August 28, 2012

Your 2012 Seahawks Jersey Buying Guide

Back in the Spring of 2007, I brushed aside my better judgment and bought a Josh Brown jersey. I knew that he only had one year left on his contract... But he made all those game-winning kicks in 2006! And it would be cool to wear a kicker's jersey! We all know what happened- I got one year of use out of the damn thing before The Traitor Josh Brown bolted for St. Louis. I recouped less than half of my $75 investment reselling it on eBay, and learned a hard lesson about NFL jersey purchases: If you choose poorly, you'll be pissing away your hard-earned cash. Thus, I started this annual guide to jersey-buying. The big twist this season is the introduction of the new Nike jerseys. Yeah, they look awesome- But the price of a replica jersey has increased 33% from $75 to $100. This year it's even more important than usual to get this decision right.

I'll be setting aside the following options: #12 Fan jerseys, customized jerseys, and throwbacks. I've changed my mind about #12 jerseys- Under Pete Carroll almost ANY player's jersey is a $100 gamble, so I can't blame anyone for playing it safe and deciding to go with a "FAN" model. But for those of you who are a bit less risk-averse, I'll be sticking to current players whose jerseys are readily available on sites like, the Seahawks Pro Shop, etc. Also, I'm focusing on the $100 models, not the more expensive varieties.

My criteria include length of current contract, likelihood of sticking with the team (Hell, they already printed up Nike BMW jerseys and BOOM.. He's cut), quality of performance/character, durability, and originality. One side note that I think needs repeating: NEVER PUT YOUR JERSEY IN THE DRYER! Dryers kill jerseys! Don't do it under any circumstances. With proper care, these new Nike dudes should hold up for a nice, long spell. If possible, wash them on the delicate cycle in cold water by themselves. Also, they run a size smaller than the old Reebok replicas. For example, I wore a Large Reebok jersey, but wisely bumped that up to XL for my Nike Marshawn Lynch jersey. Onto the rankings! (Side note- If you've seen jerseys for other players in store back home in Washington State, let us know who and where in the comments section)

9. Mike Williams 
Nike chose poorly printing these up. The good news is that they are already on sale, I guess. If the Seahawks wanted to be extra nice to their fans, they'd do what my Columbus Blue Jackets did back in March- Offer to let fans swap the name on the jerseys they JUST bought for free. Hey Seahawks- Let people who plunked down $100 on a BMW jersey come down to the Pro Shop and get them transformed into Braylon Edwards jerseys, yo!

8. Matt Flynn
It's pretty obvious that the NFL and Nike thought Flynn was going to win the QB1 job in Seattle, given how many Flynn jerseys were printed up- but unless you're a family member or a HUGE LSU fan there's little reason to buy his jersey until the moment he wins back the starting job, either by injury or ineffectiveness from Wilson.

7. Zach Miller
There are two big reasons I'd avoid buying Zach Miller's jersey: Concussions, and Kellen Winslow Jr. His production could dip this year because of both factors. I hope the guy can stay healthy, and if so I think he's a really important asset to the team, but I wouldn't buy his jersey right now.

6. Sidney Rice
I have a weird thing where I don't like wearing the jersey of an injured player- Just a personal quirk of mine. Even though I think Rice could end up in the Pro Bowl if he can stay on the field, his injury-riddled history would make me very hesitant to buy his jersey. 

5. Marshawn Lynch 
I bought a Lynch jersey IMMEDIATELY after the new Nike jerseys were released. Then the DUI arrest happened. Crap. I don't exactly regret the purchase, but if I'm being honest I probably would have gotten another player's jersey if I was in the market for one AFTER he got arrested. A Lynch jersey is still a respectable buy, though- If he can avoid a suspension he has a decent chance to lead the NFL in rushing this season, and he's also the author of the single greatest play in Seahawks history. He also won't be a free agent until 2016, so unless the arrest/threat of suspension really bothers you, his jersey is still an excellent purchase.

4. Doug Baldwin 
Baldwin is the definition of a "fan favorite." He's got the best twitter feed of any player on the team, and he seems genuinely down-to-Earth and relate-able. I'll never forget when he tweeted a pic of himself with a Twelve at Target, and #89 was wearing a Seahawks hoodie like HE was a fan or something- I just found that very cool, personally. Baldwin is also an awesome WR (duh) and he doesn't even become a restricted FA until 2014.

3. Kam Chancellor
If you want to wear the jersey of a God Damn Bad Ass, Kam-Bam is your best bet. He's the nastiest member of the Legion of Boom (by the way, where are the Sherman and Browner jerseys?) and he's stayed out of trouble off the field. My only concern? Right now he's scheduled to become a free agent after the 2013 season. I don't seem him leaving Seattle for a LONG time, but with PCJS you never know.

2. Earl Thomas
If there's a guy on the current roster who just SCREAMS "career Seahawk destined for the Ring of Honor," it's Earl Thomas. He's still the best player on the team, and by all accounts also a locker-room leader and solid citizen. Plus, he won't be a free agent until 2015. Very sensible buy.

1. Just wait until the team prints up a shit-load of Russell Wilson jerseys.
Who am I kidding? This is what you'll all end up doing anyway.

What do you think, sirs?

Side note: I'm looking to sell two tickets to the game Thursday. Face value is $90 but I'm willing to sell them for less than that. If you're interested, email me at dksb17 at gmail dot com. 

August 27, 2012

Of the beginning, of the beginning...

One of my favorite threads that weaves through Mad Men is Don Draper's tendency to throw his support behind people/things/trends that would eventually end up on the wrong side of history- He backed Nixon over Kennedy... Liston over Ali... He couldn't even make it all the way through The Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows" without turning that damn racket off. Of course, Don is also open to new possibilities and opportunities when they present themselves, even if it might take him a bit of time to come around. Russell Wilson is Peggy Olson to Pete Carroll's Draper, in a way. The unconventional talent that almost everyone dismisses for an irrelevant, reflexive reason- But HE sees it, and he isn't blinded by tradition or convention.

In my last few (hilarious in retrospect) blog posts, I've hammered away at one big idea: Russell Wilson might be our future, but Matt Flynn was the QB we needed to lead us here in the present. I was Draper backing Nixon or Liston...

Then DangeRuss happened, and now I'm SO glad I didn't already drop $100 on a Matt Flynn jersey. Wilson's spectacular showing at Arrowhead last Friday swayed me- I sincerely think that he has cleanly won the starting job, and he has justified both Pete Carroll's belief in his abilities and (most of) the hype surrounding him. The ONLY thing that should possibly make someone skeptical is his height, and he's showing that being 5'10" won't be a significant issue. On every other metric (Arm strength, field awareness, athleticism, leadership abilities, etc) the kid has the potential to be a 10-year starter.. And yes, to be the QB that finally leads Seattle to a Super Bowl Victory.

I'm excited about the dawn of the RW3 era, but doubt also gnaws at me- I can't shake the feeling that simply based on Wilson's inevitable rookie learning curve, we'll lose one or two more games with him under center in 2012 than we would if Flynn was the quarterback. The difference between 10-6 and 11-5 or 12-4 could cost us a first round bye, a home playoff game, or even straight-up cost us a playoff spot. This team is primed to win NOW, not in 2013 or 2014- and I worry that in such a competitive NFC field, a rookie QB figuring it out on the job might not be a luxury we can afford...

But... Fuck it! Wilson might just figure out quickly, and have a Roethlisberger-or-Marino-esque rookie season. Even if he struggles, that defense and our ground attack may allow Wilson to hide his rookie-year deficiencies. If he (implausibly) goes full-on Kelly Stouffer on us, I have no doubt that Coach Carroll will yank the kid in favor of Flynn before the playoffs drift out of reach for Seattle.

With Tarvaris Jackson's trade to Buffalo, it's clear that Flynn is staying put with the Seahawks through 2012. My gut feeling is Flynn will have to win a game or two for us this season- Not because I think Wilson will stink, but because his style of play might get him hurt. I think Flynn will be ready for that opportunity and seize it- So if you're one of those Wilson enthusiasts who is inexplicably shitting on Matt Flynn, cut it the fuck out. If Wilson struggles badly, Flynn might still get a real shot in Seattle (but if Wilson shines, I expect to see Flynn traded next Spring).

Pete Carroll has once again shown his disdain for the NFL's conventional wisdom, and for the unwritten rules of the game. I'd want ANY Seahawks coach to win a Super Bowl, but if Carroll is the one who actually pulls it off, it would be even more meaningful and resonant. It would be a victory for the outsiders, the visionaries, and the iconoclasts who refuse to bow to unthinking tradition.

Pete Carroll has bet his Seahawks career on Russell Wilson. They are now likely to be linked forever in either joint victory or collective failure. On way or another, it's going to be a spectacular, compelling ride.

What do you think, sirs?

August 22, 2012

The Biggest Preseason Game EVAR!!!1!!1!!

On Friday night, the Seattle Seahawks will play the most pivotal preseason game in franchise history. Hyperbole, you say? Nope. Here's why this week's game at Arrowhead is the biggest exhibition game our team has ever played...

The Seahawks have the luxury now of having two very promising young quarterbacks on their roster. Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson have very different quarterbacking aptitudes, but BOTH of them have the potential to become the franchise quarterback who finally leads the Hawks to a Super Bowl victory. I can already hear the groans from Team Wilson, from those who have already assumed that our 5'11" 3rd-round rookie is INEVITABLY going to be our QB (eventually). I don't buy into that assumption at all. Once Matt Flynn wins the starting job, he might not ever give it up. He has the ability and the intelligence to lead the Seahawks all the way to the top of the NFL's elite- Otherwise, PCJS would not have brought him to Seattle.

Once we accept that EITHER of these quarterbacks could be "The One," Friday's game takes on potentially monumental significance. Even though Coach Carroll has said that he might not make a final QB1 decision until after the Oakland game, a standout (or piss-poor) performance from Wilson at Arrowhead will likely force Big Balls Pete to make an immediate decision on our 2012 starter- and whoever wins that starting job for Kickoff Weekend might hold onto it for the next half-decade or more. So yes, this is the biggest preseason game our franchise has ever played. It could set the course for the team at the game's most important position for the next 7-10 years.

I disagree with the decision to start Wilson at Kansas City. I think that Matt Flynn is the better choice to maximize our number of wins in 2012, and I think he needs as many reps as possible to get ready for the Cardinals on September 9th. If he falters, Russell Wilson is sitting there in a glass case waiting for an emergency. That's my thinking, but it's obviously not Pete Carroll's thinking. Plus, what the hell do I know? I wanted us to draft Michael Crabtree a few years back, for fuck's sake.

I'll never root for a Seahawk to fail. I hope RW3 scorches the earth Friday, wins the job cleanly, and grows into some fucked-up hybrid of Cam Newton and Drew Brees. If he doesn't, I think Flynn gets the job, and we roll on to #10winsandaplayoffspot anyway. The worst case scenario in my mind is this: BOTH QBs are "meh" on Friday, and the competition drags on for another week. It's best for the team if Wilson shines like a supernova Friday, but it wouldn't be the end of the world if he stunk out loud either- It would allow PC to name Flynn the starter, and would tamp down the already overheated expectations that are developing about RW3- Then he could learn and grow with significantly less pressure.

Our coach has made a decision I strongly disagree with, but I sure as hell hope it works out. The best news is that we're looking at a competition between two QBs with spectacular potential- I just hope that competition gets resolved one way or another on Friday.

What do you think, sirs?

August 15, 2012

Too Soon!!!

I've been around long enough to witness Seahawks QB controversies from Zorn v Krieg all the way through Jackson v Whitehurst, and frankly they are as much a part of Seahawks history as 9-7 seasons and enemy false starts at our home games.With that sort of perspective it doesn't surprise me that a vocal subset of Twelves are clamoring for Russell Wilson to supplant Matt Flynn- But it does make the bile rise in my gullet. Really, guys? Already??

Before I really get a rant going, I'd like to point out the almost blinding bright side to this: Our QB play is almost certainly going to be vastly improved in 2012, and it's a decent bet that EITHER Flynn or Wilson will emerge as that mythical, Ogopogo-esque beast: The Quarterback of the Future. That's fucking awesome, my friends.

Even though it's not official, Matt Flynn is clearly being prepped to start at Glendale on Kickoff Weekend. He's performed well enough in camp and our first preseason game to have earned that job. Beyond that, Tarvaris Jackson has maxed out his skill set and Russell Wilson is a rookie 3rd round pick who is not ready to lead a playoff-caliber team. Matt Flynn is just the right mix of demonstrated ability and untapped potential, and he's flashed enough in Renton so far to make him the ONLY choice for QB1 right now.

Weirdly enough, this might not be the majority opinion among Seahawks fans- I've seen legions of them pointing at Russell Wilson and screaming "NOW! NOW! NOW!" like they were Veruca Fucking Salt and RW was a Oompa-Loopa. Why? Because he went all Madden Rookie Mode on a bunch of Titans defenders destined for jobs in the CFL or various Arena Leagues? Because he's a better "story" than Flynn? Because (holy shit I've actually seen people say this) he reminds you of Tim Tebow somehow? BARF. Stop it. For the love of fuck, STOP IT.

I'm very excited by Russell Wilson's potential, and I think he's got a VERY good chance at being an excellent NFL QB someday... and if the Seahawks were rebuilding and not shooting for a playoff run right now, maybe I'd be more open to the idea of throwing Wilson out there week 1 and seeing how he responds. Seattle isn't shooting for 6-10, though- They are shooting for (wait for it) #10winsandaplayoffspot. Tossing Wilson out there now could fuck up our season AND RW's career over the long-term.

Here's how Wilson would get out on field this season: A) Matt Flynn sucks. B) Matt Flynn is injured. C) The Seahawks are hopelessly out of playoff contention. Fuck ALL that. All those options all sound like utter shit. Let's remember why we signed Matt Flynn in the first place: If everything clicks into place for the dude, he could be Hasselbeck 2.0. If that's the QB that Flynn grows into, we'll be a Super Bowl contender for a nice, healthy stretch of time with him under center and all us Twelves will be wearing #15 jerseys. We should ALL want that, even if it means Wilson never gets to start and we ship him out of town for a draft pick in a couple of years. If you are rooting for Flynn to falter in Denver so Wilson has a better chance to start (and I know you fuckers are out there- I've seen that crap play out before in this fan base), kindly piss off.

What do you think, sirs? Care to try to convince me that Wilson should start? Don't give me that "he deserves a shot" bullshit either- I got enough of that from Charlie Whitehurst's disciples last year.

August 8, 2012

The Flynn Supremacy (?)


There are lots of really obvious, lazy parallels one can draw between Matt Hasselbeck and Matt Flynn. They share a first name, they were both low draft picks who lacked a prototypical QB skill set, they both were understudies to Super-Bowl winning QBs in Green Bay, and both ended up in Seattle with a chance to craft their own legend as an NFL starting quarterback. 

The only really relevant parallel lies in the unknowable future: Will both end up leading the Seattle Seahawks to the Super Bowl? With the Titans visiting Seahawks Stadium this Saturday, the fondly-remembered past will meet potential of the present. 

At least the past SHOULD be fondly remembered- I've noticed far too many Seahawks fans suffering from selective amnesia about the career of Matthew Hasselbeck. There's too much focus on his struggles from 2008-2010, and not enough reflection on the fact that from mid-2002 through 2007 he was one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. In 5+ seasons he led Seattle to five playoff appearances, four NFC West titles, four playoff wins, and Super Bowl XL. He was also named to the Pro Bowl in 2003, 2005, and 2007. He is the best, most successful quarterback in Seahawks history, and with all due respect to Dave Krieg it isn't even very close. After he retires, his wait to get inducted into the Seahawks Ring of Honor will be brief. He deserves a standing ovation from the Seahawks Stadium crowd Saturday (hopefully followed by pick-6s by some combination of Thomas, Chancellor, Browner and Sherman, of course). 

The bigger story is the first Seattle start for Matt Flynn. Given the terrible fury our defense is about to unleash upon the NFL, Flynn has an amazing opportunity. He doesn't need to be Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers to lead Seattle to the Super Bowl- If he can reach the level Hasselbeck was at in the mid-00s, he will be a World Champion. On Saturday, he can snuff any possible quarterback controversy before it begins. Like legions of Twelves, I like Russell Wilson- but Flynn ending the QB1 debate quickly is BY FAR the best possible outcome for the Seahawks. If Flynn looks shaky and Wilson shreds Tennessee's scrubs were going to have a full-blown "CHAR-LIE! CHAR-LIE!"-type pandemic on our hands. That won't just be puke-worthy; it'll be a dangerous distraction.

This isn't about taking sides between Flynn and Wilson (though I fear we're already heading that direction judging by the internet chatter I've seen). In 2013 or 2014, Wilson may overtake Flynn and seize the starting job- If so, awesome! However, if we have to start a 3rd-round rookie QB against Arizona on Kickoff Weekend that would mean something went horribly awry in August. We NEED Matt Flynn to, in effect, kick somebody's ass on his first day in Gen Pop Saturday. 

Yeah, rehashing the parallels between Flynn and Hasselbeck is kinda hacky and lazy- but I do dig the possible symmetry of their careers. There's one way I want their paths to diverge, though: I want Matt Flynn to WIN the Super Bowl. 

You're up, Matt. Go get it, dude. 

What do you think, sirs? 

August 7, 2012

Owens!!!! Owens!!!!! Owens!!!!!

There's a scene in the movie Moneyball where shit gets totally real between Billy Beane and aging superstar David Justice. While Justice takes cuts in the batting cage, Beane tells him how it is in the rawest terms possible- Justice wants to stay up in "The Show" for as long as he can, and Beane wants to wring every last drop of Major League production out of Justice's body.

This is EXACTLY the arrangement between Terrell Owens and the Seattle Seahawks.

Owens is one of the greatest Wide Receivers in the history of the game. Not only has his production been consistently spectacular over more than a decade, he also has a knack for finding the end zone. He's big, strong, soft-handed and still fast at the age of 38 (if that report of a 4.45 forty time at his VMAC tryout is accurate). In his last full NFL season with the Bengals, he caught 72 balls for 983 yards and 9 TDs. It appears he may be fully recovered from his knee injury and the Seahawks just signed him to a veteran minimum contract for one year. Sounds pretty sweet, huh?

Then why are so many Twelves acting like we just signed the demon hellspawn of Mike Vick and Ben Roethlisberger? Because he pulled out a Sharpie at Seahawks Stadium on MNF a decade ago? Because he didn't get along with Donovan McNabb? Because he has generally been a brash, loudmouthed diva? I really can't fathom why I'm supposed to detest this man- He hasn't suited up for a NFC West rival for 9 years, and  his behavior, while annoying and douchey, isn't THAT unusual among supremely talented wideouts.

Plenty of folks are spinning out doomsday scenarios where Owens somehow destroys the Seahawks this season. This is misguided fear-mongering. Owens has EVERY incentive to shut up and play for his next contract in 2013, and he has to know that Pete Carroll would never let him metastasize as a cancer in the locker room. At the first hint of turdy behavior, he'd be out on the street and his NFL career would suffer its final, decisive deathblow. It's not even a safe bet that Owens makes Seattle's 53-man roster at this point. If he can't perform? Cut! If he acts up? Cut! And given PC's track record, you know he wouldn't hesitate.

I can see exactly what Pete Carroll sees in Owens: A year of VERY cheap but significant production at  WR. Owens doesn't need to be better than Rice or Baldwin to help this team make the playoffs- A healthy, focused T.O. gives us a possibly dangerous 6-pack of WR/TE targets for whomever wins the QB scrum: Sidney Rice, Baldwin, Owens, Tate, Winslow and Miller.

I thought we all learned from the Ruskell era that an OCD-level of focus on "character" is a recipe for an awful football team. What has Owens ever done to REALLY earn such violent revulsion from so many Twelves? I honestly don't get it.

Terrell Owens will either help Seattle hit #10winsandaplayoffspot, or he'll end up knocking around in some Arena League- There isn't much chance of any scenarios between those extremes happening. Pete Carroll knows it, Terrell Owens knows it, and all of you out there freaking out over this move should try to understand it.

What do you think, sirs?