Tag: nfl

My Thoughts on The NFC Championship

SeahawksLogoI wanted to write this post well before tonight’s NFC Championship; lest anyone think that I might be one of those phony bandwagon fans who only jump on board when a team is doing well and then disappears when the wheels fall off the bus. That’s hardly the case with me. I’ve been an east coast Seattle Seahawks fan for thirty years.

That’s right, I said thirty years.

It all began back in the early 80s. I was one of those disappointed Philadelphia Eagles fans lost in the wilderness and looking for a new home after a bitter, painful defeat at the hands of some dude named Plunkett and the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XV. Ok, I’ll admit I was one of those creeps who ditched the ship when it sank, just like the ones I opened this post talking about. But in my defense, I was only twelve years old at the time and didn’t know any better.

Yeah, let’s go with that.

CenturyLink-MeIt was a cold Monday night a few years after that Super Bowl when I first saw the Seattle Seahawks on television. At the time, I had absolutely no idea who they were. They had some left-handed quarterback (Jim Zorn), a wiry, fast as lightning receiver (Steve Largent) and this rookie running back from Penn State named Curt Warner. A “hometown” connection.

I couldn’t even tell you the team that they played that night. All I remember is that the Seahawks lost the coin toss and started the game out with an on-side kick. An on-side kick!!! Something almost unheard of in the NFL.

The Seahawks wound up getting the ball and scoring on that drive….and the seed was planted.

As you can imagine, the 1980’s were a time before the Internet and satellite football games became common place. So getting to see my new team was nearly impossible. About the only time I ever saw them on TV was when they played against the Eagles or New York Giants, and considering that the Seahawks were in the other conference at the time, those games were even rarer.

The Seahawks actually almost made it to their first Super Bowl the first year of my fandom, but lost to (ironically enough) the Oakland Raiders in the conference final. But this time, instead of ditching I stayed a fan. Reading updates in the newspaper about loss after loss. Some years good. Some years, very bad.

In 1992, we were so bad that we were awarded the #2 overall pick in the NFL. A time when we were in dire need of a quarterback. We wound up with a bust named Rick Mirer, while the New England Patriots got this guy named Drew Bledsoe (the “parent” QB to Tom Brady).

More years of mediocrity would follow, but I stood tall.

CenturyLink2

I was there when Seahawks owner Ken Behring tried to move the team out-of-town to California in the dead of night. That attempt failed and Behring would eventually sell the team to Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. With Allen on board, the team hired Green Bay Packers coach Mike Holmgren and a slew of other talent, planting the seed for a run to greatness that came to fruition in 2005.

SeahawksHatDuring my time as a 12th man there has only been one low point, and that was Super Bowl XL against the Pittsburgh Steelers. As any fan of the NFL will tell you (and even Steeler fans too, if they’re honest), the referees decided that game. For me, it was stinging. Imagine waiting 23 years for a shot at a Super Bowl and then being cheated by a bunch of turds in pinstripes.

The thing is, in the NFL there are no guarantees and the days of dynasty left once the salary cap was initiated. You only have so much time to make a run before players and coaches leave for other pastures. Unfortunately, that’s what happened to my team following that “defeat”.

It’s taken eight years for the Seahawks to get back to the NFC Championship game. Eight long, often-times miserable years. But I never lost hope. I watched as Marshawn Lynch caused an earthquake with one of the greatest runs in NFL history and knew that the stars were aligning again….

I even took a weekend 2,856-mile trip to Seattle by myself two-years ago just to see them play the Atlanta Falcons. The first time I was ever a part of the 12th man.

They lost.

I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am for this game. I’ve even been having dreams at night this past week where the game is on and I am sitting around checking the score. Every time I looked, the score was changing. Thankfully, we were winning.

I don’t know what’s going to happen when it’s all over. Hopefully, dreams do come true. But all I can ask is that the refs let it be settled on the field. And may the better team then kick the sh$t out of the Patriots or Broncos.

Go Hawks!

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A Letter To Green Bay Packer Fans

Dear Green Bay Packer Fans,

I’m sorry. Sorry you had to feel the sting of a bitter Monday Night Football defeat. Last night’s game against my Seattle Seahawks was shaping up to be one for the books. Now, it will only go down in infamy.

Not only were both of our teams the victims of multiple phantom penalties, but you had to endure watching your beloved Packers be on the losing end of a controversial interception/touchdown on the last play of the game. Then, to add insult to injury, after the touchdown was upheld and your team left the stadium, you had to watch them make their way back out of the locker room and on to the field for a moot extra point.

Far be it for me to rub salt in your wound. The truth is, I’ve been in your shoes before and know what its like to get stiffed by the referees. One only has to go back to the 2006 Super Bowl to see when it was rather obvious the REAL refs favored the Pittsburgh Steelers. Why just last year, one of the referees who officiated that game admitted that he had made serious errors.

Sour grapes? I think not. Losses like these are hard to take and not soon forgotten. Take comfort in the fact that you got gipped in a regular season game and not on the biggest stage of all.

As a footnote to my letter, and in a bizarre case of irony, the NFL’s officiating supervisor, Phil Luckett, had this to say about the need for an extra point attempt: .

“The PAT is an extension of the game, so we have to finish the game. When a touchdown is made on the last play, you have to do the extra point, in regulation.”

For those with short memories (not for Seahawks fans like me) Phil Luckett is the same man who officiated over a botched coin toss in a Pittsburgh Steelers / Detroit Lions game, and awarded a phantom touchdown to Vinny Testaverde and the New York Jets against Seattle back in 1998. A “touchdown” that ultimately became the deciding factor in implementing instant replay the following season.

Best of luck with the rest of the year Packer fans. Hopefully, the next time we meet again on the grid iron, the real refs will be back.
Sincerely, a Seahawks Fan.

Article first published as “An Letter to Green Bay Packer Fans” on Technorati

NFL Reporters – Stop Playing Favorites

I am a die-hard Seattle Seahawks fan. So much so that this year I flew out to Seattle on a Friday, watched them play (and subsequently lose to the Atlanta Falcons) and fly back.

Sadly, they are now 2-6 halfway through the season with pretty much zero chance of reaching the playoffs. I’ll be the first to admit to you that they stink. I mean, it doesn’t take a genius to know that a team playing with that kind of win/loss record is not Super Bowl caliber. Unfortunately though, I’ve been noticing a trend a late with some sports reporters who don’t seem to feel the same way when it comes to other teams around the league. It was tolerable years ago but has since gotten much worse.

Want to know if bias exists in the news media? Look no further than the so-called “reporters” of major news organizations on the NFL where only one simple rule seems to exist:

The Dallas Cowboys are good no matter how bad they are playing or what their record indicates.

Here is a team that gets so much media attention because they are called “America’s Team”, a quote coined in 1978 by an NFL Films editor. The fact is, the Cowboys could lose every game one year and be the laughing stock of the entire league but still find itself having three prime time games the following year along with a Thanksgiving Day game at home. What’s wrong with this picture?

I watched my Seahawks play the Cowboys this past weekend. The game was tied at halftime 6-6. Both teams equally bad but all the announcers seemed to keep focusing on was the Cowboys. What they needed to do, how they should make adjustments, the great play of their running back. Quite hardly a peep about the “other” team.  Sure enough, when the Cowboys managed to win the game the announcers seemed to have already punched the golden ticket to the Super Bowl for them.

But what’s even more appalling than the Cowboys of late is the media circus surrounding the Philadelphia Eagles. Here is a team who brought in a bunch of talent in recent years to a bruhaha of attention. Visions of championships filled every news article about them. A rehabilitated quarterback (himself a convicted felon) was going to lead them to the promised land. That was until they started losing.

The team with the Super Bowl or bust mentality had lost four games in a row and reporters, rightfully so, lambasted them on their horrific playing. Some even calling for the coach to be fired. Then the Eagles man handled the Dallas Cowboys last week, brought their record to 3-5  and now suddenly the past four losses were instantly forgiven by this same press in favor of one game where they put it all together.

I took a quick peek at who CNN considers it’s “Fine Fifteen”.  The top 15 teams it considers to be the best out of 32. They ranked the Eagles (with a LOSING record) at #11. Ahead of teams having much better years (and better records) than they do.

Last night, the team with the losing record played in prime time against the Chicago Bears (with a winning record) and looked as bad as ever. Of course, the Bears were ranked worse than the Eagles on the “Fine Fifteen” list. Go figure.

You could call it sour grapes on my part because my team isn’t even on the radar and that’s ok if you feel that way.

The truth is I’m just tired of seeing the SAME teams getting all the attention no matter what.