Monday, January 19, 2015


I've never witnessed anything like this.

I've never watched a game where my team was up against the ropes, from start to finish, only to pull out the improbable. Not to this extent, anyways.

It felt as if the highs were short lived while the lows lingered throughout.  It certainly felt, a number of times, like we had squandered our last opportunity-- though, it never quite felt like we were out.

It was wonderful.  It was horrible.  It was everything you could want from a football game.

I'm sure I would've, could've and should've slept for the next 24 hours strait after the NFC Championship game.  I was exhausted-- I can only imagine how the players and coaches feel today. I damn sure didn't watch the AFC Championship game.  My heart couldn't take any more abuse.

On this Monday, however, we know that our Seahawks will be facing off with the Patriots for the chance to repeat as Super Bowl champions in Arizona. No team has accomplished this since the Patriots of a decade ago.

My last post here talked about the underlying message of this team being of love and unity. It's fitting that we begin our road to the Championship on a day that celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.-- a man who lived his life spreading a similar message.

If you had any doubt as to the sincerity of that message, surely it was erased after watching Sunday's game.  Down 16-0 at the half with nothing seeming to go your way, the Seahawks had nothing else to play for but each other.

Seeing Russell never give up despite 4 interceptions-- that's love.

Seeing Marshawn put the team on his back-- that's love.

Seeing Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas play despite being visibly in pain-- that's love.

Seeing Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse step up on the final drive after contributing to several key turnovers-- that's love.

You could see this team was never going to roll over and accept defeat.  They wouldn't do that to their brothers, their coaches or their fans.  We saw the love spill out of the players once the official's arms were raised to signify the winning touchdown-- from Russell Wilson's tears of joy to Michael Bennett's impromptu bike tour. 

When you have this level of talent, commitment and passion-- how can anyone stop you?

Part of the reason I never lost hope Sunday was rooted in the experience I had attending my first live game with Wilson at the controls.  My best friend and I attended the Seahawks/Patriots game for my birthday in 2012.  Not unlike this past Sunday's game, Seahawks were playing from behind all day against a great team with a great quarterback.

We maintained cautious optimism-- but we knew we were on the edge of losing the entire time.

But when the game was on the line, when the team needed him most, Russell Wilson stepped up and made the play to put us over the top. Let's not forget-- this was his first season as a professional.

Flash forward to today, he's a Super Bowl winning veteran.  As are many of the other All-Pros and Pro Bowlers on this roster. This team is every bit as great as last year, with some extra seasoning. For some reason, it seems to mean more to these guys this time around.

Golden Tate put out what was basically a press release letting his fans know that they don't know him. In it, he implies that finances were a major factor in his decision to sign with Detroit instead of Seattle.  However, he couches it in the whole 'It was the best decision for my brand and family' guise. No matter how you slice it, he left for selfish reasons. 

Maybe he'd get more balls thrown his way playing alongside Calvin Johnson. It might not translate to more wins or another Super Bowl ring, but it could bring him a few extra dollars.  The money was a little better in the contract, too.  Either way, he took the money and ran.  Now that he's watching the Super Bowl from home, and he's getting shit from a lot of 12s, he's understandably upset.

Troy Aikman pointed out several times during the broadcast that the Seahawks lack a threatening presence at receiver.  Maybe so, but I'd take the heart of Jermaine Kearse, Doug Baldwin, Ricardo Lockette and Chris Mathews over a selfish Golden Tate or Percy Harvin any day.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Bold as Love

Football is without question a violent game. Its a sport predicated on speed, strength and impact played by men of elite athletic prowess. 

For those reasons alone, its surprising and ultimately refreshing to see that the Seahawks are using a completely different motivator than has ever been used in any professional sport that I'm aware of. The Seahawks are branding themselves with an emotion seldom to never affiliated with the daily rigors of an NFL team.


Going back in the season to when this team was 3-3, if you've listened to any of the team leaders speaking in the press, you might have noticed this theme making its way to the surface.

 "I think friction caused this blossom of love to happen."
The Seahawks were .500 and in desperate need of a kick in the ass if they had any shot at defending their title. How can you motivate a group of young millionaires, who have already achieved more in their line of work than others can only dream of?  What is left to strive for when most of the team has already inked lucrative, long term contracts and most everyone already has a ring?

To put it simply:  LOVE

"We finished with style. We had fun.  We're connected-- and that shows you how powerful love is."  Earl Thomas said after the Seahawks beat the 49ers in Santa Clara. "I think friction caused this blossom of love to happen."

Some of you thicker-skinned, manly sports fans might be scratching your heads right now-- wondering how an emotion that is more closely associated with weakness, be giving this team strength. Let Earl finish:

"You can tell guys are buying in. Guys are playing for each other.  That's so powerful, bruh.  It's hard to beat a united team."

It makes sense.  When personal accolades, fame, money and all the spoils that come with being world champions are shoved to the backseat and you play only for the love of the game and the love of your teammates-- you're free.  You play with passion. You play with heart.  You feed off each other and your collective confidence skyrockets.

It reminds me of a quote I've seen floating around the internet-- “Having a soft heart in a cruel world is courage, not weakness.”  To even use the word 'love' in reference to football takes a certain amount of bravery. The evidence of the effectiveness of this mantra has been evident ever since we first heard about the meeting the Seahawks players had to address the issue in November.

 The bottom line is, it's working.  Not only that, but it's a terrific message to project, particularly in light of recent world events.  Love and unity makes us stronger.

When you think about the remaining 4 teams in the NFL playoffs, the Seahawks stand out as being the one team remaining that isn't built upon the talents of a specific individual. The Patriots, despite their outstanding coach and a handful of other talented skill players, are basically reliant on the health of Tom Brady.  The Packers would be absolutely nothing without Aaron Rodgers.  We saw what happened to the Colts in the season between two first-overall draft picks.

The Seahawks are bigger than that.  They are truly the sum of their parts-- from the players, to the staff and the fans. If you have any fears or doubts about the Seahawks chances of repeating, this picture sums up my feelings perfectly.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Don't look ahead of these Panthers, Look back.

This Saturday, the Seahawks and Panthers will face off for the 9th time in the teams' history.  With the Seahawks confidently own the rivalry with a 6-2 record that shows no signs of diminishing any time soon.

In fact, the most recent Panther's win in this series came in 2007 when a then-rookie Matt Moore barely edged out a Seahawks team that would go on to implode the following season-- a move that would eventually give birth to the Pete Carroll era.

And, get this.

The only other Panthers victory besides that one took place 15 years ago. Seahawks quarterback, and now beloved local fixture, Brock Huard went  19 of 34 for 172 yards passing with no touchdowns and no interceptions. 

In the Carolina Panthers 20 plus years in existence, they have never won a game in Seattle.
You can argue that history means nothing.  After all, these are completely different rosters and coaching staffs. That was then, this is now. Any given Sunday... yadda yadda yadda

I can't argue those facts, but I do believe in something called intangibles.

You can't tell me that a young baseball player doesn't get the butterflies when he makes his first plate appearance at Yankee Stadium.  No matter what the current Yankees record might be, the ghosts of legends past must haunt the air of that place-- even if it's not the same stadium Ruth built.

I'd have a hard time believing that a young player wouldn't be the least bit shaken up by playing his first road game against the Chicago Bulls.  He knows about the dominance Michael Jordan displayed on that very court.  He knows about those championships.

We're seeing that mystique being built right here in our hometown.  Not a pregame segment has aired in the past 5 years that doesn't make at least some reference to the overwhelming crowd noise of the 12th Man.  How many position groups in this league have a nationally recognized nickname? Every player in the league is familiar with Beastmode at this point and if you haven't heard about the record-setting defense we've had the past two seasons-- then you haven't done your homework.

The Panthers are a good team with a healthy portion of talent to boot.  This won't be the last time we face them in the post season, for sure. They are, however, a young team.  The game moves fast and there's a lot going through their minds on every play.

One thing is certain-- our guys are focused. The games in this series have mostly been closely contested. It could be one play that decides the game. One play where the crowd noise is just too much to bear.  One play where they happened to glance up at the World Champions banner.

Or maybe they just see Kam Chancellor and decide its not worth making the catch.