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.