July 30, 2019
Happy Training Camp, my 12s! It's been an anxiety-spiking off-season for all of us with the expected retirement of Kam Chancellor, the unexpected retirement of Doug Baldwin, the messy departure of Earl Thomas, and the big pre-draft trade of Frank Clark. Like clockwork, many social media bobbleheads are confidently predicting the Kingdome-level implosion of this team in 2019. They were wrong in 2018, as usual, because.. uhh... Pete and John.. uhh... Find a way.
(apologies for trying to drop an Ian Malcolm reference without even busting out a proper meme...)
It's worth noting that the organization has a stable front office with a harmonious GM-Coach relationship, that this is a team coming off a 10-win season, that the aforementioned GM successfully stockpiled draft capital and locked up our offensive and defensive superstars to long-term deals, and that the team's cap situation is solid and the roster is getting younger rather than older. So, I feel pretty good going into the 2019 campaign.
But, what if you're thinking about blowing some dough on a new Seahawks jersey? That's not a decision to be made lightly. You don't want to end up like me in 2007, the crest-fallen owner of a kicker's jersey who bolted via free agency less than a year after you bought the threads (and he turned out to be a total shitbasket to boot). I'm here to help, so let's get into it.
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, hand-wash them or wash them on the delicate cycle in cold water by themselves. Quality-wise, 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 red & swelling Sun swallows the incinerated Earth - Sidebar on throwbacks that are sold at NFL Shop: It's nice that there are more options right now than I've seen in years past. I saw Largent, Jones, Easley, Kennedy, Alexander, and Zorn. Those are all great choices! Also, I think it's neat that you can now get a Ricky Watters or a Warren Moon jersey. I had both of those back in the 90s and I should have held onto them. But - Bosworth? And you can get a Moon jersey - Who only played in 25 games as a Seahawk - but you can't get a Dave Krieg? Boooo. Weeeak!).
I'm also not going to address 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 can be under PCJS's rule, I can't blame a fan for playing it safe with such a substantial investment).
I have a weird thing about not wanting to wear 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 'ol 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 start with the solid no's.
Last year, I advised y'all against getting an ETIII or a Frank Clark jersey. Sadly in Earl's case, and GLADLY in Clark's case, I was proven right. So who should y'all stay away from this season?
Jarran Reed: Suspended for six games to start the season, due to hit free agency in 2020, and... nah, I'm not gonna buy a jersey of a guy who's been accused of violence against women.
Mychal Kendricks: Solid player, and I'm glad it looks like he'll be available for all of the 2019 season. But he's a free agent in 2020 who might still be heading to prison for insider trading. Nope.
Ezekiel Ansah: A new free agent on a 1-year deal who is coming off a significant injury? That's like a perfect storm of "don't buy."
Other Notable Players Who Are Unrestricted Free Agents (UFA) After the 2019 Season: George Fant, Mike Iupati, Jaron Brown, Nick Vannett, J.D. McKissic.
Notable Restricted Free Agents After the 2019 Season: David Moore
Coming Back From A Major Injury: Will Dissly
Rookies: JS worked his Dwight-Schrute at-the-Dunder-Mifflin-garage-sale magic to get us 11 picks in the 2019 draft. Wow! I still wouldn't run out and get any of these kids' jerseys just yet, even though I'm pretty psyched to see what D.K. Metcalf can do.
Other Notable New Free Agents: Jason Myers, Mike Iupati, Geno Smith
THE 10 BEST OPTIONS
10. Shaquill Griffin
Quill experienced a horrific sophomore slump in 2018 but I fully expect him to bounce back to his rookie-year form in year 3 with the Seahawks. His rookie deal runs through the 2020 season. Sidebar: I haven't bought that sweet-looking Griffin Brothers Pop Figure set yet because I'm not 100% convinced that Quem makes the roster this fall. But once he survives? I'm probably plopping down the $ to get that.
9. K.J. Wright
Wright is one of only three players remaining on the roster from the XLVIII-winning team (along with Bobby Wagner and Russell Wilson). Injuries limited him to five games last season, but he was effective enough to convince PCJS to sign him to a new 2-year extension that will keep him in Seattle through the 2020 season.
8. Michael Dickson
Yeah, he's a punter. But he's a sexxxxxxy punter. Pro Bowl and All-Pro his rookie season and already one of the best (if not the very best) punter in the NFL. It certainly doesn't hurt in my book that he's cute and Australian, either. He's also under team control contract-wise through the 2021 season.
7. Poona Ford
The UDFA Longhorn over-delivered in his rookie season, ultimately ending up as the 10th best interior defensive tackle in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus. With multiple pieces around him being replaced for one reason or another, he'll be expected to repeat that surprising performance in 2019. His rookie deal keeps him in Seattle through the 2020 season.
6. Duane Brown
The Hawks have swiftly improved their offensive line play, and Brown is one of the biggest reasons why. After being acquired from Houston, he's extended his stellar run as one of the best left tackles in the game. If you want to stand out from the crowd and get an offensive lineman's jersey, #76 is a great choice. He's under contract through 2021, but the main concerns with him are his age (34) and past injury issues.
5. Bradley McDougald
McDougald is coming off an outstanding 2018 campaign where he had a knack for making big plays in crucial spots and was, according to Pro Football Focus, the 4th best safety in coverage last season across the league. He's also under contract through the 2020 season, so if you want his jersey there's no good reason to wait.
4. Chris Carson
Last season Carson bounced back from a catastrophic 2017 injury to become the primary weapon in Seattle's ground attack. He became the Seahawks' first 1000-yard rusher since 2014 and provided a number of eye-popping highlights, punctuated by his full flip in Charlotte against the Panthers. Injuries are a bit of a lingering concern, and his touches may decline if the Hawks embrace a running-back-by-committee approach.
3. Tyler Lockett
Lock singed a contract that will keep him in Seattle through 2021, and is coming off a season where he saw career highs in receptions, yards, and touchdowns. With Angry Doug's retirement it's safe to say that he'll be Wilson's number one target in 2019. Given that last year RW3 had a perfect passer rating when targeting Lockett, and also given that Lock leads all receivers since 2009 on this metric, today's a good day to snap up a #16 jersey.
2. Russell Wilson
I remember going to bed that one night this spring worried that I would wake up to news that our franchise quarterback had been traded. That was never likely - Russ will be a career Seahawk unless some bizarre circumstance intervenes - but with PCJS, you can never rule out the bold, unpopular, maybe even perplexing move. What did I wake up to in the middle of the night? An uncomfortably intimate Instagram post from the WolfBadger, naked in bed with his wife, telling us a deal got done. As the kids said for a minute there - Weird flex, but ok. The important thing is that our most indispensable player is locked down through the 2023 season.
RW3 is such a joy to watch. I was at the Kansas City game last December, and the sheer spectacle of him out-dueling Patrick Mahomes was close to overwhelming. No one throws a better deep ball than Russ, and there's no one that I'd rather have with the ball in his hands when needing a score to win the game. His game is bewitching, and I have no doubt that his most magical and death-defying feats are yet to come.
1. Bobby Wagner
Four appearances on the All-Pro first team. Five-time Pro Bowler. Only 29 years old, and under contract until 2022. Devilishly handsome. Total Bad Ass. Bobby edges out Russ mainly due to relative novelty/the fact that his jersey will be the next one I buy. One thing that has stung over the last year and change is seeing future Ring-of-Honor inductees on that dominant defense leave the team - And in the cases of ETIII and Sherm, the divorces were very public and painfully bitter. Seeing Bwagz commit to staying in Seattle, and then also muse about wanting to be a career Hawk with multiple rings and a "jersey in the rafters?" That's exactly what us 12s want to hear from the best linebacker in the game.
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December 26, 2018
I've been thinking a lot about what turned this season around and why. Even an optimist like myself thought that this season would probably look a lot like 2002 or 2011 - A season where we'd build the foundation for later success, but end up with 7 or 8 wins. I didn't buy into the Doomsday-End-of-All-Things apocalyptic narrative that was floating around in the offseason and into September, but I didn't expect an immediate return to the playoffs, either.
So what was it? Obviously it's reductive to narrow it down to just one thing, but one common narrative is that after starting 0-2, Pete Carroll demanded that Schottenheimer's offense focus on running the ball. And running the ball. And also, in addition, running the ball. That's certainly not WRONG, but I don't think that was the biggest factor in the team's turnaround, either.
The turning point of this season was Earl Thomas III getting injured in Glendale in week 4.
I'm not trying to shit on ETIII here. His Seattle legacy is untouchable. The second he retires, he'll merge directly onto the Ring-of-Honor-Number-Retired-Bust-in-Canton Highway. Also, he absolutely deserves to get PAID. I can see why he was pissed at the Hawks' organization. He had a legit beef.
However... I can also see why the Seahawks didn't jump at the chance to bury Earl in Walter White Storage Space-sized piles of money. The injuries were starting to accumulate. The locker room vibe was changing into something bitter and curdled. But, Thomas is still one of the best defensive players in the league, so why trade him away for less than what he was truly worth?
Y'all know what happened in Glendale back in September: Earl broke his leg, and gave the Seattle sideline the finger as he was getting carted off the field. It was one of the ugliest moments I can recall in 35 seasons of Twelving. I was on Seahawks twitter and the reaction was fairly unanimous there: Game lost. Season lost. Pete and John are morons for not trading Earl.
The team found a way to grind out an ugly win, and the Hawks stood at 2-2. But with Earl out for the year and the formidable Rams coming to town, another beatdown from Los Angeles seemed pre-ordained. One of the most shocking results of the season's first half was Seattle outplaying the Rams. Sure, they lost by two. But this WAS a moral victory. In fact, it was more than that. It was proof of concept that the 2018 Seahawks were not a lost cause. This was Adonis Creed losing at the end of the first movie - A disappointing result, but a sign that future victories awaited.
Maybe the first five games of the season were 2002 or 2011, just abbreviated? Because since that first Rams game, the Seahawks have been one of the most punishing and dangerous teams in football.
Long-time readers know that I'm not psyched about rooting for Frank Clark, given his history of domestic abuse. I'm a total hypocrite, yes I know. I won't buy his jersey, but obviously he's an incredibly important contributor to the team's success. I have to give him credit for voicing something that has nagged at me for a good long while: That many of the core defensive players never really let go of or got over the ending of Super Bowl XLIX. As Clark said:
"For so long, I feel like we've had this spirit over us -- that Super Bowl lingering from 2015. You know what I mean? I feel like for the longest (time) we had that cloud over us, like people wouldn't get over it. But I feel like there were some changes here."
It's one thing for fans to not get over XLIX - I haven't! - But for the leaders of the team in the locker room to not get over that game? That's corrosive. And I think that quote helps us all understand why the team moved on from a LOT of very talented and popular players this offseason. I think it's clear that on top of his contract angst, ETIII was carrying around some resentment about that game, too.
Since Earl's injury, the Hawks are 7-4, and three of those losses were by a total 15 points to the Rams and Chargers. The defense isn't as dominant as it was the peak of the L.O.B. era, but it's had a knack for creating turnovers and getting stops in high-leverage spots. The offensive line is MASSIVELY improved, which has allowed Chris Carson to blast the ever-loving shit out of opposing defenses. With time to throw and a legitimate running game keeping enemy defenses honest, Russell Carrington Wilson has had the best season of his badly underrated career. No quarterback in the game is more efficient, and no one else throws a deadlier deep ball than the WolfBadger. The only reason RW3 isn't a more prominent MVP candidate is the fetishization of total passing yards over efficiency and TD-to-INT ratios. Tyler Lockett is earning every penny of his new contract, and a healthy Doug Baldwin is showing that he's one of the most lethal offensive talents in the NFL.
I was lucky enough to be at the game Sunday night. I've been going to Seahawks games for 35 years, and that was one of the best game-day experiences I've ever had. There was a playoff-like atmosphere and the 12s were at something close to peak volume. I was there up in section 325 with one of my very best friends, the Seahawks played their best game of the season, and they cliched a playoff spot with an upset win over mighty Kansas City. When I think about regular-season wins in Seattle that I've attended, this was up there with being at the Largent-hitting-Harden in 1988, the MNF win over the Raiders the same year, the playoff-clinching win over New England in '83, the crazy shootout win over the Raiders in 1997, the final regular season game at the Kingdome in '99, and the Thursday night opener vs Green Bay in 2014.
So now we find ourselves on a collision course with Dallas in the Wild Card round. I don't know about y'all, but I'm HANGRY for that game. What could be more fun than beating Jerry Jones' boys in their own house and mentally destroying Cowboys fans across the globe? The wins that come after that, of course. I don't think the party is stopping in JerryWorld, and it might not stop until a parade in Seattle next February.
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At Seahawks games with my friend Kris in 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2018. :)
October 29, 2018
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.
Would You Like To Know More?
August 25, 2018
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
RANKING THE BEST OPTIONS
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!