October 29, 2018

Seahawks 28, Lions 14

One of the weirdest/most satisfying things about being a parent is being on the other side of something awesome that happened in your own childhood. I've written in this space before about the experience I had at my first Seahawks game back in 1983, when I was eight years old. I started watching the Hawks every week after the stirring near-comeback led by Dave Krieg against the Steelers at midseason, and the regular-season finale against the Patriots was my first trip to the Kingdome. The short version? Steve Largent scored, we won and made the playoffs for the first time ever, the team came out for a postgame victory lap, it was ((LOUD)) and I was enraptured forever. When I was little kid, then a tween, then a teenager, I got to experience so many indelible moments at Seahawks games.

I got to see Largent make one of the greatest catches I've ever seen against the Bears in '84. In '86, we went to the game on a bus from the Tri-Cities, and I wowed/annoyed all the adults with my voluminous knowledge of the NFL. Then, I got to watch us shut out Pittsburgh. I was in the house when Largent DESTROYED Mike Harden, and I was there for a MNF win over the Raiders in '88. These are some of the happiest memories of my life, and easily my favorite memories of spending time with my father.

When I had kids of my own, I hoped that they would also become 12s, but I certainly didn't expect it. Three years ago, I took my son to his first Seahawks game. The ending sucked (blowing a 17-point lead to the Bengals and losing in OT), but it was still a fun experience overall for my son, who was 9 at the time. He stayed interested in football and in the Seahawks, so a few months ago I asked him if he wanted to go to the game in Detroit. He said "yeeee" and gave me an exaggerated thumbs up. Did I mention that he already has a mustache and is taller than me? Life goes by pretty fast, as Ferris once said, so I was excited to stop and look at a Seahawks game with my kid.

This time around, he was much more engaged, and much more eager to ask questions and get up close to the field and the players. Since he's a good little contrarian, he told me that my favorite player (Russ) was "overrated." I rolled my eyes at that one. After hanging around near the tunnel and then behind the Seattle sideline before the game, we went up to our seats in the 300 level. This was our point of view:

We were pretty completely surrounded by Lions fans, but there was still a healthy smattering of 12s nearby. I explained the rules of rooting for the Seahawks on the road to my son again:

1. We are here to cheer for our team
2. We're not here to boo the home team
3. Don't be a jerk

Everywhere but Cleveland, these rules have served me well, and the Detroit fans yesterday were thankfully quite tame. Our guys murdersmacking the Lions around for most of the afternoon might have had something to do with that...

My kid asked me a ton of questions, and I explained what play-action passes were, and what various penalties were. He asked me why we didn't throw more passes, and I told him all about the Seahawks' style of play under Pete Carroll - Pound them with running plays, then go deeeeep, man. After RW3's third TD pass, he admitted that Wilson wasn't actually overrated. He got more and more vocal as the game went on, and LOST HIS MIND when Justin Coleman essentially sealed the win with that late pick at our own 1-yard-line. It's also worth noting that he thought Michael Dickson's "Aussie Sweep" was absolutely hilarious once I explained how rare that sort of play was, and how the punter probably just decided to run with it (and that's what really happened!).

After the Aussie Sweep, we went down to the area behind the tunnel to try to get his Seahawks hat autographed after the game. By that time, the bulk of the Lions fans had left, so it was mostly just exuberant overjoyed 12s remaining inside Ford Field. A "SEA!" "HAWKS!" chant broke out, and he joined in with a level of emotion I rarely see from him. He asked me if it was normal for this to happen at a game, and I told him that it really wasn't - Except if the Seahawks were the road team. I could see him realizing that being a 12 was special and exciting and fun, and that being a 12 meant being connected to this bigger thing than himself. He didn't get his hat signed, but by the time we were walking to my car, he was asking when we could go to another game. I told him we could go to the games in Cleveland and/or Pittsburgh in 2019, and he was like "that would be awesome, but I want to go to a game in Seattle. That's gotta be CRAZY."

That was when I was convinced that I'd passed on the Twelving genes to my kid, who then told me he wants an "old school" 12 jersey for Christmas. The capper was when we were at dinner later that evening, and out of the blue he said "This was a really great day." Coming from a kid who likes to pretend that he's too cool for outward emotions, that qualified as effusiveness. And he was right. It WAS a really great day. It was a day that reminded me why this team is one of the most important things in my life, and one of the most central parts of my identity. It's still that central thread which runs down the center of the tapestry of my life, and at least for a while, I get to share that with my children. It might not last forever - and if it doesn't that's ok, I want them to freely choose what they are passionate about - But I'm sure savoring this time.

I hope y'all are, too. Because after an offseason of bleak attrition, and a shaky start to the regular season, there were a lot of folks out there predicting our team to tumble into the Top Pick Abyss. But like Stacker Pentacost, it sure looks like this franchise found some ways to cancel (or at least postpone) the apocalypse. Six weeks ago, this season had a whiff of 1992. Today? It smells more like 2012. Running the ball 40+ times a week. Pummeling the enemy, breaking their will. Russ being efficient as FUCK and accurate as an atomic clock, even when firing it deep. The defense might give up yards, but they've reacquired the invaluable knack to come up with dramatic stops and impeccably-timed takeaways. They also seem to be having fun - Which I know is way easier when you're winning - But these guys seem to have gelled as a group, and their forward momentum is building every week.

It really feels like it's not just a playoff spot that's in this team's future: It might be something more than that. Maybe not a championship, but something special. Even seasons without World Championships have had unforgettable moments: The Romo game, The Beastquake, The Freezer Bowl in Minneapolis, etc. When that special thing happens, whatever it may end up being, I'll experience it alongside my little 12, and the circle will be complete.

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August 25, 2018

Your 2018 Seattle Seahawks Jersey Buying Guide

This all has become terribly fraught, hasn't it?

I was really shaken earlier this week when I saw a post by a friend of mine - A trans woman, and another 12 - who is now actively rooting against the Seahawks because Pete Carroll invited noted transphobe and misogynist Jordan Peterson to come talk to the team (if you are new to all this, please check out Natalie Wynn's excellent video on Peterson and come back). My personal opinion? PC probably read Peterson's best-selling self-help book, ate that shit up, and invited him to come talk to the team based on that. I doubt he vetted Peterson fully, and I doubt that he's on board for Peterson's larger (and scarier) anti-woman and anti-trans crusades.

That said? I can't blame my friend for turning on the team, and I can intellectually recognize that I'm rationalizing things so I can continue enjoying this thing that I've been passionate about and connected to for the vast majority of my life. It sucks that PC invited that hateful man to address the team. It sucks that we continue to employ Frank Clark. It sucks that this brutal game debilitates many of those who play it for life. It sucks that the majority of owners are closer to Donald Trump politically than the vast majority of their players. It sucks that these owners won't employ Colin Kaepernick or Eric Reed, and that they won't take a stronger stand for the free speech rights of their employees. So if any one of those things is too much to stomach, or some combination of those things are sufficiently off-putting, I don't begrudge anyone for switching off.

Everything is awful, on fire, and shrieking terribly at full ear-piercing volume. But I'm still here. Whatever invisible line exists for me hasn't been crossed, and I still think my life is happier, better, and fuller with the Seahawks as a part of it. With all that said, let's talk about this upcoming season, and the all-important decision: What jersey should I buy?

This offseason has brought on the most roster and staff turnover the franchise has seen since Pete Carroll rolled into town eight years ago. If you bought a Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Jimmy Graham, Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Jon Ryan, or Paul Richardson jersey last year, you probably feel pretty burned right about now. As I do every summer, I'll try to save y'all from such a lamentable fate this time around.

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 significantly cheaper.

For the purposes of this guide, I'm setting aside throwbacks (though I'm hanging onto my gunmetal blue Matthew 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 them, 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).

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 awesome, at least somewhat unique, and not likely to burn you a year from now? Let's break it down.

Let's start with the solid no's.


Earl Thomas: This doesn't break my heart. It puts it right in the fuckin' blender, and mashes the puree button. ETIII is bound someday for the Ring of Honor, Canton, and his number hanging from the rafters of Seahawks Stadium. He's a generational talent, and you can make a case that no single player was more instrumental to the team's 2012-2016 run than Thomas. But he may have played his final down with the Hawks. Even if he caves and comes back to the team this season, it will likely be without a long-term extension, and for a final handful of games in Seattle before bolting for Dallas.

If you have a Thomas jersey, hold onto it for the long term. But if you are looking for a jersey to wear this season, #29 is an abysmal option.

Frank Clark: Yeah, still a hard pass here. I'm a hypocrite, but there are limits to that hypocrisy. Also, he's a free agent after this season.

Other Notable Players Who Are Free Agents (UFA) After the 2018 Season: K.J. Wright, Byron Maxwell, Dion Jordan, Tom Johnson, Sebastian Janikowski, Mike Davis, Brandon Marshall, Tyler Lockett.

Notable Restricted Free Agents After the 2018 Season: J.D. McKissic, Quinton Jefferson, George Fant.


Rookies: I'm as excited as the next 12 about  Rasheem Green, Michael Dickson, Shaquem Griffin, Rashaad Penny, and the rest of our shiny new players - But buying a rookie's jersey is almost as risky as buying the jersey of someone about to hit free agency.

Notable New Free Agents: Ed Dickson, Barkevious Mingo, Jaron Brown, Dontae Johnson


6. Duane Brown
If you want to go outside the box and get an offensive lineman's jersey, Brown is a great choice. He's under contract through 2021, and has a proven track record as an elite left tackle. The main concerns with him are his age (33) and emerging injury issues.

5. Chris Carson
His promising rookie season was cut short by injury, but so far in this preseason he's run with authority and effectiveness. Carson should be Seattle's primary ball-carrier this season, but his health and ball security issues are lingering concerns.

4. Shaquill Griffin 
What a great time to hop onto the Quill Train. Going into his second season, he's already got a starting cornerback spot locked down. As a rookie, he vastly exceeded expectations and is on course to be the cornerstone of a revamped Seahawks secondary.

3. Doug Baldwin
The only reason Angry Doug isn't higher on this list is the injury he's currently dealing with. The guy is an absolute weapon, and once he's back on the field, he'll get an immense amount of attention as Russell Wilson's favorite target. He's also unlikely to embarass the franchise off the field, and he's under contract through 2020.

2. Bobby Wagner
Two-time All-Pro. Four-time Pro Bowler. Only 28 years old, and under contract until 2020. Handsome. Total Bad Ass. Can't go wrong with Bwagz.

1. Russell Wilson
I've said that RW3 has been an uninspired choice in the past, but his level of play has been so consistently high, and he's become such an indispensable asset, that I believe he's the best possible choice (unless you already have a #3 jersey, of course). We're lucky to have a true franchise quarterback hitting the prime years of his career. We're even luckier that he, by all accounts, appears to also be a decent human being. It's a great moment to buy a jersey you'll likely get to wear proudly for the next 5-10 years.

Would You Like To Know More?

July 1, 2018


I was at an event for work the other night, and it turned out that one of my colleagues brought her husband, and he was a fellow 12. We spent a good half-hour talking about the Hawks, and it was great - But I noticed something else: I didn't feel like I could say that I was a Seahawks blogger anymore. That made me feel sad and incomplete, but it also motivated me to sit down and write again. I'm ridiculously busy these days, but who isn't? I need to remember that writing about the Seahawks is essentially self-care for me. It makes me feel better to blog about the team, and to know that there is a group of 12s out there who want to engage with what I write. So here I am, back at a keyboard, trying to get into the habit of blogging about our favorite team again.

It's been a tumultuous, painful offseason, but I want to run it back to the end of the 2017 season before getting to that.

I was at that waking nightmare against the Rams in December, and it was the worst I've ever felt after attending a Seahawks game. I say that as someone who went to Steve Largent's final game in 1989 and cried like I did when E.T. was all ashy and dying, harassed by raccoons. It was a sobering beatdown, but we still had a chance to make the playoffs at that point. I went home to the Tri-Cities, looking forward to watching the Cowboys game with my family on Christmas Eve.

The game was a big highlight of my trip home, and it felt great to watch a Seahawks win with my family like I had done for the past three decades. There was an odd undercurrent to everything, though. A number of more distant family members and acquaintances of my parents refused to come over watch the Seahawks in support of Donald Trump's brazen attacks on the free speech rights of NFL players. I was stunned, flabbergasted at the ease with which some people could abandon the team. If I was going to stop watching the Seahawks because I didn't like the politics of the players or coaches, or I found their behavior abhorrent, there would have been dozens of opportunities for me to do so over the years. I mean, back in the 00s my favorite player was Matt Hasselbeck, who openly campaigned and fund-raised for George W. Bush. If my criteria for supporting the Seahawks was entirely dependent on my TOTAL ALIGNMENT WITH AND APPROVAL OF all the players on all the coaches, I should boycott the team because they employ Frank Clark. I should abandon the franchise because Pete Carroll consorted with noted radical misogynist and transphobe Jordan Peterson. I'm... not going to do any of that.

Maybe my Hillary-Clinton-voting ass is just accustomed to making compromises, because I know getting half a loaf is OK since hey, that way you can still make sandwiches? But I think it's deeper than that, because the social pressure to abandon the NFL and the Seahawks isn't just coming from the right.

I run in pretty deeply progressive/queer/feminist circles, and as you can imagine, there's not a ton of people in my networks that watch the NFL, or even understand how I can watch it. I've heard the critiques, and if Colin Kaepernick getting blackballed, or the concussion crisis, or the league's tepid response to domestic violence has killed your desire to watch the game, I respect that.

(Sidebar: I do find it laughable when people who NEVER watched the NFL make a BIIIIG performative show of "boycotting" the NFL. Bruh, if you use a product or service and then STOP using it to make a political point, that's a boycott. It would be bizarre if I announced that I was boycotting NASCAR, since I've never watched it anyway. You can just not like or not watch something without theatrically announcing it to the world, you know?)

It IS alienating, though. For most of my life watching the Seahawks has been an oasis where I could connect with my family, friends, and roots in Washington State, where I could let loose and just express the full range and intensity of my emotions, and where I could, in the most positive sense of concept, feel something close to normal. It doesn't feel quite that way anymore. Now it's contentious and contested, rather than being something a broad swath of American society can enjoy together.

That said, this is still so important to me. In May I came home for alumni weekend at Western, and to see friends and family in Seattle. It was a transcendent experience that was so energizing that it made me think about moving to Bellingham in a more serious manner than I have for at least 15 years. Even though it is the offseason, the visit also reminded me how important, how crucial, being a 12 is to my identity. The Seahawks have been one of the only constants in my life over the decades, and one of the things that make me feel like my heart is still wirelessly connected to the state I grew up in. I need this team, and I need to feel connected to my fellow 12s. I felt that when I was blogging regularly, and that's a big reason I'm going to try to write here more regularly from now on.

Obviously, there is plenty to write about concerning the team right now. My annual jersey-buying guide will be coming in July, and I'll also do a (grossly belated) recap of the 2017 season soon. On some level, this is therapeutic for me - So I'll try to talk to y'all more often this season.

Anyway, Go Hawks!

December 4, 2017

Seahawks 24, Eagles 10

"I've got some thoughts I cling to/What makes you bitter makes you old..." -Chastity Belt, 5am

While I was preparing to write this post, I decided to look up how many players in the NFL are older than I am. There were just two: Adam Vinatieri and Phil Dawson. I had two reactions to this. First, I should have trained my beefy-ass legs to kick footballs straight and far a long time ago. I actually remember spending exactly one afternoon when I was like 14 trying to train myself to be a kicker. I swung and missed more than once. I was by myself. The ball was on a tee. One time I slipped and fell right on my ass. That brought my placekicking career to a merciful end. 

My other reaction? Relief. Relief that I hadn't yet passed into the realm of being (theoretically) too old to play in the NFL. Sure, I'm also a woman, and I have no athletic talent whatsoever, and I'm pretty sure if I ever played an NFL snap I'd not only die - I'd explode like one of the Garblovians from Rick and Morty on first contact from an opposing player. But, hey! I could still play in the NFL! 

Being a fan is such a bizarre experience across one's life cycle. First, all the players are these impossibly talented demi-god figures that you look up to as a kid. Then you get older and the players are your contemporaries, and you realize they just happen to have the athletic skill and elite work ethic that one needs to get paid enormous amounts of money to play a breathtakingly dangerous sport. Finally, the players are a generation (or generations) behind you. The gulf between you and them widens, both athletically and culturally - And you're faced with a choice, consciously or not, about how you'll deal with this reality. You can focus on how things aren't like the "Good Old Days," and become embittered and detached from this thing that you've loved. Alternatively, you can strain to create continuity between today and yesterday, even when it might not actually be there (I do this A LOT). Somewhere in the middle is feeling simple appreciation for the high points, because they are fleeting and precious. 

As you get older, you also realize that this game is HARD. It's hard and it's brutal and it's cruel. When you're a kid, the losses hurt, but they don't seem permanent. As you become more aware of your own mortality, and as the seasons feel like they are flying by at an ever-quicker pace, you become cognizant of how fragile it all is. The clock ticks louder and louder, and the losses land harder and harder. 

That brings us around to the 2017 Seahawks, whose fate has become all-too-tied to my own, at least in my own brainpan (as Sterling Archer once said: Hooray for metaphors!). I'm 42 now, and reality is rudely starting to assert itself by jabbing me with the pointy stick of "YOU ARE GETTING OLDER." Unfortunately, aging gracefully isn't really part of my skill set (doing ANYTHING gracefully isn't in my proverbial toolbox), so I'm marinating in something close to panic. Bonus factor? I transitioned less than five years ago, so I'm also trying to make up for wasting what.. like 20 years or so... pretending to be a dude. 

As usual, my most highly attuned talent is taking things people are saying about the Seahawks personally. When the Hawks fell to 6-4 and it became clear that Kam and Sherm were out for the season, the narrative became all about windows slamming shut and obits for the Legion of Boom and the PCJS Hawks. They had peaked. The best days were in the past. The decline and the fall? Eminent. The problem with making a sports team central to your identity is that shit which seems to apply to your own life starts to resonate a little too much. 

But.. maybe not yet? Maybe this team is actually sturdier than many assume? In the three games without Kam and Sherm, the defense hasn't imploded. In fact, they're only allowing 19 points per game, and they just held the NFL's best offense to ten little points. The younger guys and the newer guys and the older vets called back into service seem to be coalescing into something like the L.O.B. lite - Behind obvious Defensive Player of the Year Bobby Wagner and Earl "Gold Jacket on Layaway" Thomas, the defense might just be able to throw up enough obstacles for the enemy to give the NFL MVP the chance to hoist another Lombardi Trophy. 

That's right. The guy that the bobbleheads used to say was a game manager. The guy who was only good because he was supported by a dominant ground attack and a suffocating defense. The guy who was too short, too corny, too controlled, too corporate. The guy certain bloggers thought should sit behind Matt Flynn. He's leveled up. He's Neo. He's John Wick. He's an unholy CRISPR concoction of Mike Vick and Drew Brees. Russell Carrington Wilson is The Indispensable Man. The Infernal Machine. The Seattle Sorcerer. The Emerald Enchanter. The God Damn One-Man Slaughterhouse. The Most Valuable Player. 

On the biggest regular-season stage, Wilson utterly outclassed presumptive MVP Carson Wentz. Three more touchdowns (meaning that he's accounted for more touchdowns than any other player in the sport this season) and a couple more moments of signature WolfBadger magic: The perfect dime to Angry Doug under intense pressure from an all-out Eagles blitz to set up Seattle's second touchdown, and his bugfuck insane pitch to Mike Davis in the MIDDLE OF THE DAMN FIELD to keep the Hawks' game-clinching drive alive. Yes, we know it wasn't a lateral. We don't care. No one gave a shit about Paul Richardson almost getting his damn skull ripped off by the face mask, so let's call it even. 

As usual, it looks like the Seahawks are peaking at the right time. December means three things: A new Star Wars movie, Christmas, and the Seahawks unleashing hell upon the rest of the National Football League. If the Seahawks can keep this going, we will know that they are battle-tested for the postseason. Trips to Jacksonville and Dallas. The rematch with Los Angeles. Even if they have to go on the road in the playoffs, this is a team that is better equipped than ever to win away from Seahawks Stadium.

In two weeks, I'll be there with my partner and my brother screaming my blue head off for three hours as we battle the Rams. Just like I have for over thirty years, just like I will as long I have any decibels left to push out of my screamhole. These Seahawks have a lot of wondrous things left to do this season and beyond. Savor every damn second of this, 12 - And know that while the clock might be ticking, time hasn't run out on us just yet. 

Would You Like To Know More? 

September 6, 2017

DKSB's Perfectly Accurate (LIES!) and Unbiased (LIES!) 2017 NFL Predictions

"You’ve got numbers on your phone of the dead that you can’t delete
And you got life-affirming moments in your past that you can't repeat"
-"Emotional Haircut" by LCD Soundsystem

Yesterday I read that only 13 members of the XLVIII-winning 2013 Seahawks are still on the team. Thirteen? That's all? Our Championship Season couldn't have been that long ago, right?

I remember where I was in my life at that moment, having just started living authentically as a woman just weeks before the Super Bowl. It felt like thirty years of twelving had lead up to that moment, and I (knowingly, completely irrationally) had this overwhelming feeling that they had waited for me to be ready - That the forces of the football universe didn't want me to have to celebrate perhaps the best day of my life as a sad, beardy egg. The truth? The realistic chance we had of winning XLVIII motivated me to finally come completely out as a trans woman. I had been on hormones for a year and a half, but was still hesitant to take that final leap. I had reached the limits of what baggy clothing could hide, but it was the Seahawks who finally shoved my increasingly voluptuous ass out of the nest. 

I was there when Sherm tipped it to Malcolm Smith, and the Super Bowl itself was such an orbital nuking that it felt more like Team USA beating Finland for the gold that the Miracle on Ice. The coronation was cathartic, though - For me the tears only started to fall once I saw "Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks" scrawled across the bottom of the TV. This was it. This was everything I had waited for my whole life.

That's how a lot of things felt for me in early 2014, and if they made a rousing biopic of my life, that's probably where you cut to the closing credits under an upbeat, anthemic song by some 90s alternative rock legends (Maybe this one?). 

That's not how real life works, though. As Don Draper once mused, "the universe is indifferent." The euphoria of coming out wore off, and while I was immeasurably happier, facing stupid reality as woman still meant... facing stupid reality. Transitioning solved one very big problem, but it didn't solve all my problems. I still had to worry about making rent, about staying tenuously employed, about my remaining mental health issues, about managing multiple fraught and awkward relationships, and about all the annoying bullshit that piles up and up until you scarcely believe you could ever get over or around it. 

The Seahawks? Well, if I take estrogen and spironolactone every day to help me be myself, I take Vitamin 12 once a week for 4-5 months every year to do the exact same thing. Nothing else allows me to express the full range of my emotions in anything close to a socially acceptable context. Nothing else is as effective at making me feel connected to my family and friends back home, even though I'm 2300 miles away. Nothing else gives me a soothing feeling of continuity and connection reaching back to when I was an eight-year-old kid screaming bloody murder at enemy players hundreds of feet away who couldn't possibly hear me. That's why I had a weird feeling of relief that mingled with my pain and sadness at the end of XLIX - I was afraid that after winning a Super Bowl, the Seahawks wouldn't matter as much. I was afraid that I had changed. I hadn't. Because that loss still STUNG. The Seahawks still MATTERED. 

Thankfully, even as XLVIII and the team that won it all fades into a fog of nostalgia, this team that we love still matters. Not only are they still an immensely talented group, but they demand your attention because on and off the field they are never boring. For better or worse, they let you know exactly what is on their minds

It's dizzyingly exciting to imagine Donald Trump watching Super Bowl LII and screaming obscenities at the screen because the Seahawks have congregated at midfield to pass around the Vince Lombardi Trophy. You KNOW he hates our guys; Our stalwart heroes who not only refuse to lose, but also refuse to "stick to sports." Just take a second and close your eyes. Imagine his sputtering tantrum when Kam Chancellor stuffs Marshawn Lynch at the goal line on the final down of the Super Bowl. Imagine how red and bloated his loathsome face will be. It will be glorious. 

Russ is healthy. Earl is healthy. So is Tyler Lockett. The offense has more firepower than John Wick. The defense just added Sheldon Richardson to what was already going to be the most dominant unit in the league. They're hungry. They're pissed. They're primed. They're going to win the Super Bowl again. 

Life goes on, but it can still be awesome. My life can be a grind sometimes, and I have bad days, but I'm happy. You can't repeat those life-affirming moments, but you sure as shit can make new ones. Anyway, here's my 2017 NFL Predictions... 

Now, the usual preamble: 

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. In particular, I'm talking about when some lazy sportswriter predicts the records for all 32 teams and comes up with an impossible aggregate record. 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.  

Regular Season Awards: 
League MVP: Derek Carr, Oakland 
Offensive Player of the Year: David Johnson, Arizona 
Defensive Player of the Year: Joey Bosa, Los Angeles Chargers 
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Christian McCaffrey, Carolina 
Defensive Rookie of the Year: T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh
Comeback Player of the Year: Earl Thomas, Seattle 
Coach of the Year: Pete Carroll, Seattle 

NFC West
Seattle 13-3 (#1 NFC Seed) 
Arizona 10-6 (#5) 
Los Angeles 6-10
Santa Clara 3-13

NFC North 
Green Bay 11-5 (#4) 
Detroit 9-7 (#6)
Minnesota 8-8 
Chicago 4-12 

NFC East 
New York 12-4 (#3) 
Dallas 8-8 
Philadelphia 8-8 
DC 5-11

NFC South 
Atlanta 13-3 (#2) 
New Orleans 8-8 
Tampa Bay 7-9 
Carolina 7-9 

Wild Card Round: New York 26, Detroit 17; Green Bay 32, Arizona 20 
Divisional Round: Seattle 24, Green Bay 23; New York 36, Atlanta 33
NFC Championship Game: Seattle 27, New York 19

AFC West 
Oakland 12-4 (#2) 
Kansas City 10-6 (#5) 
Denver 6-10 
Los Angeles 5-11 

AFC North 
Pittsburgh 13-3 (#1) 
Baltimore 9-7 
Cincinnati 9-7 
Cleveland 5-11 

AFC East 
New England 12-4 (#3) 
Miami 10-6 (#6) 
Buffalo 7-9 
New York 0-16 

AFC South 
Houston 10-6 (#4) 
Tennessee 7-9 
Jacksonville 6-10 
Indianapolis 4-12 

Wild Card Round: Kansas City 18, Houston 14; New England 30, Miami 16 
Divisional Round: Pittsburgh 37, Houston 10; Oakland 27, New England 26 
AFC Championship Game: Oakland 32, Pittsburgh 29 (OT) 

Seattle 23, Oakland 19 
MVP: Kam Chancellor 

Here's how the season will shake out for the Seahawks: 

-The three losses? At New York, at Arizona, and at Dallas. 

-Seattle opens the season with a mild upset over the Packers at Lambeau Field. Former Packer Eddie Lacy scores a pair of TDs and Earl Thomas picks off Rodgers late to secure a 26-20 Seahawks win. 

-The season's requisite insane comeback win happens at Tennessee in week 3. The young Titans run out to a 21-3 3rd-quarter lead, but a Tyler Lockett punt return TD and Cliff Avril strip/sack/scoop/score pulls the Hawks to within 7 late. Down 24-17, Russell Wilson finds Jimmy Graham for the tying score on the final snap of regulation. On the opening drive of overtime, Thomas Rawls gets loose and sprints 64 yards for the winning touchdown. 

-Seattle flattens Indianapolis in week 4, delivering a 42-0 walloping that gets Chuck Pagano fired the next day. 

-Against DC at home, Russell Wilson fires four touchdown passes, including three to Doug Baldwin, in a 38-17 win that runs Seattle's record to 6-1. 

-In the game that will eventually decide home field advantage in the NFC playoffs, the Seahawks top the Falcons 27-26. Michael Bennett's pair of sacks and forced fumble leads the defense, and Richard Sherman's tackle of Julio Jones just short of a first down late in the game gives the offense one last chance. Wilson drives the Hawks into field goal range, and Blair Walsh nails the 47-yard game winner as time expires. 

-On the season's final day, the Seahawks need to beat Arizona to secure the #1 seed. Paul Richardson scores twice, and a Bobby Wagner pick-6 in the 4th quarter rings in the new year with a 27-16 Seattle triumph. 

-In the divisional playoff, the revenge-hangry Packers leave Seattle unsatisfied. Trailing 23-16 with only four minutes left to play, the Hawks have no choice but to punt on 4th and long. Jon Ryan pins the Pack inside their own 5-yard line. K.J. Wright ropes in Rodgers in the end zone for a safety with three minutes left. Then Russell Wilson whips Seattle downfield on a frenzied 75-yard drive that includes not one but two 4th down conversions. With only 12 seconds left to play, Wilson takes it in himself from 15 yards out, once again melting the hopes of Cheeseheads worldwide. 

-In the NFC Championship Game, Seattle runs out to a 27-3 lead before a couple of late NYG TDs + 2-point conversions pull the Giants within one score. Twelves are only able to exhale when Sheldon Richardson dives on an Eli Manning fumble forced by Frank Clark in the waning moments. 

-Super Bowl LII. I'm going to give y'all what you want. 

4 seconds left. Seahawks up 4. Raiders' ball at the Seattle 1. 

Jack Del Rio thinks his guys can out-muscle ours. The call is made: Hand it to Marshawn. 

The biggest audience in television history sees Carr hand it to Shawn. It looks like he has a sliver of daylight. That daylight is blotted out by an eclipse named Kam Chancellor. Kam gives Shawn the Bam Bam treatment, stuffing the hole and allowing Wagner and Thomas the chance to bring Beast down, six inches from the goal line. 

Shoulda called a pass... Amiright? Kam Chancellor wins a richly deserved Super Bowl MVP award, and the historical legacy of the Legion of Boom, of Russell Wilson, and of the PCJS Seahawks is secured. 

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Postscript: They always say "Show your work!" Here you go: