July 9, 2017

Your 2017 Seattle Seahawks Jersey Buying Guide


Hey y'all! I know many of you have been waiting for my annual report on which Seahawks jersey(s) you should buy (and which ones would provoke regret like a midnight trip to White Castle). First, an barely tangentially related rant!

About a year ago, I got a new full time job. Benefits! Health Insurance! (Relative) Job Security! The main function of the gig is essentially to teach people how to not be jerks to LGBTQ people (with a frequent deeper focus on trans and gender non-conforming people). It's important work, and I love doing it. The problem? Between that job and teaching part-time (gotta stack that paper!), I've had far too little free time to devote to blogging.

So what roused me from my creative slumber? A comment someone left on this blog. No, I didn't publish it. No, I won't publish it. This comment justified both the fact that I moderate the responses people send in AND the work that I do trying to educate people about trans folks.

Charmingly, the comment started out referring to me with the T-slur, and it was a rocket sled to Transphobistan from that point on, rambling on about how I want "special rights" (I have a feeling that brah was an enthusiast for I-552), and so on and so forth with the laziest, most predictable shit. Then this person had the gall to mix a dash of "we're all 12s" bullshit into his hate speech, apparently thinking that since we are both Seahawks fans, I should hug it out with him.

Umm. No. Fuck, no. We're not talking about a disagreement over budget priorities or tax rates. We're talking about a nationwide, organized effort to deny full personhood and citizenship to people like me. We're talking about an initiative that would have forced me into the men's room at Seahawks home games. How do you think that would go for me?

Not great, I'm thinking.



Even in Seattle, which is perhaps the city with the largest trans population per capita in the U.S., trans folks need to fight every day against a tsunami of hate, fear and ignorance. Sometimes that hate, fear, and ignorance is even exacerbated by local left-wing independent newspapers *cough* The Stranger *cough* (Here's a good account of and response to that whole sordid affair). So no, this is not something I can "agree to disagree" about, even with other 12s.

Thankfully that turd-encrusted abomination of an initiative effort once again failed to collect enough signatures to make it onto the fall ballot ("Just Want Privacy" is rapidly becoming the Buffalo Bills of Washington State politics), and my belief in the basic decency of the vast majority of Washingtonians was rewarded. But make no mistake. If you signed that petition, this blog is not for you. If you supported that effort, this blog is not for you. I'm sure there is no shortage of media outlets that will give you hot takes on the Seahawks that align with your curdled, malignant worldview. Go find them and leave the rest of us alone. 

Back to that original commenter for a moment. 

Asshole, the team is on MY side. Not yours. Look up the campaign contributions of Paul Allen and Pete Carroll. Google the political stances of the VAST majority of our players, including our squeaky-clean quarterback. This team is easily, and obviously, the most left-leaning squad in the NFL. Your hateful ass is the outsider, not me. You know that, probabilistically, the Seahawks likely have more transgender fans than any other NFL team, right? We're not going ANYWHERE.
Fuck you. You probably rooted for us to lose the 2010 regular season finale and miss the playoffs. You probably booed Matt Hasselbeck. Fuck you.

Now that I've gotten that out of my system, let's talk Seahawks jerseys! 

Training Camp is mere weeks away, and I'm sure that a lucky handful of my readers will be attending practices at the VMAC -Which is a perfect opportunity to show off a new Hawks jersey. As usual, I'm here to help y'all make a crucial decision. 

As usual, let's start with the 1st Commandment of jersey ownership: NEVER PUT YOUR JERSEY IN THE DRYER! Dryers kill jerseys! Don't do it under any circumstances. If you abide by this decree your jersey(s) should hold up for a nice, long spell. If possible, wash them on the delicate cycle in cold water by themselves. I also feel strongly that there's no compelling reason to opt for the more opulent Nike models. The $100 replicas ("game" jerseys) are plenty expensive, and will look sharp for years with proper care. In my experience, the screen-printed numbers on the "game" jerseys actually hold up better and longer than the stitched-on ones adorning the more expensive Nike jerseys. Please note - If you are lucky enough to fit into a "youth" size, those are only about $70.

For the purposes of this guide, I'm setting aside throwbacks (though I'm hanging onto my gunmetal blue Hasselbeck jersey until the heat death of the universe), personalized jerseys, and #12 jerseys (I've changed my tune on the #12's over the years. I used to be dead-set against buying those jerseys, but given how precarious roster spots are under PCJS's rule, I can't blame a fan for playing it safe with such a substantial investment. I own a FAN jersey myself, frankly).

Sidebar: Jersey colors, ranked - 

4. White
3. Action Green
2. Wolf Grey
1. College Navy 

Fight me.

Personally, I have a weird thing about wearing an injured player's jersey. I'm not a superstitious type, but I feel out of sorts if I'm wearing a player's jersey while he's hurt. Thus, I tend to shy away from players who have a history of injury problems. I'm also hesitant to buy a jersey of a rookie or a new free agent acquisition. What if they suck? Then you're wearing a big shroud of suck, aren't you?

So what jerseys should you avoid? Which ones are risky buys? Which ones are safe but predictable? Which ones are awesome, at least somewhat unique, and not likely to burn you a year from now? Let's break it down.

DON'T BUYS

As usual, I recommend leaving the jerseys of 2018 free agents-to-be on the rack. The most significant players this applies to are Kam Chancellor, Jimmy Graham, Eddie Lacy, Paul Richardson, Luke Willson, Justin Britt, Luke Joeckel, Blair Walsh, Cassius Marsh, and Deshawn Shead. Who are some other players you should steer clear of?

Frank Clark. Ugh. Just... Ugh. I'm not psyched that I have to root for this guy. I'm not even going to weakly defend our front office for employing him. Cheering him on makes me feel more than a little queasy, and I can't see any circumstance where someone would want to wear his jersey.

Jermaine Kearse. The former Husky has made some of the most important catches in franchise history. No one can ever take that away from him. But I feel like he might get his roster spot taken away from him this training camp, and even if he holds on, he's a UFA after the 2018 season.

The Entire Stable of Running Backs. I honestly think that the Hawks will have a dominant rushing attack this season, but that dominant attack will be executed by committee. Lacy, Rawls, Prosise, Collins, and others will split carries. In addition, Rawls and Prosise have injury-marred histories, and Lacy is a new free agent acquisition. Keep scrolling past these jerseys, so to speak.

Sidebar: Marshawn Lynch. 

I'm not going to begrudge the guy deciding he wants to continue working in his chosen profession, and to ply that trade in his hometown for the short time they'll still be in Oakland. But I'm not thrilled about this, either. I don't want him to fail. I don't want him to go out like Shaun Alexander did in DC, or fade away the way Curt Warner did in Anaheim. But I don't want him to go win a ring with the Raiders, either. 

The dream ending for this season would be walloping the Patriots in LII, obviously. My 2nd choice? Seahawks vs Raiders at U.S. Bank Stadium. Last play of the game. Seahawks up by 4. Raiders' ball at the 1. They do what millions will expect: The hand the ball to Shawn. But he gets stood up short of the goal line by Bobby Wagner. Shoulda called a pass, Musgrave. 

The Rookie Class. That's just on general principles. But if you have to go buy a rookie's jersey, I think your best bets are Malik McDowell or Shaquill Griffin.

HIGH RISK, HIGH REWARD

Tyler Lockett. Our December loss to the Cardinals at home has stuck with me. My mind keeps wandering back to it in all the worst ways. Of all the nauseating moments in that game, the worst one was the horrific injury Lockett suffered hauling in a touchdown pass. By all accounts, his recovery is going well, and if he is indeed 100% this season, he could be an electrifying weapon for Seattle once again. But a leg injury to a player whose biggest edge is his blazing speed? That would give me pause.

Richard Sherman. Sherm is still he best corner in the game. He's a lock for both the Ring of Honor and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. However, while I don't buy into those alarmist reports of his imminent departure that circulated earlier this offseason, his relationship with the coaching staff and front office is far from placid. A Sherm jersey is a good short term and long term investment. But in the medium term he might end up in someone else's colors ala Marshawn.

Earl Thomas. I almost put ETIII in the "safe, but uninspired" category that's coming next (spoilers!). The veteran Longhorn is locked into a trip to Canton and a Ring of Honor/Retired Jersey double dip down the line. His 2016 injury is the only thing that makes him the least bit risky as a jersey purchase, but I see him returning to form and leading the best defense in football in 2017.

Jeremy Lane. Right now, Lane is leading the competition to start at CB opposite Sherm. He's also under contract through the 2019 season. However, he might lose the battle with Shaquill Griffin in training camp or lose the starting job when Deshawn Shead returns from his ACL injury.

SAFE, BUT UNINSPIRED

Russell Wilson. This isn't a dig at the WolfBadger. He's my favorite player. I have a Wilson jersey, and you probably do as well. I think he's going to bounce back big-time from an injury-filled 2016 and make an incontrovertible case that he's one of the very best QBs in the game. Also, kid seems to be loosening up a bit. He's started to make baby steps toward more overt political stances in the vein of his more vocal teammates, and that Nike ad was pretty damn cool. But at this point, if you don't already have a Wilson jersey, you likely don't really want one.

THE TOP 5 (WITH A BONUS PUNTER) 

6. Jon Ryan. My love and devotion for the Regina Rocket is well-known. But did you know he's married to stand-up comedian and comedy writer Sarah Colonna now? Fun fact: She's a few months older than me, so Ryan digs older women. Respect.

5. K.J. Wright: The former Mississippi State standout had the best campaign of his career in 2016, racking up 126 tackles and making it to the first Pro Bowl of his career. Wright isn't a household name, but he is a great player on the verge of stardom. Why isn't he ranked higher? He's a UFA after the 2018 season.

4. Cliff Avril: Like Wright, he had the best season of his career in 2016, notching 11.5 sacks. He also is building houses for folks in Haiti, which is about as unalloyed of a good deed as I can imagine. The only debits? He's a UFA after the 2018 season, and he's 31, which means he might be closer to a drop-off in production than any of us would like to see.

3. Doug Baldwin: Not gonna bullshit here - I fucking LOVE Doug Baldwin. He's one of the leaders of this team, he's an endlessly fascinating public figure, and he's evolving into a latter-day west coast version of future Hall of Fame WR Steve Smith (maybe even a different Steve.. *gasp* Largent?). He's also under team control contract-wise through the 2020 season. The only reason he isn't ranked higher? He topped this list two out of the last three years already. Did I mention that I love this guy?

2. Michael Bennett: Last year Black Santa landed on the "Don't Buy" list, but with a new contract that has him staying in Seattle through the 2020 season, he rides up to number two on this year's list. He's entertaining. socially conscious, and a goddamn one-man slaughterhouse out on the pitch. His only demerit, like Cliff Avril's, is his age (31). You can't really go wrong sporting #72, though.

And at number one....

1. Bobby Wagner: Seattle's 27-year-old All-World middle linebacker stacked up opposing ballcarriers like cordword last season - 167 tackles (FUCK!) and 4.5 sacks. The Handsome Slayer of Enemy Drives was named All-Pro for the second time in three seasons, and is staying in Seattle through at least the 2019 season. Unlike Wilson or any member of the L.O.B., Bwagz hasn't yet reached saturation levels within the 12 Army - So this is the moment to go snag a #54 jersey and pop that sucker on.

What do y'all think? Did I miss anything obvious? Let me know in the comments or on twitter.

Would You Like To Know More? 

4 comments:

KC said...

I really, really love this blog. I could read your writing about the Hawks--and about more important issues, like LGBTQ+ rights--all day long. I know you're busy (and congrats on that--sounds like good and important work), but I selfishly hope you find the time to keep this blog active. It makes me a better 12, maybe even a better person. Thanks, and Go Hawks!

GreenKat said...

As a fan of the Not-So-Beloved team from outside of Providence, I try not to comment too much on your blog here, but I wanted to applaud your reaction to the comment that you talked about at the beginning of the post. I agree with not publishing the comment because just like you shouldn't be expected to "hug it out" with someone with a "different opinion" that seeks to deny you your humanity, you also should not be expected to give sunlight and fresh air to such opinions. Some opinions should be censored and not even be entertained with the thought it may be valid; Holocaust denial, slavery as a "good thing", racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, etc.

Keep up the good work. It's always great to see the perspectives of fans of other teams, even when they despise mine. This is why I can be friends with Pens fans even though I am a Blue Jackets fan. Respect my humanity, I'll respect yours, and we can enjoy our respective teams without being jerks about it. :)

(Coincidently, I got a new CBJ jersey while they were 50% off this weekend; road white. The Blueline didn't have any left with names and numbers, so I got to choose from the entire team. Decided against Panarin, since it made no sense on a Reebok sweater that he will have never worn. To avoid duplicating my home jersey, I decided against Atkinson. I also avoided players with one full season; Anderson, Sedlak, Werenski. In the end, I went with Seth Jones, who isn't a free agent until 2022-23, so I should be pretty safe, and seems to fit your rules here. ;) )

Sammy said...

1) Fuck that asshole commenter.
2) While in general agreement about your "Don't Buys", I disagree specifically about Kam. Even if he bails for a hated rival, the majority of his career will be as a 'Hawk, and an important one at that.
3) I saw Sarah Colonna and she was pretty funny. And her beau was in-tow for an autograph session. :)

Joy Kruczynski said...

It warms my heart to hear all of your encouragement and support. I love y'all :)