MAS NYC about whether they'll be printing those up. Wouldn't hurt to contact them if you are still interested in one of those shirts...

I'm very excited that I'll be coming out, and I should also be at the Browns game in Cleveland October 23. If there are home playoff games, I will be there- Not going to risk missing something like the Beastquake EVER again :)

What do you think, sirs?

Guest Post! HOF Saturday- An Ode to Ed Sabol and NFL Films

For the first time ever, we are having a guest blogger here on DKSB, and I couldn't be happier. Great stuff here from an old friend of mine on Ed Sabol and the staggering impact of NFL Films on all of our lives.. Enjoy!

Guest Blogger: Brad Nelson

To begin, I’d like to thank Johnny for the opportunity to serve as a guest blogger. His DKSB is a entertaining and informative blog. I hope my post below keeps with the tradition of high quality insights on football (and all things Seahawks, of course) that Johnny has established over the last few years.

On Saturday, the Pro Football Hall of Fame is set to induct another group of legendary men into its relatively tiny but hallowed and glorious building. Seven men (six players, one contributor) from different backgrounds, all of whom have made a lasting impact on the game. Admittedly, as a Bears fan, I’m happy that Richard Dent is finally getting enshrined; he should’ve been recognized as one of the game’s premier pass rushers long ago. He has the statistics (137.5 sacks), a signature game (MVP in Super Bowl XX), two rings (Super Bowls XX and XXIX), a signature move (the strip-sack, which he and LT popularized in the 1980s). And he was arguably the best and most feared defender on probably the greatest single-season defense (1985) in the history of the NFL.

But I’m most pleased that NFL founder Ed Sabol will finally get his day in the sun. I’ve been banging the drum for Ed–on Twitter, via messages to HOF voting members, and in conversations with friends–for the past decade. In my view, he has done more than anyone to popularize the NFL. Most significantly, it was largely through his vision and effort that the American public shifted from seeing the NFL as a corrupt, nasty and violent game (a major problem in the 1950s) to singing its praises as glamorous and essential viewing. Remember, at the time of the inception of NFL Films, pro football was at best on an equal footing with the college game, a notion that seems preposterous nowadays. Under Ed’s leadership, NFL Films helped to grow the game, attracting more television viewers, in-game attendees, and fans and adding billions of dollars to the league’s coffers. And NFL Films itself has become an extremely respected motion picture dynamo that’s unrivaled in any sport in any country around the globe.

In the early 1960s, Ed Sabol quit his job as an overcoat salesman and launched a company devoted to capturing professional football on film. Initially, his new venture was called "Blair Motion Pictures," named after Ed’s daughter. At the heart of this was Ed’s love of making movies. Indeed, Ed constantly tinkered with his motion picture camera, first producing short films of the mundane in the Sabol household and then eventually son Steve’s high school football games. In 1962, for $4000, Ed won the rights to film the NFL championship game between the Giants and Packers.

The timing and location of the 1962 championship is central to the formation of NFL Films. The game took place in New York on December 30. The brutal weather conditions were not particularly conducive to putting together a top-notch short picture for a bunch of young and inexperienced film makers. The freezing cold (game time temperatures were 13 degrees and dipped into single-digits as the game progressed) and high winds (gusts up to 40 MPH) made life miserable for Ed and his crew of cameramen (as well as the players). They struggled, as camera lenses constantly froze and film rolls cracked, and had to adapt to the weather on the fly. But in the end, they succeeded, and this was important for a couple of reasons. One, Ed and his men captured the 1962 Packers, one of the greatest teams in NFL history, on film in their finest hour. And two, the fact that they effectively did the job under such difficult conditions made Ed confident that his team could tape NFL games on a full-time basis. This was the start of what would be known by 1965, after the league purchased BMP, as NFL Films.

It’s rather startling to grasp the progress of NFL Films from its infant stages to the organization as it currently stands. In fact, to get an understanding of how far NFL Films has come, as well as the specific changes it’s implemented along the way, I encourage readers to check out the "Lost Treasures" series. Today, NFL Films is an omni-present force in football. It’s cameramen are everywhere and highly-regarded. It’s work is featured prominently on a host of ESPN stations, the NFL Network, HBO, Showtime, among other outlets. (Additionally, keep in mind that the Sabols have carved out a niche in other industries, such as the Olympic Games, the Ringling Bros. circus troupe, Harley Davidson, Sony Music, and more.) NFL Films DVDs sell very well. The way NFL Films has shot footage has influenced the way that contemporary football games are filmed and aired. And the soundtrack and the distinctive voice of NFL Films are pop culture sensations.

The guiding light behind NFL Films is an interesting character. Ed Sabol grew up in New Jersey, was an excellent swimmer as a teen, attended Ohio State, where he continued his swimming career, and even qualified for the 1936 Olympic Games. He reportedly declined the invite because the Games that year were held in Nazi Germany. And like many American men in the 1940s, Ed served in World War II.

Ed has been and still is an eccentric guy. One could see him in the early days of NFL Films wearing crazy multi-pocketed suits, smoking a cigar, and talking furiously to anyone and everyone. He’s energetic, garrulous guy. But that served him well. He was the networker, the recruiter, a schmooze. In this way, Ed formed connections to important people. He built a strong relationship with Commissioner Pete Rozelle. He pulled legendary voice and Philadelphia newsman John Facenda into the NFL Films orbit while drinking at a neighborhood bar. Ed developed a great bond with Packers coach Vince Lombardi. In fact, so great was this bond that Lombardi allowed Sabol’s crew to record him throughout the 1967 season. Four years later, Redskins coach George Allen (see video below) participated in a similar program for NFL Films. Rozelle, Lombardi, Allen, and other coaches and players backed NFL Films because they liked and trusted Ed; they believed he worked with the best interests of the NFL in mind. And without a doubt, they were right.

That said, it would be a mistake to undersell his creative vision for NFL Films. It was Ed who made the decision to create short football films that resembled in many ways the big Hollywood blockbusters of the 1960s. He sought something that was eye-popping–in terms of the visual footage, musical score, and the dialog. This was a sharp change from how pro football was typically presented. Prior to the emergence of BMP and NFL Films, NFL clips and highlights were packaged in a very dull and boring format by the teams themselves, with employees usually taking their cues from how evening news telecasts displayed content during sports segments.

In the end, Ed’s successfully implemented his ambitious vision, and that, in turn, effectively glamorized the NFL. He created a world in which kids, men, and women wanted a part of. How? Ed helped to create a new image for the NFL. Pro football wasn’t just a vicious and bloodthirsty sport. Sure, NFL Films didn’t avoid showing the big hits. After all, the organization has reams of film on such superstar aggressors like Dick Butkus and Night Train Lane and proudly shows this footage. But what NFL Films did do is open up a whole new side of the NFL that many Americans didn’t see before. Now, the game was also inhabited by aerial assaults by the likes of Johnny Unitas and Joe Namath; swift, balletic receivers like Lynn Swann and Lance Alworth streaking down field; opportunistic defensive backs like Willie Brown; and agile yet powerful running backs such as Walter Payton and Jim Brown. Grace, beauty, artistry gradually became buzzwords associated with the NFL, thanks to Ed and his crew.

It would be a gross oversight to leave out the role that Steve Sabol has played in the growth of NFL Films. Steve, hired by Ed, his dad, worked for years as a cameraman before moving up the organizational hierarchy. Steve brought a distinct and crucial aspect to NFL Films: he played college football (as a RB). Which meant that he brought an awareness and understanding of football to the film crew. As Steve began to take on a bigger role in NFL Films, he made sure to emphasize offensive and defensive line play in the organization’s videos and highlights, a piece of pro football that was usually far overshadowed by offensive glitz and hard hits. Lastly, we should not forget that Steve has been a great spokesperson for NFL Films. He is smart, articulate, and extremely knowledgeable about the history of pro football. And Steve’s passion for the game radiates through NFL Films telecasts and his other broadcast appearances.

As we know, NFL Films has left a significant impression on pro football, and some of its accomplishments I’ve already described above. Here, I’d like to discuss two more.

1. Amazingly, NFL Films has provided the iconic pictures (the short movies and highlights, of course), voice (John Facenda and Harry Kalas), music (Sam Spence), and language (scripts by Steve Sabol) of American pro football. So enduring are the contributions of Facenda, Kalas, and Spence that I believe each should be recognized somewhere in the Pro Football HOF. Unfortunately, a complete discussion of each of these components is beyond the scope of this blog post, though I do want to add a few words. If readers aren’t familiar with "Autumn Thunder," a 10-disc compilation of NFL Films music, I encourage them to check it out. There, you will find well-known and moving tunes like "Battleground," "Round-Up," "Journey to the Moon," "Wild Bunch," "The Raiders," and "Classic Battle." Furthermore, the narration of NFL Films has provided a number of brilliant, vivid lines. Here is an unforgettable quote, and a personal favorite: "Lombardi. A certain magic still lingers in the very name. It speaks of duels in the snow and cold November mud." Probably the most memorable set of lines comes from "Autumn Wind," a poem composed by Steve Sabol for "The Championship Chase," an hour-length video that collected highlights of the 1974 season.

2. NFL Films has gone behind the scenes and revealed worlds that were previously unknown. For instance, game planning and strategy, coaching, player development and acquisition are all familiar and knowable concepts at least in part because the organization has covered them in a thorough manner over the years. There are many examples of this, but the recent "Hard Knocks" series is likely the most prominent one. Just as important, individual profiles of football players, many of which show them on and off the field, have made these athletes relatable and knowable to fans, an extraordinary feat considering that players wear uniforms that cover their entire body and helmets that shield their faces. Yes, it was long thought that football, both college and pro, would lag behind baseball and even basketball because fans could see clearly see the players’ faces. NFL Films effectively worked to overcome this barrier.

On a final note, I’d like to share a few of my personal memories of NFL Films. As soon as I first watched an NFL Films program, sometime during the 1981 season, I was hooked. As a kid, I watched as many programs I could find on television: NFL Yearbook, Super Bowl highlights, Game of the Week, Inside the NFL, NFL Films Presents, among others. These programs quickly enhanced my knowledge of the game. And programs like "NFL Films Presents" provided an essential visual history of the NFL. Impressively, in the course of only a few hours, I was able to get a historical tour de force of key teams and players during several decades. To this day, my single favorite NFL Films movie is the 30-minute highlight package of Super Bowl XVI. True, this wasn’t a riveting game, as the 49ers built a 20-0 by the half, but it was the first Super Bowl I watched, so it still holds a special place in this football fanatic’s heart.

NFL Films also helped to bring some of my favorite players to life, creating a bond that continues to the present. As a kid, I loved running backs. Players like Walter Payton, Marcus Allen, Eric Dickerson and Curt Warner (yes, that’s right, Seahawks fans!) were my gridiron heroes. In an era absent constant football coverage, without the NFL Network or the Sunday Ticket, it was a special treat to see these players on television. Although it happened four years before I began following the NFL, I was able to catch Payton’s magical 275-yard performance (see video below). And whenever possible, I watched Payton in action in Chicago’s yearly Team Yearbook, the Game of the Week, and Inside the NFL.

I originally became a fan of Warner when he was running the ball as a young pup at Penn State. After he was drafted by the Seahawks in 1983, I continued to follow his career. His 1983 season was absolutely breathtaking (see video below). In just one season, he cemented his place as one of the top five running backs in the league. Certainly, I was bummed when I heard of his opening day knee injury against Cleveland in 1984. But he bounced back and had a very solid and at times outstanding career. Warner, in my opinion, is one of a handful of running backs from the 1980s (e.g., Billy Sims and William Andrews) who have been regrettably forgotten primarily because their careers were impaired by injuries. Fortunately, through the wonders of NFL Films programs on DVD, television, and online (You Tube, Hulu, etc.), we can relive the glory days of Warner, Payton, and any other of our favorite teams and players.

As should be evident, I’m a fan of Ed, Steve, and NFL Films. I’ve watched NFL Films for years. I value the work that organization has done. Ed’s induction will be a great moment. And this weekend should be a wonderful one for the Sabol family. Bravo, Ed! Here’s to many more years of wonderful NFL Films programming!

Brad is Co-Founder and President of Center for World Politics and Peace, a think tank on international politics. His work can be found on Facebook and Twitter. Brad has been a fan of pro football, and the Chicago Bears in particular, for the past 30 years.

August 2, 2011

Happy Days in Renton

“I took a visit, and my wife and I just loved it. I’m still kind of blown away.”- New Seahawks Tight End Zach Miller

The Seattle Seahawks will win the NFC West. There, I said it. After the best week of free agency in franchise history, this team is bigger, faster, younger- BETTER than they were just 8 days ago. Today's signing of Zach Miller wasn't the most important move by the VMAC brain trust this week, but it reinforced the theme of this offseason: When given a chance to upgrade this team, Pete Carroll and John Schneider will be absolutely relentless and ruthless in pursuit of that goal.

In Zach Miller they've snagged one of the best young Tight Ends in the league (and stole him away from the sub-human Raiders, which is a sweet little bonus). Either he'll be paired with incumbent John Carlson in some fearsome two-TE sets, or PCJS will flip JC for picks/players. Yes, Carlson is a fan favorite- Hell, one of my favorite Seahawks memories is meeting Carlson's parents at a game in 2009- But PCJS have clearly shown that they don't give a fuck about that noise.

Has there been any other week this stunning in team history? The departure of the best QB in team history, who also happened to be one of the most popular players to ever wear a Seahawks uniform... The signing of Robert Gallery and Sidney Rice, the retention of Brandon Mebane... The release of fan favorite and borderline Ring of Honor candidate Lofa Tautpu... Now Miller gets in the fold, and I'm not even mentioning additional moves, like the signing of Alan Branch, etc. In one chaotic week, it's clear that the Holmgren era is finally, truly over- These are the CarrollHawks now, and it's going to be a blast watching them learn, grow, and (hopefully) win this fall.

Most of the major moves have been to bolster the offense (which sorely needed shoring up), but the Seahawks still have the cap room and the ammo to make another big move- Isn't it electrifying to wonder what PCJS will come up with next? Defense aside, the success or failure of the 2011 Seahawks will be closely linked to the performance of Tarvaris Jackson. If he sucks? We're looking at 5-11 or 6-10. If he is ANY good? This team will be playing home games in January.

Like I mentioned in my last post, a good historical comparison is to Jon Kitna. Kitna's QB rating with the Seahawks (as well as his W-L record) is strikingly similar to T-Jack's career numbers thus far. While Seahawks fan tend to view Kitna's Seattle tenure through shit-colored glasses, the dude was good enough to lead Seattle to a 9-7 record and a division title in 1999. If Tarvaris Jackson could duplicate that, in the middle of a complete roster demolition and rebuild, Seahawks fans should faint from delirious joy en masse.

Yes, I admit part of me wonders "Holy shit! How good would Hasselbeck look behind that revamped line, throwing to Sid Rice, BMW and Miller?" But that's a moot point now- As much as I loved Matthew Hasselbeck, the dude is gone and in Tennessee blue. The good news is that Tarvaris Jackson couldn't possibly be more perfectly set up to succeed- He will be at the helm of a run-first offense, and when he does throw the ball, he won't be throwing to a collection of anonymous targets who are "just guys." T-Jack will be surrounded by offensive talent that simply hasn't been available in Seattle since the peak of the Holmgren era. If he can't resurrect his career under these circumstances, he never will. Best case? He goes all 2002 Tommy Maddox on Seahawks opponents this year.

What's next? I don't know, but I'm starting to assume it will be great news- PCJS have made me a believer.

What do you think, sirs?