September 14, 2016

You Can't Swim in a Town This Shallow

I know how I'm supposed to feel about the Rams moving to Los Angeles. I know I'm supposed to feel for the poor fans of St. Louis, who cruelly had their team snatched away from them. As a fan of a Seattle team, I've had a front-row seat for that sort of injustice. As we all know, our beloved Hawks almost bolted for Southern California in 1997. Some blogger even imagined what that would have been like a while back... And I agree with Richard Sherman that billionaire owners should be paying for their lavish new stadiums rather than relying on taxpayer funding (Easy for me to say, right? My team is set. Buckle up for more blatant hypocrisy!).

However... Eff St. Louis! The Cardinals moved there from Chicago, and they left. The Rams moved there from Los Angeles and then moved back. As Michael Bluth once said, "You really should lock that down." In addition, as I've said many times before, going to a game in St. Louis was like watching a football game inside a REALLY NICE brand new Costco (and one where all the local fans were preoccupied with the town's baseball team). Not exactly the best football atmosphere in America. 

On a brazenly selfish tip, the Rams moving to Los Angeles is a unalloyed good for our Seattle Seahawks. First, it eliminates an annual 10 am pacific kickoff. Second, it's a much shorter trip to L.A. from Seattle than from the Emerald City to STL. Third, the bad blood between the cities should amp up the rivalry. Finally, with Pete Carroll's ties to USC creating a LOT of 12s in greater Los Angeles in recent years, and with the ease of travel between SEA and LAX, I expect games at the Coliseum to feature frequent and quite audible chants of "SEA! HAWKS!!" 

Sidebar for all you new Los Angeles Rams fans - You don't get to brag about ANYTHING the team did in St. Louis. Nope. You didn't give a fuck when they won XXXIV. You weren't paying attention when the Mike Martz Rams were torturing us. So fuck off. Don't bring that shit. You're pretty much an expansion team - and unless you're at least 40 years old, I don't want to hear you blathering about how great Eric Dickerson was "for us" either. 

I'll admit I don't know a ton about Los Angeles. I've only visited once (when I was 12). Most of what I know about the area comes from pissy Death Cab For Cutie songs, the incredible documentary Los Angeles Plays Itself, and my 20+ year obsession with the O.J. Simpson murder case (SERIOUSLY - You all need to watch both the FX series and the ESPN documentary ASAP). Sunday's game will go down at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, and a sellout crowd of over 90,000 is expected to fill the ancient arena. I know a bit more about that... 

The Seahawks played exactly one game against the Rams in the Coliseum. WAYYYY back in 1976. The expansion Hawks were no match for L.A.'s perennial contenders (back in the 70s they had a nasty habit of being awesome until they had to go to Minneapolis in the playoffs, where they shattered like the frozen T-1000 in the 3rd act of Terminator 2), and they lost 45-6. This was so long ago that Tom Dempsey was the Rams' placekicker. Gerald Ford was still President. I was 18 months old. 

Of course, the Raiders moved into the Coliseum in 1982 and stayed until 1994. My earliest memory of the rivalry playing out in the Coliseum was our resounding defeat at the Raiders' hands in the 1983 AFC Championship Game. I was 8, those bastards made me cry, and a life-long hatred was forged. Here's our top 5 victories in the Coliseum (OK, our only five wins in the Coliseum...). Enjoy! 

What a mirage the start of the 1994 campaign was... Rick Mirer still seemed like he'd turn out to be a great NFL quarterback at this point. He fired three TD passes and racked up a 140.2 passer rating. Chris Warren churned out 112 yards from scrimmage and found the end zone twice as the Hawks jumped out to a 2-0 start. They'd excite the 12 Army with a 3-0 start... before going 3-10 the rest of the way. Head Coach Tom Flores would get shitcanned after the season, and with good cause. 

Seattle came from behind to win, outscoring the Silver and Black 17-3 in the final quarter. Curt Warner had one of his last great games, scoring a TD and running for 102 yards on 21 carries. Brian Blades accumulated 113 yards on seven catches, including the go-ahead score with just minutes remaining. 

The Raiders coughed up five turnovers, Curt Warner ran for over 100 yards, and the Hawks beat the eventual Super Bowl champs for the 2nd time in three weeks. As I mentioned earlier, they'd get payback in the AFC Championship Game a few months later. 

DAVE KRIEG STILL HAD HIS STRIKE BEARD! Yup, Krieg hadn't yet shaved off the bushy facewarmer he grew during the 1987 players' strike. Mudbone fired two touchdowns to Ray Butler, but the big star of the day was Curt Warner, who racked up 145 yards and scored twice himself. Fredd Young also snagged a pass from the unfortunately named Rusty Dilger and ran it in for six for good measure. 

L.A. and Seattle came into the Coliseum that day with a combined record of 15-15, but the winner would make the playoffs. On that damp, dreary, Seattle-like day, the Seahawks were playing for their first AFC West title. Both defenses seemed to have brought the wrong shoes for the muddy track... The teams traded scores all day, but the Hawks pulled ahead in the 4th and held on for the biggest regular-season road win in team history, keyed by a spectacular John L. Williams TD on a perfectly executed "middle screen." 

What about this Sunday's game? I expect the usual Seahawks-Rams bloodpisser, with Seattle coming out on top 17-15. Let's say Bobby Wagner stuffs a late 2-point conversion try by Todd Gurley to seal the win? 

What do you think, sirs? 

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