January 2, 2013
When I Grow Up, I Wanna Be a 2012 Seattle Seahawk.
When I was a little kid, I looked at the men who played for the Seattle Seahawks like they were a coalition of Indiana Jones, Luke Skywalker, Dr. Peter Venkman and other assorted bad-asses. Before I realized that I had ZERO athletic ability, I wanted to grow up to be the next Dave Krieg/Kenny Easley/Steve Largent/etc. My love for the Seahawks never waned, but it did change- While I remained in awe of the athletic ability of these men, they ceased being role models for me. Frankly, when you're 37 and you're calling your quarterback "kid," it's damn near impossible to look at your team the same way you did when you were 12.
There's something unique about this 2012 team, though. Obviously, I want every Seahawks squad to win the Super Bowl, but some seasons have certain recipes that make rooting for them a bit of a chore (2004 comes to mind), while others take on added resonance: You end up liking that particular mixture of players and coaches above and beyond their success on the field... You think "Wow. I want THIS team to be the one that wins it all." The '12s are ridiculously easy to root for, and it's not just because they're the most talented Seahawks team since at least 2005 (perhaps ever). They could be a collection of malcontents and reprobates, of primadonnas and lollygagers- they could be the early 90s Cowboys, for fuck's sake- but they're not. When I look at these Seattle Seahawks, I see what I wish I would have grown up to be a quarter-century ago.
On Sunday I was up in Section 325 shredding my vocal cords like it was a playoff game, not a relatively unimportant regular season dust-up. I staggered out of Seahawks Stadium with my head throbbing, my ears ringing and my throat aching to an extent I hadn't experienced since the last playoff game I attended in January 2008. I felt compelled to squeeze every last drop of energy I had onto the Seahawks Stadium fieldturf because I knew it was (almost certainly) my last chance to see this extremely special team in person. I NEEDED to feel like I did my part to will this team to an undefeated home record- In part because I see so many qualities I admire in this team.
Pete Carroll has a psychological hold over me- I'm particularly susceptible to his bombast, his sunny optimism, his overt emotional displays, and his unconventional methods. In a league often defined by stifling conformity, Carroll stands out. Does this always work in the Seahawks' favor? Hell no. Sometimes these qualities hurt the team, but for the most part Coach Carroll's tenure has been a rousing success. I want him to succeed not just because he's our coach, but also because I want his risks and his unusual strategies to pay off. I like to think I share a lot of these qualities with Coach Carroll, and I find it inspiring when ANYONE bucks convention, wins big, and changes the way things are done- and we're tantalizingly close to living in a world where it's THE SEATTLE SEAHAWKS who are inspiring copycats around professional football.
The 2012 Seahawks roster is overstuffed with inspiring, admirable characters- I wish I had the leadership skills and poise of Russell Wilson, the intensity and determination of Marshawn Lynch, and the confidence, intelligence and otherworldly ability of Richard Sherman. Beyond the qualities of the individual players, there appears to be real camaraderie among the players, which can be traced back to the combination of PCJS's careful roster building and the growing momentum of the team's success.
It's easy to say "this team is very young- they'll contend for years." This is probably true, but the 2012 team- THIS team- will only continue to exist as long as they keep winning. One loss, and we lose them to the history books. I want these guys to be the ones that we remember FOREVER as our first World Champions. I want Russell Wilson to be the first rookie QB to win a Super Bowl, and I want to see him, Coach Carroll and Richard Sherman as talking heads on the 2012 Seahawks version of America's Game next September. I want as much of these guys as I can get- I'm not ready to say goodbye.
If these Seahawks can win the Super Bowl, if they can overcome the obstacles of three road playoff games and ignore 36 Seattle seasons where the main precedents for this franchise were failure and mediocrity, they won't just be Champions- They'll be an inspiration.
What do you think, sirs?