I’m madly in love with the Seattle Seahawks right now, and you might accuse me of being a fair weather fan, but I’d argue that’s not true.
I grew up watching football every weekend with my dad when I was a kid. It was the heyday of the Green Bay Packers, and I can still remember Vince Lombardi in his camel hair coat and fedora. I remember games where players slid across the frozen tundra, their breath rising in the air like fog, and games where players struggled to run in the muck and the mud. Those were the best. I didn’t know much about the rules, but it seemed exciting and there were always snacks. I’ve continued to watch football, at times passively, at times obsessively, depending more on where I was living and/or who my friends were than who was winning. Then I married someone who watches football addictively. I learned more about the rules and strategies and the players’ and coaches’ backgrounds. And the more I learned, the more interesting football became, particularly because it delivers the following:
Distraction Football is a sport, yes, but it’s also entertainment. While some of you are binge-watching every episode of your favorite series, or catching up on Oscar-nominated movies, I’m being distracted by Deflategate – an accusation by the National Football League that the New England Patriots played with under-inflated footballs so they’d be easier to catch in their AFC title win over the Indianapolis Colts January 18th. Stories on this are entertaining as hell. Deflated ball innuendos are hilarious!
Adrenaline rushes The January 18th NFC title game in which the Seahawks beat the Packers after being down 16 to nothing at halftime was epic. The Seahawks tied the game in the last four minutes with a combination of talent and trickery after looking like the worst football team in history for the previous 56, went into overtime, won the coin toss, and immediately scored a touchdown for the win. UW seismologists registered a near earthquake underneath the stadium from people jumping up and down. If the viaduct was in danger of falling, it should have happened then.
Hometown pride I lived in 10 different states growing up, so I never felt like I had a hometown. I’ve lived in the Seattle area for nearly 20 years, the longest I’ve lived anywhere. When the Seahawks pull out an impossible win in overtime and total strangers high five you and fireworks are going off in your neighborhood, and everyone starts up the SEA . . . HAWKS! chant, it’s awe-inspiring. It gives you a sense of comradery, of belonging, of being part of something heady and triumphant.
Pete Carroll When silver fox Pete Carroll came to Seattle to coach the Seahawks, things felt different. I’d watched the Seahawks through the Mike Holmgren years, and the year that Jim Mora coached them. But when Carroll arrived, all energetic and enthusiastic with his mop of white hair, jumping up and down like a little kid on the sidelines, hugging guys as they came off the field after successful plays, it seemed like a brave new world. He was one of the guys. He believed. There were a lot of detractors. Most of his success was as a college coach, and he’d been fired by the Buffalo Bills and the Patriots. But after a couple of years of trading away mediocre athletes for promising ones with chips on their shoulders and something to prove, he chose rookie Russell Wilson as quarterback, and it was game on.
Russell Wilson Mild-mannered, intelligent, thoughtful, and effective (not to mention a dishy GQ model), it’s hard not to love Wilson. Plus, every Tuesday he hangs out with sick kids at Children’s Hospital. I’ll forgive his continually thanking God. I mean, really, did the Seahawks win that last game because Aaron Rodgers doesn’t pray? Because Wilson did? But still, Wilson’s the bomb.
The Legion of Boom The safeties and cornerbacks of the Seahawks (Richard Sherman, Byron Maxwell, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas) are lights out on defense. If you are on the opposing team and you throw the ball down there, it’s probably going to get intercepted. If you catch or run the ball down there, meet Bam Bam Kam, who’s going to hit you like a brick shithouse. The LOB is formidable. And Sherman, who’s infamous as a big-mouth, is the perfect combination of intelligent and hilarious. After a 24-23 win over the Patriots in 2012, he walked up to quarterback Tom Brady and said, “You mad bro?” He’s smoking hot, too.
Marshawn Lynch Also known as Beast Mode, Lynch is a running back who must be made of magic dust. When Wilson hands the ball off to him, he’ll run directly toward a crowd of 300-pound men ready to take him down. And then, somehow, he’ll just appear on the other side of them still running toward the end zone. Apparently he can do this because he eats Skittles. Also, he refuses to do interviews, and after being fined for not doing them, he showed up to a media event and answered reporters’ questions with either “Yeah,” “Nope,” or “Thanks for asking.”
I’m hoping the Seahawks can pull off a win over the Patriots at the Super Bowl. That will make them only the eighth team in the history of the NFL to have won two Super Bowls in a row. If they win three in a row, they will stand alone. The word dynasty is already being tossed about. But really, all I’m hoping for is an exciting game. And a crowd of friends and strangers who make delicious snacks and hug or high five me every time something goes the Seahawks’ way. And a Sherman interception. And a Beast Mode magic run or two. And for Sherman to ask Brady, “You still mad bro?” And for Carroll to feel vindicated. Will I still be in love with the Seahawks if they lose? No doubt, because it’s mad love. GO HAWKS!